Merkel open to give Britain more time to exit EU

Merkel open to give Britain more time to exit EU

Agency News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that she was open to giving Britain more time to arrange its exit from the EU than the June 30 departure London is seeking.

Merkel told Germany’s parliament ahead of a special EU summit in Brussels dedicated to Brexit that leaders may well agree to a delay “longer than the British prime minister (Theresa May) has requested”.

Britain should be given a reasonable amount of time to work out its exit from the European Union, though the delay to Brexit could be longer than British Prime Minister Theresa May has requested, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

She said she would meet French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the summit with the aim of hashing out a common stance on the length of a further extension. Without a postponement, Britain is due to crash out of the European Union at midnight on Friday under a “no-deal” Brexit that could trigger economic chaos.

May has embarked on a last-ditch battle to postpone Brexit from April 12 to June 30 so as to arrange an orderly departure -- but European leaders are expected to offer her a longer delay of up to a year.

Merkel, who met May on Tuesday in Berlin, stressed that it was in the “strong interest” of Germany as the EU’s biggest economy to avert a disorderly Brexit.

A source from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union later quoted the chancellor as telling a party meeting that she viewed an extension of the Brexit deadline for “several months to early 2020 as possible”. But a French source said a 12-month extension “seems too long”.