The European Union would be prepared to support a short Brexit delay should Britain need more opportunity to guarantee parliamentary ratification of the withdrawal agreement, three EU officials said on Tuesday.
European leaders offered British Prime Minister Theresa May the opportunity of an extension of the negotiating period as they see no parliamentary majority backs the Brexit arrangement.
May on Tuesday offered the possibility of a short postponement, drawing a generally positive reaction from Brussels.
“If a request for a delay of the Brexit date is submitted, it would be considered favourably,” a senior EU official said according to Reuters. “An extension of a couple of months would be relatively straightforward.”
“If the Withdrawal Agreement fails to gain support in the House of Commons on March 12th, then the UK must ask for an extension to Article 50 with a credible plan for holding a people’s vote on the final deal that includes an option to remain,” Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts said.
EU and UK authorities were proceeding with talks in Brussels to give Britain more possibilities and make the deal acceptable to parliament.
But two diplomats in Brussels worried there was still no achievement on substance.
“She might have opened the door to postponing no-deal but not brought a deal any closer,” one said Reuters reports.
The EU’s official Commission has said talks must finish in time for a March 21-22 summit, when the national leaders could underwrite any corrections to the Brexit deal.