Most of the remaining 27 EU members are willing to consider the possibility to extend the UK’s withdrawal deadline, but have made clear that the onus is on the UK to define the next step in the negotiations between London and Brussels.
Diplomatic sources in Brussels have indicated that the EU is willing to make further concessions regarding the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, but will only do so with the approval of the Irish government.
Ireland stands ready to approve, if necessary, an extension of the deadline for Article 50, the provision in the Treaty of Lisbon that gives all EU members the right to quit unilaterally and outlines the procedure to carry out the process.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said his government would not give its consent to making major amendments to the UK Withdrawal Agreement.
Britain is one of the Netherlands’ most important trading partners and the Dutch port of Rotterdam is a major logistics hub for shipping to and from the UK.
The Netherlands is bracing for the worst case scenario and has addressed issues ranging from the decoupling of shared gas and electricity networks to the recognition of diplomas and academic qualifications.
France is also preparing for a no-deal Brexit. A statement from Macron following the defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement in the British parliament noted that a no-deal Brexit would be bad for Europe and for France.
Sweden’s EU Minister Ann Linde weighed in on the subject and said she does not think there is scope for further negotiations, although she hinted that her government is willing to have some flexibility on the time-line for when Britain leaves the bloc.
President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, who hinted that the UK should stay in the EU, given that a deal is impossible and no-one wants no deal: to be the final outcome.
New Europe / ABC Flash Point Political News 2019.
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