Tusk recommends that EU27 grant Brexit extension

Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk has said that he will formally recommend to the EU27 (27 other member states besides the UK) that an extension to the Brexit deadline be granted to the UK.

Writing on Twitter late yesterday, Tuesday, October 22, Tusk said: “Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to pause the process of ratification of the withdrawal agreement, and in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension. For this I will propose a written procedure.”

Tusk also said that he had spoken with Boris Johnson over the phone, and had explained the reasons to the prime minister why he was recommending the other member states accept the deal.

Tusk had said yesterday, Tuesday, October 22, that the EU request for an extension should be treated “in all seriousness”. In the same letter in which Johnson had asked for an extension, the prime minister also said that grating an extension would “damage the interests of the UK and the EU”.

Yesterday, Ireland Midlands-North West MEP Mairead McGuinness said that she “couldn’t see why the leaders of Europe, having been extremely patient, persistent and united, would not be willing to grant a technical extension”.

“We’ve waited this long. They’ve been very patient on it,” the MEP added.

However, McGuinness warned that there may be some pockets of opposition to an extension being offered.

There may be efforts to persuade some member states not to agree, because it has got to be by unanimity, and I’m reading some commentary around that.

It is understood that the prospect of granting the UK yet another extension has received a lukewarm reception from some European leaders. French president Emmanuel Macron in particular, as with previous extensions, is thought not to be entirely in favour of offering another delay.

However, McGuinness stressed: “I don’t think that will be the case. I think the leaders have stuck together through thick and thin on this issue, and will continue to maintain that unity.”