To plead a new postponement of Brexit, the British prime minister meets the French president on Tuesday, after Angela Merkel in Berlin and before a summit in Brussels.
The week promises to be decisive for Theresa May and the Brexit issue . The British Prime Minister travels to Berlin and Paris on Tuesday 9 April 2019 on the eve of a European summit where she will plead for a postponement of the date of exit from the European Union.
The conservative leader will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, before an extraordinary European Council will consider her new request for the postponement of Brexit.
Initially scheduled for March 29th, the divorce has already been postponed to April 12th . But for lack of an agreement backed by Parliament, Theresa May has asked the EU leaders a second postponement of Brexit, until June 30th, with the possibility for the UK to come out sooner if a compromise is found.
“There are good reasons to talk to each other while the UK and the EU27 are in a difficult, hot situation,” said Steffen Seibert, Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman.
Germany is considered more accommodating to Theresa May than France. The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said Saturday that to justify his request the United Kingdom had to submit a “plan” that can have a “clear and credible political support.”
Talks with the opposition
After having failed three times to get British MPs to adopt the divorce agreement she had reached with Brussels in November, posing the threat of a brutal exit, Theresa May has been looking for a few days to find a solution with the Labour opposition likely to bring together a parliamentary majority.
While Labour said Friday it was “disappointed” with the talks, the Conservative leader called for “compromise on both sides” in a video released on Sunday.
“Our intention is to strengthen contacts with the opposition today and we hope that this will lead to formal face-to-face discussions,” his spokesman said Monday.
For this, both sides must overcome their antagonisms over the form they wish to see in Brexit: Labour wants to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU, which Theresa May refuses on the grounds that it would prevent his country to conduct an autonomous commercial policy vis-à-vis third countries.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Sunday that he hoped the talks between Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could “move forward”.
He is expected Monday afternoon in Dublin where he will meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose country will be particularly impacted by Brexit.
The furious eurosceptics
In London, the hand extended to Labour provoked the fury of Eurosceptics Party Theresa May.
Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson warned in the Telegraph on Monday that Conservative MPs would not allow Theresa May to “capitulate” to Jeremy Corbyn by accepting a customs union and maintaining close ties with the EU.
If the talks between the government and the opposition do not succeed, the Prime Minister has suggested to have the Parliament settled, by putting to the vote of the deputies several options on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The latter voted last week a bill to force Theresa May to request a postponement of Brexit whatever happens to avoid an exit without agreement. The House of Lords started looking at the text Thursday and will look back on Monday.