The European Union will agree to again extend Brexit should the United Kingdom request it, a source inside one of the delegations to the European Council told TASS on Monday.
"If London asks for a new extension, the EU is likely to agree because it is understood here that another extension is better than a no-deal Brexit. If the choice is between these two variants, Brussels will definitely choose the first option and not a Hard Brexit," the source divulged.
Moreover, the diplomatic source claimed that London now has an "official reason" to request this extension. "It is the latest proposals put forward by London. Yes, Brussels does not agree with them as they are presented, but some leaders are saying that they can lay groundwork for further discussions and improvements. Time is needed for that — more than we have until October 31," the source believes.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson submitted his plan to agree Brexit conditions for the EU consideration, but the very next day Brussels announced that the plan cannot be approved as it is since it does not resolve contentious issues and proposed that London improve it. Nevertheless, Johnson insists that the EU should compromise and accept his proposals, otherwise the UK is set to leave the EU without a deal.
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent the latest proposals on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. The text of the document and the enclosed letter were disseminated by the prime minister’s office.
Johnson’s proposals present an alternative to a backstop — an insurance policy in the withdrawal agreement negotiated by the EU and Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May that remains a sticking point in the Brexit negotiations. The backstop stipulates that Northern Ireland stays in the EU single market and customs union after the post-Brexit transition period for an unspecified period until London and Brussels manage to agree a secure way to ensure transparency of the border on the Island of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU. The UK prime minister proposal sets out that Northern Ireland exits the customs union after the transition period, while a special customs regime for all types of goods is introduced in the island.
The British plan concedes that a temporary border may be established in the Irish Sea and allows for customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for four years since a transition period is over. Northern Ireland will remain in the singles market, but in 2025 its parliament will decide whether the EU regulations continue to be effective on its territory or whether it needs to comply with UK rules, which can vary greatly from the EU ones by that time.
The UK was supposed to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, two years after a written withdrawal notice was submitted to the EU. However, the UK House of Commons has thrice rejected the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May’s government and Brussels.
As a result, the EU first agreed to postpone Brexit until April-May and then granted another extension until October 31. Failing to achieve the crucial task of her premiership and steer the country of this deadlock, May was forced to resign. Her successor Boris Johnson now insists that the UK will not request a new extension and will leave the EU on October 31 "no ifs or buts."