Written answers

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

European Council Meetings

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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101. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he spoke with his EU counterparts prior to the June European Council meeting regarding the need for an extension of the 31 October 2019 deadline for Brexit. [25598/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The European Council on 10 April agreed to extend that Article 50 process to 31 October, providing the UK with more time to ensure an orderly withdrawal. It also provided flexibility for the UK to leave before that date if Westminster ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement.

It would be for the UK alone to decide to request a further extension of the Article 50 process. We expect that should the UK make a request, the EU27 would carefully consider it, taking into account the reasons for a possible extension and the proposed duration. The EU will also need to consider how its own institutions and processes would be affected by any extension.

Throughout the Article 50 process, I, Minister of State McEntee, officials from my Department and of course our Embassies, have had frequent and ongoing contact with representatives from other EU27 Member States and the Commission. In recent weeks, I met with my Dutch, Maltese and Swedish counterparts, and will hold further meetings with other EU colleagues in the period ahead.

We remain firmly of the view that the only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal is to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement. Responsibility for avoiding a no deal Brexit lies firmly with the UK.

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