Dutch PM Mark Rutte (file photo)
Dutch PM Mark Rutte (file photo)

Important that Brexit extension serves clear purpose: Dutch PM

ANI | Updated: Mar 21, 2019 01:25 IST

Amsterdam [Netherlands], Mar 21 (ANI): With a little more than a week to go for Brexit, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Wednesday (local time) stated that it is "important" that the extension to Article 50, which is being sought by the United Kingdom, serves a "clear purpose".
Expanding on this, he stressed on the fact that the "purpose" needs to have "political support" in the UK, apparently referring to the multiple times that the withdrawal deal has been rejected by the British Parliament in the run-up to the March 29 exit from the European Union (EU).
"Spoke with Angela Merkel and @eucopresident Tusk. Calling with @theresa_may shortly, and I’m talking to @EmmanuelMacron tomorrow; all about #Brexit," Rutte tweeted.
"The #EU27 will discuss the UK’s proposal to extend article 50, as May has set out in her letter to Donald Tusk. It is important that the extension serves a clear purpose, and that this purpose has political support in the UK," he added.
He has also held talks regarding Brexit with his Swedish counterpart, Stefan Lofven, at The Hague on March 20 (local time) before the upcoming European Council meeting on March 21 and 22.
The Dutch Prime Minister's statements come shortly after UK Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her intent to seek a three-month extension to Article 50, or Britain's exit from the EU, until June 30.
The British Parliament had, on March 14, voted in favour of delaying the Brexit process beyond March 29 after rejecting May's negotiated withdrawal deal with the EU for the second time.
Outlining her intent, May wrote a letter to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, who believes that a "short extension" is possible albeit conditional.
"If the leaders (at the European Council) approve my recommendations, and if there is a positive vote in the House of Commons next week, we can finalise and formalise the decision on the extension (of Article 50) in a written procedure," Tusk said in an official statement.
Tusk also highlighted that if the need arises, a European Council meeting can be held in Brussels next week as well.
"Even if the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking - until the very last moment - a positive solution, of course without opening up the Withdrawal Agreement," Tusk said.
"We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events, and I am confident that, also now, we will not lack the same patience and goodwill, at this most critical point in this process," he reinforced. (ANI)