April 10, 2019 / 1:36 PM / 12 days ago

Germany, France backed short Brexit lag on eve of EU summit - officials

BRUSSELS, April 10 (Reuters) - Germany, France, Luxembourg and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier favoured a short delay of the date of Britain’s departure in talks on the eve of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, officials said.

Those backing a shoter respite for Britain said it would keep up the pressure on the factious House of Commons to ratify the stalled EU exit deal.

The Netherlands and the Czech Republic preferred a longer postponment, saying it could scare staunch Brexit supporters in Britain into backing the exit deal over fear their project might never materialise at all.

Barnier also said, should the UK opt for a customs union with the EU after Brexit, it would solve the problem of customs checks on the sensitive Irish border, but industry regulation checks would still be required, the officials said.

They were describing a preparatory ministerial meeting in Luxembourg a day before EU leaders meet in Brussels on Wednesday to decide on a second Brexit delay, with France pushing the hardest line among the bloc’s members. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio Writing by Gabriela Baczynska Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

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