February 27, 2019 / 2:13 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Brexit: Romania says political will can resolve problems of Brexit extension

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By Tom Miles

GENEVA, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The European Union is ready to respond to any UK request for an extension to the Brexit timetable, and problems such as the European Parliament elections can be overcome if there is the political will, Romania’s Minister for European Affairs said.

George Ciamba told Reuters on Wednesday that Romania, as the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, was still making plans for a disorderly Brexit but was more optimistic after Prime Minister Theresa May paved the way for a delay beyond the planned Brexit date of March 29.

The length of any extension was less important than the need to protect the interests of people in Britain and in the rest of the European Union from what he called “this black swan” of Brexit, and any extension would need to be agreed by both sides.

“It has to be asked for first and then we see. So, for the time being, we are preparing for a disorderly exit but at the same time, we are a little bit more optimistic,” he said, after making a speech at the U.N. in Geneva.

The EU was bound by its treaties and there were potential limitations to an extension such as the European elections in May.

“But, you know, at the end, if there’s political will, I think we can overcome,” he said.

Overcoming such obstacles would not be a simple “rubber-stamp”, but the EU had repeatedly proven it could find solutions to difficult problems.

“If you look to the sovereign debt crisis, if you look at all the crises we went through, even the migration crisis, even if at the beginning we were behind the curve, I think we proved that we can… find ways if there is a political will.” (Reporting by Tom Miles Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alexandra Hudson)

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