March 29, 2019 / 11:31 AM / 7 months ago

Poland advocates for a long Brexit delay if deal not passed - PM

WARSAW (Reuters) - Warsaw is ready for another Brexit delay if London fails to ratify the stalled withdrawal agreement on Friday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said after talks with the bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

The British parliament is voting again on the twice-defeated Brexit deal on Friday but the bloc is already planing its next steps in case Prime Minister Theresa May fails again to push her exit plan through her factious House of Commons.

The two options seen as most likely by the EU are a damaging no-deal Brexit shortly after Apr.12, or London asking for another delay to its departure, which had originally been due today but was then postponed over Britain’s political chaos.

Poland is among the EU countries that want to go soft on Britain and Morawiecki made clear his preference for the second option. On the other side of the spectrum is France, which wants to end the Brexit uncertainty as soon as possible.

“We are open to extending the process,” Morawiecki told a news conference. “Six, or nine, or twelve months, these options are acceptable to us.”

Britain agreed with the EU last week to delay Brexit until May 22 if May can get her divorce package ratified by lawmakers this week. Otherwise, London must tell the bloc by Apr.12 what it plans to do next.

Speaking to reporters together with Morawiecki, Barnier called on the House of Commons to pass the exit deal and focus their attention on the more important task of agreeing a lasting new trade relationship.

Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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