April 3, 2019 / 9:43 AM / 7 months ago

Austria sees 'absolutely no reason' for Brexit extension

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

VIENNA (Reuters) - There is currently “absolutely no reason” for another extension to Brexit because the situation in Britain’s parliament has not fundamentally changed, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she would seek another delay to agree an EU divorce deal with the opposition Labour leader, in a gambit to break an impasse over Brexit that enraged many in her party. May said she wanted another short extension beyond April 12.

“There is, from the current point of view, absolutely no reason for an extension since the chaos in Britain has not changed. There is no Plan B capable of being supported by a majority in the British lower house of parliament,” Kurz told a news conference after a weekly cabinet meeting.

“Let’s cross our fingers for Theresa May for her efforts, let’s hope that she can convince the members of the lower house of parliament and maybe find a way to avoid a hard Brexit after all,” he said.

Having negotiated a withdrawal agreement with Britain that members of parliament in London have now rejected three times, the options for Brussels are currently limited, Kurz said.

Kurz and other EU leaders have repeatedly said that any extension should be for a clearly defined reason and not just in order to buy time.

“We have arrived at a situation where there is not much the European Union itself can do... The ball is in the court of the British lower house of parliament.”

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Gareth Jones

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