April 9, 2019 / 7:00 AM / a month ago

Britain must move to avoid no deal Brexit: Germany's Roth

FILE PHOTO - Germany's Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth listens to a journalist ask a question about Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, during his press conference with British Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Alan Duncan and Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz at the Western Balkans Summit in London, Britain, July 9, 2018. Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - EU leaders will discuss extending Britain’s Friday deadline for Brexit when they meet on Wednesday but must make clear its Brexit plan to avoid a disorderly departure from the bloc, Germany’s EU affairs minister said on Tuesday.

“I must unfortunately note that the conditions set by the European Council at its last sitting have not been met. That means that the deadline will expire on April 12,” Michael Roth told reporters as he arrived for a meeting in Luxembourg of fellow ministers to prepare Wednesday’s Brussels summit.

“We are waiting finally for substantive steps in the right direction. Up to now nothing at all has changed. We are of course thinking about an appropriate extension of the deadline and also about a longer extension. They must, however, come with very strict conditions,” Roth said, citing British participation in May’s EU parliament election as one such condition.

“We are in a very, very frustrating situation and the European Union must ultimately get on with matters about its own future. We must also possibly give the British time to finally clarify what it is that they actually want.

“Apparently the discussions with the British opposition, which were begun very late, have not led to any substantial progress.”

Roth said Germany did not want a disorderly Brexit but the risk remained if Britain failed to come up with a clear plan.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels

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