(This April 3 story was refiled to clarify few weeks instead of two weeks in headline, lead and quote)
BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union cannot keep delaying Britain’s departure from the bloc by a few weeks, the deputy head of the European Commission said in remarks published on Thursday.
First Vice President Frans Timmermans told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper that the European Union had reached the limit of what it can offer Britain in terms of concessions to break the deadlock.
“We cannot forever continue this way in the Brexit negotiations and always extend by a few weeks,” he said. “The British parliament must now make a decision and finally say what London wants.”
He added: “The key is now with London. We have a commitment toward EU citizens, to protect the EU single market, to protect Ireland and protect the principles of the European Union.
“We will continue to do this with all determination. The EU also has its limits. And we have reached those limits.”
He said it was important that British Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reach a deal to overcome the deadlock created by parliament’s rejection of an exit deal May had reached with the EU.
At a summit last week, EU leaders gave Britain effectively until next week either to ratify May’s deal and then exit by May 22, present a credible alternative plan to secure a much longer extension, or leave without a deal on April 12.
Timmermans said that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, British citizens were unlikely to need a visa if they wished to visit the EU for a short period of time.
Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Kevin Liffey