-France, eurozone’s second powerhouse, would positively answer British Prime Minister Theresa May’s request to further postpone Britain departure from the European Union if she proposes a credible and clear plan to resolve the Brexit deadlock, French officials said on Tuesday.
Prior May’s visit to Paris to drum up support for her demand to extend Brexit a second time, from April 12 to June 30, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: “There is a need for clarity on why the delay and how it will in the end facilitate an agreement.”
“Theresa May should give us the reasons why she wants the delay and these reasons must be credible,” Le Maire was quoted as saying by French media.
Ahead of EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg to prepare the Brexit summit on Wednesday, French European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin stressed that “France’s position has not changed. The British extension application is neither acquired nor automatic.”
“It is extremely important that this request be accompanied by a credible political plan,” de Montchalin said.
EU member countries must understand “what the UK needs this extension for” and what role it wants to play in the bloc during that period before they agree on a second delay, she said in a video posted on her Twitter account.
After May’s failure to break the Brexit deadlock and make the deal ratified by the parliament, France has sought to ramp up pressure on May ahead of an emergency summit meeting of European leaders in Brussels on Wednesday.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Britain would have chosen a no-deal exit on its own, if its prime minister would not propose a credible alternative plan backed by the majority by April 10.
“If the United Kingdom is not capable, almost three years after the referendum, of coming forward with a solution that is supported by a majority, it will have effectively chosen a no-deal exit on its own,” he said.
Macron is due to receive May at the Elysee Palace to discuss Brexit on Tuesday.
Under pressure to find majority support for her deal to leave the European bloc, May had to set out future plans to the EU this week, under the terms given by the bloc for the first Brexit extension which is set to end on April 12.
Without an extension, Britain is due to quit the European bloc on Friday with a disorderly way.