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EU rejects further delay to Brexit, US advises clean break

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech during a debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 3, 2019. (AFP photo)

The European Union has told Britain that another short delay to the deadline imposed on the country for leaving the bloc would not be possible as US authorities keep recommending a clean break on April 12 that would help spur trade talks between London and Washington.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday that the EU will not extend Brexit negotiations for a second time unless lawmakers in the country’s parliament ratify a divorce agreement that has already been voted down for three times.

“The 12th of April is the ultimate deadline for approval of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons,” said Juncker, adding, “The best way forward is the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. If it has not done so by then, no further short extension will be possible.”

Juncker’s remarks came hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would seek a second Brexit delay beyond the current departure date of April 12 in a bid to avoid a disorderly withdrawal from the EU.

Juncker admitted that the threat of a no-deal Brexit, a situation under which businesses and industries in Britain and in the EU could hugely suffer, was looming large.

“A ‘no-deal’ at midnight on the 12th of April is now a very likely scenario. It is not the outcome I want. But it is an outcome for which I have made sure the EU is ready,” said the EU official.

May said in her statement on Tuesday that she would sit down with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a way of going through the Commons with her controversial Brexit deal. That has angered fierce pro-Brexit politicians who believe a no-deal exit would be much better for Britain than agreeing to the terms of Labour for opening up to closer trade relations with the EU after Brexit.

A senior advisor to the White House also threw his weight behind a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday, saying that a clean break from the EU would speed up talks between London and Washington for reaching a comprehensive trade agreement after Brexit.

Larry Kudlow, who serves as an economic adviser to the US presidency, said the US and the UK will not need to wait for two years to start their trade talks if London crashed out of the EU without an agreement.

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