Merkel sees Brexit extension to early 2020 as possibility

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech during a reception for prize winners of “Youth Researchers 2018” at the Chancellery in Berlin, September 6, 2018. (Reuters pic)

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel views an extension of a Brexit deadline for “several months to early 2020 as possible,” a source from her party quoted her as telling lawmakers on Tuesday.

Briefing MPs from her CDU-CSU conservative bloc after she hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May for talks in Berlin, Merkel said the option would be discussed at an EU summit on Brexit on Wednesday, according to the source.

EU Council president Donald Tusk’s office has floated the idea of a “flexible” extension of up to a year, with an option for London to leave earlier if it finds a way through, but there is no agreement on this.

Ahead of talks between May and French President Emmanuel Macron later Tuesday, Paris signalled that it was open to an extension but with limits.

“We’ve never been closed to the idea of finding an alternative solution to ‘no deal’ within certain limits and not at any price,” said an aide to Macron, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Asked about the length, the aide said a year “seems too long”.