Malta supports the EU granting the UK a Brexit extension, provided that the request is justified and would help lead to an orderly exit, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Friday.
“The ball is in the UK’s court after its Parliament voted against the present deal with the EU. It also voted against leaving the EU without a deal. So, the current situation means the UK needs to either accept the deal, or not exit the EU at all,” Muscat said.
The House of Commons this week voted against a second withdrawal agreement negotiated by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, however the parliament also voted against leaving without a deal. Parliament yesterday agreed to delay Brexit in order to buy time in negotiating a new agreement.
Muscat stressed however that the European Union will not be changing its position because it would not compromise on the principles it was built upon. "It is not a case of stubbornness by the EU, but a case of being realistic."
Muscat explained that there are a number of challenges for the UK if given an extension.
“Primarily, the EU treaties are clear: the UK will be expected to organise the European Parliament elections in May, even though these will not have any relevance in the long-term. It is also clear that the UK cannot have a veto on an EU budget that it will not be part of.”