Brexit: Extension must be interests of Malta and EU – Muscat

DOI: Clodagh Farrugia O'Neill

When asked about what the Article 50 extension to the UK’s departure from the European Union should consist of, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that it should put best interests first and not simply ‘postpone the issue.’

Speaking at the European Council meeting of the EU27 leaders in Brussels, Malta’s Prime Minister explained that from Malta’s perspective, an extension of Article 50 in the UK’s departure from the EU had to ‘be based on Malta’s best interests, and on the interests of the European Union as a whole.’

At the same time, he stressed that an extension should also include important commitments to ensure that it does not simply ‘postpone the issue if no solution can be found.’

Earlier today, the Nationalist MP David Stellini stressed that ahead of today’s EU Summit, it was indeed in the interest of Malta to support an extension as long as the UK gave assurances of cooperation.

Today’s EU Summit predominantly puts the UK’s departure from the EU at centre-stage, with Prime Minister Theresa May pitching to EU leaders over extending Article 50 until June 30th.

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The exact date of the extension is still currently being discussed but should it be allowed to hit June, the UK may have to participate in the European Elections this May.

The UK was expected to leave the EU on March 29th as per the two year period of the Article 50 negotiations. However, due difficulties in securing a majority vote to support the Prime Minister’s deal, Article 50 had been extended to firstly April 12th on a negative result and May 22nd should there be a positive one.

Failing to win support on her deal, the UK still risks crashing out of the EU with No-Deal, something tonight’s discussions hope to avert.