‘If the UK requests an extension, treat it with all seriousness’ – Tusk

Plenary session - European Council and Commission statements - Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 October 2019

The outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk, has concluded his very last address to MEPs in the European Parliament by saying that a further request to extend the Brexit deadline by the UK, should be treated ‘with all seriousness.’

‘I no doubt we should treat the UK request for extension with all seriousness,’ Tusk said.

In his introductory speech to the Parliament Tusk has said that, ‘a no-deal scenario will never be our decision.’

Tusk’s comments formed part of the Parliament’s plenary session assessing the conclusions of the EU summit held between the 17-18 October. Most of the MEPs present believed a Brexit deal was the best way for the UK to leave the EU and that, ‘Parliament should do its part only after the agreement is ratified in the UK.’

They all stressed that the UK’s representatives and those in the EU, have ample time to review the details of the deal.

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In addition to Brexit, Tusk also went on to condemn the Turkish military action in North-Eastern Syria, calling on Istanbul to respect international law and withdraw its troops from the region.

Political group leaders said that condemning the action was ‘not enough’ and called for action to be taken by either the Council, Commission or individual member states.

On the topic of the Budget, Tusk raised concerns about the low amount due to be invested as the EU budget for 2020. He despaired that what the council was currently proposing was poor and that ‘you cannot shape Europe with 1% of GDP.’

MEPs speaking on the budget called for clarification over how goals set out by the Parliament and President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, would be met.