Brexit extension needs a reason and a plan, says Moscovici

DAVOS • Any extension of the Brexit process beyond the UK’s March 29 departure date would need a reason and a plan from the government in London, European Union Economic and Monetary Commissioner Pierre Moscovici (picture) said.

A delay in the withdrawal date is “a possible scenario”, Moscovici said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But for that to happen “we need to know why we extend, what for, what’s the plan?” he said.

With the prospect of a chaotic no-deal divorce looming as the exit date approaches, the British Parliament is moving closer to a plan to delay the country’s departure. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she’s against a postponement. Any delay would have ripple effects including continued uncertainty for companies with potential negative effects on investment and growth.

Moscovici said it’s important that the British government “clarifies the options from the UK side” in seeking an extension of the Brexit process. An extension requires approval of all 27 of the remaining EU member states.

The prospect of a delay in the divorce date has increased since the UK Parliament rejected the Withdrawal Agreement that May negotiated with the EU side.

“They don’t want that deal; they don’t want a no-deal,” Moscovici said. “Now, it’s time for them to tell us what they want — not only a negative opinion, but a positive opinion.” — Bloomberg