Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has said he is pleased that European leaders have reached agreement on extending the Brexit deadline to October 31, describing the deal as an ‘acceptable compromise’.
The agreement heads off a ‘cliff hanger’ no-deal scenario which would have been bad for the Netherlands and Europe as a whole, Rutte said.
‘It is important that the union should continue to function and this agreement will achieve this,’ Rutte told reporters. ‘Many countries thought that the British would not be able to get everything done by June 30.’
There were differences of opinion between European leaders about the new Brexit delay but they eventually agreed on the end of October, with an evaluation of the progress at the end of June.
‘We are going to work together, all of us, to make sure that this gets done,’ Rutte said.
Britain is now legally required to hold elections for the European parliament next month. Without elections, the UK’s membership of the EU will automatically cease, the Dutch prime minister pointed out.
The new position means that the Netherlands will retain its current 26 seats in the parliament. It had been set to increase its representation to 29 following Britain’s withdrawal.
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