Brexit

Theresa May has no new plan for Brexit ahead of critical summit, EU lawmaker says

Key Points
  • The European Union is gearing up for a critical summit Wednesday to decide whether to grant a second extension to the Brexit process.
  • Failure to reach an agreement will mean that the U.K. will crash out of the EU Friday at 11 p.m. BST.
  • The EU is expected to grant the U.K. a flexible delay.
European elections lead candidate and European Parliament faction leader of the European People's Party (EPP, or EVP in German) Manfred Weber.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has no fresh ideas to overcome the Brexit impasse, making it harder for Europe to grant another delay, EU lawmaker Manfred Weber told CNBC Tuesday.

The European Union is gearing up for a critical summit Wednesday to decide whether to grant a second extension to the Brexit process. Failure to reach an agreement will mean that the U.K. will crash out of the EU Friday at 11 p.m. BST.

"I must say, for the moment, I don't see that Theresa May is coming back with a big new method," Manfred Weber, a candidate in the running for president of the European Commission when a leadership changes takes place later this year, told CNBC.

Weber, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and chair of the European People's Party, added that there hasn't been any "fresh, new start, no new idea" of what London wants to do. "That's why I'm very critical on further prolongation. But it's up to Theresa May to convince us."

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Shorter extension to Brexit an 'appropriate' way to go forward: EU's Weber

The 27 European countries agreed last month to give a first delay to the U.K.'s departure, after Theresa May failed to get approval for her Brexit deal – a 585-page document that she negotiated with the EU. Since then, the prime minister asked U.K. lawmakers to vote on her deal once again, but it got rejected a third time.

With strong criticism for her deal coming from within her own party, Theresa May decided to start talks with the opposition party in search for a consensus over what Brexit should look like. However, thecross-party talks that began last week have failed to bear any fruit and the prime minister is still lacking a majority behind her deal.

As a result, she has asked her 27 counterparts to grant another delay, until June 30.

"The message is no prolongation without clarification. We need from the British side a clarification. We need an idea of what they want to achieve, what they want to do, what are the next steps," Weber told CNBC.

Different European capitals have said that they need a very good reason from London in order to delay the U.K.'s departure. French ministers, for example, have made it clear there cannot be a perpetual extension.

According to Weber, a good reason would be "to go back to the people" to clarify what the country wants, be it via a general election or a second referendum.

"But again, that's up to the British friends to decide."

The EU has also been at odds over how long the delay could last. Certain countries out of the 27 believe that Brexit should happen as soon as possible to avoid clashing with European Parliamentary elections in late May. Other member states believe that a long extension would be better, so they don't have to discuss extensions all the time.

"A short-term extension is the most appropriate way to go forward," Weber told CNBC. The question is not that the U.K. needs more time to discuss the process, "the question is whether (the U.K. is) ready to decide."

European leaders are gathering in Brussels at 6 p.m. CET.

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