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Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs discussed Brexit summit

Government Communications Department 10.4.2019 11.08 | Published in English on 10.4.2019 at 16.31
Press release 193/2019

On Wednesday 10 April, the Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs set out Finland’s position for the European Council’s special meeting, to be held in Brussels later the same day, on Brexit, the United Kingdom's exit from the EU. The special meeting of the European Council will first be addressed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and then, without the UK's presence, will decide whether to extend the deadline for Brexit.

The UK Parliament has not ratified the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Exiting without an agreement would be detrimental to both sides, which is why, on 22 March, the European Council extended the UK’s EU exit date to 12 April. The UK is now requesting a further extension until 30 June. 

The Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs took the position that Finland can, if necessary, approve a new extension deadline of up to about one year. The maximum duration of the extension must be defined precisely. It can be a flexible extension that would terminate earlier automatically if the withdrawal agreement were to enter into force. In accordance with the positions taken earlier by Finland, an extension is possible if there are clear grounds and a plan for it.

The basic conditions for an extension would be that the withdrawal agreement is not re-opened and that negotiations on the future relationship cannot be started before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Furthermore, the UK would have to hold elections to the European Parliament if it is still a Member State on 23 May, and would have to undertake to maintain sincere cooperation.

Inquiries: Kare Halonen, State Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 160 319, Niina Nurkkala, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 50 347 2661, and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister's Office