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‘Anything is possible’ on Brexit, says EU’s Tusk

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European Council President Donald Tusk attends a press conference following a special meeting of the European Council to endorse the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement and to approve the draft political declaration on future EU-UK relations on November 25, 2018 in Brussels. – The European Union’s top official urged British lawmakers to ratify the Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with European leaders, warning it will not be modified. “This is the best deal possible for Britain, this is the best deal possible for Europe. This is the only deal possible,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said after a Brussels summit. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Friday that all Brexit options are on the table until the new April 12 deadline, including Britain cancelling its withdrawal.

Prime Minister Theresa May returned to Britain to try for a third time to persuade recalcitrant lawmakers to approve her EU withdrawal agreement after European leaders agreed to postpone the March 29 departure date.

If MPs back the accord, Britain will leave the EU on May 22, but if they vote it down again, London must say before April 12 what it plans to do, with a further delay only possible if it organises European Parliament elections.

Tusk said all options were still available — including Britain cancelling its withdrawal, an idea backed by a petition in the UK that has now gathered almost three million signatures.

“Until April 12, anything is possible — a deal, a long extension, if the UK decided to rethink its strategy or revoking Article 50, which is a prerogative of the UK government,” Tusk said.

“The fate of Brexit is in the hands of our British friends. We are prepared for the worst, but hope for the best. As you know, hope dies last.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that if May’s deal is voted down again, the bloc’s leaders would need another summit with May to discuss how to proceed.

“I think that this (April 12) is a very reasonable date. Of course we will meet again before that date — certainly in the presence of the British prime minister,” Merkel told reporters after the summit in Brussels.

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