Estonia supports UK's request for Brexit withdrawal extension ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu both said the government supported the UK's request for an extension to leaving the European Union.

On Thursday, Reinsalu briefed members of the government on the state of negotiations on the UK's exit from the European Union and last week's agreement to amend the Irish treaty and declaration of future relations. The United Kingdom has sent a letter to the European Union requesting an extension of the deadline until 31 January 2020.

Ratas said the agreement protects the rights of citizens and gives business security. "It is our firm preference for the withdrawal to take place on a regular basis, that is, by contract. If the British need an extension, we are willing to give it."

He also stressed the importance of maintaining a close working relationship with the United Kingdom in the future. 

The Prime Minister considers it important that under the treaty there would be no land border with Ireland. "It is also important that the EU common market is protected and that there is a level playing field for businesses," he said.

Postponing the withdrawal deadline requires a joint decision of the 27 EU Member States which will be discussed on Friday.

Reinsalu said that the Estonian government supports the UK's request to postpone its withdrawal, but prefers a shorter period than a longer one for reasons of legal clarity. 

"The extension may be based on a unanimous decision of the member states of the European Union. Even though the European Union and Estonia have made all the necessary preparations for any scenario, including non-consensual departure, it is still in our interest that the United Kingdom leaves the Community on a regular basis," Reinsalu said.

"The United Kingdom is our close partner in defense cooperation, including NATO, and more broadly. We share the same values ​​and share many international issues, so close cooperation is important to us in the future," Reinsalu added.

The Cabinet decided to make the "Review of the UK's exit from the European Union" item on the agenda of the Government session and to approve it as submitted.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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