European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has gone on a scathing attack on the UK’s handling of its withdrawal from the bloc and has launched a staunch defence of the EU stating “the Parliament doesn’t intend to be ridiculed by anyone”. Mr Tajani’s comments comes as Theresa May was able to ratify a “flexible” six month extension with the EU27 during the early hours of the morning in the Belgian capital. The European Parliament President said: “We can’t accept that the European election be considered like a sort of game.”
As the UK could still leave the EU at any time during the extension if MPs back the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement, Mr Tajani insists the process will interfere with the size of the EU parliament chamber.
He said: “The Parliament could have a variable composition, 751 for a year and then 705, then three who leave, five who arrive because of uncertainty.”
He added: “We want to know what will happen and how long will last the current transition period. We want to have certainty on the composition of the Parliament in the first and second phase.”
It comes as Brexiteers threatened to cause chaos during a Brexit extension.
ERG deputy Mark Francois warned the EU would be facing “a perfidious Albion on speed” if the UK was “kept in the EU against its will”.
He said: “We will become a Trojan Horse within the EU which would utterly derail all your attempts to pursue a more federal project.”
During a press conference in the early hours European Council president Donald Tusk did not rule out a further extension, but Mr Tusk insisted this provided enough time “to find the best possible solution” but warned Britain “please do not waste this time”.
Mrs May maintained she still wanted the UK to leave the EU “as soon as possible” after Brussels rejected her proposal for a shorter extension until June 1.
The Prime Minister also stressed the importance to “fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum” but acknowledged it would be difficult to break the deadlock in the House of Commons.
She said: “The choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear.
“So we must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach a consensus on a deal that is in the national interest.”
She added: “I do not pretend the next few weeks will be easy or that there is a simple way to break the deadlock in Parliament.
“But we have a duty as politicians to find a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward. Nothing is more pressing or more vital.”
Meanwhile during the tense meeting in Brussels frustrated EU leaders clashed over how long to extend Article 50.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had pushed against a long extension “for the collective good”, meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel, backed a longer extension to 2020 to ensure an “orderly” Brexit.
If the UK fails to take part in elections to the European Parliament on May 23-26, then the default position will be the UK leaving the EU without a deal on June 1.