Ursula von der Leyen, the nominee to be the next EU Commission president, said Wednesday that Brexit could be delayed for a third time, but warned London it must take responsiblity for “sorting out” its tortured departure from the bloc.
Von der Leyen said the divorce deal agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May but rejected by British lawmakers was a good one, signalling that under her leadership the European Commission will be no more willing to renegotiate than before.
Brexit has been delayed twice already because of British lawmakers’ refusal to ratify the accord, but the two men vying to replace May both insist they will stick to the current departure date of October 31 come what may.
But von der Leyen, who said she still hoped Britain would change its mind and stay in the EU, said that if London needed more time, another postponement should be granted.
Von der Leyen, nominated by EU national leaders last week to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1, the day after Britain is due to leave, was wooing MEPs ahead of a confirmation vote in the European Parliament next week.