European Council President Donald Tusk | Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Donald Tusk urges EU not to treat UK as ‘second category’ member state
UK participation in European election should be taken ‘seriously,’ European Council president tells Parliament.
Updated 4/16/19, 12:26 PM CET
European Council President Donald Tusk today urged the EU to not treat the U.K. as a “second category” member of the bloc between now and the October 31 Brexit deadline, and to approach “seriously” the U.K.’s possible participation in next month’s European election.
Speaking to MEPs during the Parliament’s last plenary session in Strasbourg before the ballot in May, Tusk defended the EU’s recent decision to delay the date of the U.K. ‘s exit from the EU for a second time. The decision was reached last week after a longer-than-expected debate among EU27 leaders at a summit in Brussels that began Wednesday evening and stretched until 2 a.m. Thursday morning.
“I hope they [the U.K] will use this time in the best possible way,” Tusk told MEPs. “The European Council will be awaiting a clear message from the U.K. on the way forward.”
He warned MEPs to respect the delay to the U.K.’s exit from the EU, and potentially “rethink Brexit” and participate in the European election during the extension period.
“I have strongly opposed the idea that during this further extension the U.K. should be treated as a second category member state,” he said. “I ask you to reject similar ideas if they were to be voiced in this house.”