France Signals Next U.K. Leader Can’t Count on Brexit Extension

(Bloomberg) -- The next British prime minister shouldn’t assume they’ll get another Brexit extension from the European Union in order to sort out their plans, a member of the French government indicated.

Endless delays to Britain’s departure would be worse than a no-deal Brexit, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, junior economy minister, said in an interview.

France Signals Next U.K. Leader Can’t Count on Brexit Extension

“A brutal rupture is certainly not the most positive thing for the economy, but we can’t be left in a situation where the EU doesn’t work,” Pannier-Runacher said. “What’s essential for France is the proper functioning of the European Union. And it’s not possible to have a country taking part in decisions when it’s on its way out."

When EU leaders agreed in early April to postpone Brexit until Oct. 31, French President Emmanuel Macron was among those arguing for a shorter extension in order to keep the pressure on the U.K.

Since then, British Prime Minister Theresa May has been forced to resign and her Conservative Party is organizing a contest to find her replacement. The result of that election will determine the U.K.’s approach to the next phase of the process.

Pannier-Runacher said Brexit would probably cut French economic output by about 0.5 percentage points over several years. “It won’t put the economy on the floor, it’s a moderate effect,” she said.

That’s less serious than deadlock at the EU would be, she said.

“Trade policy, competition policy, innovation policy -- these decisions taken at the EU are more important than ever, and we are expecting strong responses from Europe,” she said. “This situation can’t last forever.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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