EU trying to give UK room for manoeuvre - Polish PM

Summing up a two-day EU summit's provisions for Brexit, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday he had proposed a formula thanks to which London would not be "put up against a wall." "We're trying to give the British room for manoeuvre," he said.

The PM added that the EU did not want to pressure its British partners.

The leaders of 27 EU member states agreed late on Thursday evening on two scenarios for extending the Brexit deadline from March 29. In the first, if the British House of Commons accepts the exit deal negotiated by PM Theresa May's government, an extension will be granted until May 22. If parliament does not accept the deal, Brexit will occur on April 12.

"We're trying to give the British room for manoeuvre and, through the decision taken yesterday, we have left that room for manoeuvre, at the same time we are also not pressuring our partners; in the end they are our partners and I hope they will remain our partners," the PM commented.

An earlier solution prepared by EU Council President Donald Tusk's office had provided for an extension until May 22 but only if the UK parliament ratified May's agreement. According to a PAP source in Brussels, PM Morawiecki had protested at the summit against such conditions being set and argued that it "put Great Britain against a wall." Therefore, Morawiecki proposed "such a formula as a result of which Great Britain is not put against a wall (...), we only have until April 12 for the British parliament to work out a positive approach to the deal on Great Britain leaving."

"At the same time we are allowing an extension to May 22 in the event that such an option is really worked out (...)," the prime minister observed.

Mateusz Morawiecki also drew attention to the fact that although the UK is leaving the EU, it will remain a very important player in this part of the world as well as a partner of Poland in matters related to security and trade. "I hope we will be in a position to work out appropriate relations with Great Britain, of course within the EU framework, EU-British relations," he commented.

The head of the Polish government also reassured Poles living in the UK that they had nothing to fear. "I want to assure everybody that in bilateral talks with Prime Minister May we have established that all Poles who are living in the British Isles will be treated, from the point of view of participation in social security systems, as to date, without changes, on the principle of reciprocity," Morawiecki stated.