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Tusk: UK cannot be treated as ‘second category’ EU member

Written by on 16/04/2019

The UK cannot be treated as a “second category” member of the EU if it ends up taking part in the European elections, Donald Tusk has said.

The European Council President has been addressing the European Parliament about the bloc’s decision to grant a Brexit delay to the end of October.

“One of the consequences of our decision is that the UK will hold European elections next month,” he said.

Theresa May speaks at a news conference at the European Union Council headquarters in Brussels PM: We need to leave EU as soon as possible

“We should approach this seriously, as UK Members of the European Parliament will be there for several months, maybe longer.

“They will be full Members of the Parliament, with all their rights and obligations.

“I am speaking about this today because I have strongly opposed the idea that during this further extension, the UK should be treated as a second-category member state.

“No, it cannot. Therefore, I also ask you to reject similar ideas, if they were to be voiced in this House.”

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‘Do not waste this time,’ Tusk tells Britain

Mr Tusk said that the EU did not give into “fear and scaremongering” about the potential for the UK to be a disruptive force in the bloc during an extension.

He said: “I know that some have expressed fear that the UK might want to disrupt the EU’s functioning during this time but the EU 27 didn’t give in to such fear and scaremongering.

“In fact, since the very beginning of the Brexit process the UK has been a constructive and responsible EU member state and so we have no reason to believe that this should change.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also addressed MEPs, telling them that the EU is “ready” for the possibility of Britain leaving at the end of October with no deal.

But he said Brussels has “nothing to gain” from the “disruption” it would cause the UK.

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