EU lawmakers urge Britain to call off Brexit

In an open letter quoted by newspapers belonging to Germany's Funke media group Monday, more than 100 European parliamentarians called on the United Kingdom to call off Brexit, saying such a decision would be welcome in the EU.

The draft letter is expected to be published in Britain a day before a crucial vote in the British parliament on Prime Minister Theresa May's draft Brexit deal, which observers are expecting to fail.

What the EU lawmakers said:

  • "Any British decision to stay in the EU would be greatly welcomed by us."
  • "We would work with you to reform and improve the European Union."
  • "(We have) greatly valued the tremendous influence of British politicians and citizens over the past 40 years."
  • "We would miss the extraordinary expertise of our British colleagues."

Read more: Opinion: Britain's hour of destiny

Welcome to stay

Peter Liese, MEP and Christian Democratic Union lawmaker in the center-right European People's Party, told the Funke news group: "We want to send a signal to the people and, as such, to the House of Commons and make it clear that if the British decide to stay, they are welcome."

In Germany, industry leaders have warned of the dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit, and have urged the UK to rethink its departure.

Eric Schweitzer, president of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "In Germany, about 750,000 jobs depend on trade with the United Kingdom. Without a deal, millions of additional customs declarations and billions of custom duties would need to be paid."

Read more: No Brexit renegotiation, Angela Merkel tells Bundestag

Crucial vote

British Parliament is scheduled to hold a pivotal vote on May's Brexit plans. But observers believe she doesn't have enough support to make it through.

Some British lawmakers have suggested extending the Brexit deadline, which is currently set for March 29. But Manfred Weber, lead candidate for the European People's Party, said that such an extension should not go beyond European parliamentary elections slated for May.

Read more: Germany pledges full EU support for Ireland over Brexit

ls/rt (AFP, dpa)

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