A anti-Brexit supporters carries the Union Jack highlighted with stars of the EU flag in London, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. In their first weekend session in 37 years, British lawmakers in Parliament debated whether to accept Prime Minister Boris Johnson's proposed new divorce deal with the European Union. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

The Latest: Germany says a short Brexit delay is possible

October 21, 2019 - 6:41 am

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain's impending departure from the European Union (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Germany's foreign minister says he does not want to exclude the option that there will be a "short, technical extension" for Britain's departure from the European Union if there are problems with ratifying the latest Brexit divorce agreement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson grudgingly sent a letter seeking an extension of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline after Parliament slammed the brakes on his effort to push through a new divorce deal.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Berlin on Monday that the question of "whether there can be an extension as a whole, if there is no majority in the House of Commons, has to be looked at within the European Union and can only then be decided."

Maas said Germany and the EU don't want Britain to crash out of the bloc with a no deal Brexit. He stressed that the current Brexit deal between the bloc and the U.K. about Britain's departure "is balanced and fair."

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9:30 a.m.

The prime minister of Montenegro — a small Balkan nation that is the next in line to join the European Union — has expressed hope that once Brexit is finalized the EU's enlargement policy would regain importance.

Dusko Markovic tells The Associated Press that once the issue of Britain's departure from the bloc is wrapped up it would "free the EU from a major problem" and herald "new opportunities for candidate countries" such as Montenegro. The Adriatic nation of 600,000 that is seeking EU membership after joining NATO in 2017 amid strong opposition from Russia.

But Markovic warns that the EU decision not to open membership negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania sends a negative signal to the volatile Western Balkan region, where Russia has stepped up efforts to regain historic influence.

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9:10 a.m.

A French official has not ruled out granting a new delay to Britain's withdrawal from the bloc on condition that the U.K. clarifies its reasons for wanting a Brexit delay.

The deputy minister for European affairs, Amelie de Montchalin, told French news broadcaster BFM TV that "there is no new delay without any conditions, without justifications" like a parliamentary election or a new referendum on Brexit.

She said France doesn't want the situation "to last forever" beyond the current Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who had a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the weekend, called for a quick clarification of the U.K.'s position. In a statement, he said a delay "would not be in any party's interest."

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8:50 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to push for a vote on his European Union divorce deal as Parliament prepares for a week of guerrilla warfare over Brexit.

Johnson plans to kick things off by asking for a "straight up-and-down vote" on the EU divorce agreement on Monday, two days after lawmakers voted to delay approving the deal, according to his office.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow could refuse to allow such a vote because parliamentary rules generally bar the same measure from being considered a second time during the same session of Parliament unless something has changed.

Johnson's Conservative government will also introduce the legislation necessary to implement the Brexit agreement, opening the door to potentially lengthy debates and amendments that could scuttle the deal.

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7:40 a.m.

Germany's economy minister is suggesting it will be a few days before the European Union decides whether to grant a delay to Britain's withdrawal from the bloc.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson grudgingly sent a letter seeking an extension of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline after Parliament slammed the brakes on his effort to push through a new divorce deal.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier noted on Deutschlandfunk radio Monday that Johnson's government will attempt to get a vote on the deal this week. He added "we will have somewhat more clarity in the coming days, and we will then exercise our responsibility and quickly make a decision."

He said he wouldn't have a problem with an extension by "a few days or a few weeks" if that rules out a no-deal Brexit.

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Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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