Latvia could back another Brexit extension

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Latvia is minded to back a new Brexit postponement in order to prevent the UK's disorderly withdrawal from the European Union (EU), Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (New Unity arty) told the LETA newswire through his spokesman Martins Dregeris October 6. 

Latvia appreciates the submission of the legal text of the UK's proposal, he said. The minister indicated that the documents on the Irish backstop submitted by the UK have not been made public and that EU negotiators continue to analyze the proposal. Meanwhile, talks are ongoing between EU and UK representatives. 

The Latvian minister added, however, that time is running out for the UK to strike a Brexit deal.

Rinkēvičs pointed out that the EU is ready for a new solution, provided that the UK develops its proposals based on the backstop principles and comes up with a legally operational solutions that would allow avoiding a physical border on the island of Ireland and preserve the integrity of the EU Single Market. The UK's current proposal does not meet these requirements and is therefore unacceptable to the EU, Rinkēvičs said, though the LETA report did not quote him directly.

If no Brexit deal is reached by October 19, 2019, the UK is expected to ask  the EU for an extension to article 50 as required by its effective legislation, though Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will leave "do or die" and that he "would rather be dead in a ditch" than do so.

EU member states would have to decide on any request at a European Council meeting slated for October 17-18.

A no-deal Brexit still remains a highly likely possibility, unless a deal is reached or the extension to article 50 is granted, so Latvia should brace for all the possible scenarios, Rinkevics said.

The confusion and disorder of Brexit is of obvious concern to around 100,000 Latvians resident in the United Kingdom and around 300 Britons resident in Latvia. 

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš was also talking about Brexit and related issues October 6 on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

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