UK removes European Union from British passport despite Brexit delay

by Samuel Abasi Posted on April 6th, 2019

London, UK: The United Kingdom is issuing British passports without the words “European Union” on the front cover despite the delay to Brexit. The U.K. government had said the new burgundy passports would be introduced starting several days ago, on March 30.

“Passports that include the words European Union will continue to be issued for a short period after this date,” Her Majesty’s Passport Office, which issues U.K. passports, said in a statement. “You will not be able to choose whether you get a passport that includes the words European Union, or a passport that does not.”

The office said “both designs will be equally valid for travel.”

The rollout is part of a two-stage design change that will see new blue passports being “phased in gradually” later this year. And it comes even though Brexit has been delayed.

Initially, the deadline for Britain to leave the European Union was March 29, but the EU granted the U.K. an extension, CBS News’ Haley Ott reported. The deadline is now April 12, but the U.K. has asked for another extension.

Susan Hindle Barone, who said on Twitter she received a new passport on Friday, tweeted she was “TRULY APPALLED” by the change to the document’s cover.

“Dear Passport Agency, @HM_Passport We’re still in the EU – Why doesn’t my new passport reflect that?” she tweeted.

British Prime Minister Theresa May formally asked the EU on Friday to delay Britain’s departure from the bloc until June 30, hoping to avoid a potentially damaging “no-deal” crash-out in mid-April. European Council President Donald Tusk made a counteroffer. He proposed an indefinite time frame and urged 27 other EU states to offer the U.K. a “flextension” — a delay of up to one year.

Tusk will seek to get his concept approved at an EU summit scheduled to take place in mid April, according to EU officials.

The chairman of European Union leaders Donald Tusk is likely to offer Britain a flexible extension of the date of the country’s exit from the EU of up to one year, with the possibility of leaving sooner, a senior EU official said.

The official said the option could be presented to British Prime Minister Theresa May at the EU summit on Brexit on April 10th in Brussels. If May accepted, Britain would have to hold elections to the European parliament in May, the official said

“The only reasonable way out would be a long but flexible extension. I would call it a ‘flextension’,” the official said.

“We could give the UK a year-long extension, automatically terminated once the Withdrawal Agreement has been accepted and ratified by the House of Commons,” the official said.

“And even if this were not possible, then the UK would still have enough time to rethink its Brexit strategy. A short extension if possible, and a long one if necessary. It seems to be a good scenario for both sides, as it gives the UK all the necessary flexibility, while avoiding the need to meet every few weeks to further discuss Brexit extensions,” he said.

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