EU nominee von der Leyen says ready to delay Brexit if necessary
STRASBOURG, FRANCE, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Ursula von der Leyen, the candidate for president of the European Commission, said on Tuesday she stands ready for a further extension of Britain's departure from the European Union (EU) should more time be required for a good reason.
Britain is now slated to leave the bloc on Oct. 31, which is already a significant delay from the original withdrawal date.
The British government reached a deal with Brussels, but the deal has been defeated in the parliament, creating strong uncertainties.
Prime Minister Theresa May will step down soon, and Boris Johnson, contender for the position, has pledged to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31.
"I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required," von der Leyen told the European Parliament, where members are due to vote on her nomination to head the EU's executive.
"In any case the UK will remain our ally, our partner and our friend," she added.
Earlier July, von der Leyen, current German defense minister, was nominated by the leaders of the EU member states to replace the current president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.