March 21, 2019 / 12:53 PM / a month ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Brexit dominates EU leaders' two-day summit

(Adds May, Corbyn)

BRUSSELS, March 21 (Reuters) - European Union leaders arrive in Brussels for two days of talks on Brexit, trade with China, climate and safeguarding European Parliament elections against interference.

Below please find the leaders’ comments on Thursday before arriving to the talks.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY

“This delay is of much personal regret to me.”

“A short extension would give parliament the time.”

“What is important is that parliament delivers on the results of the referendum and that we deliver Brexit.”

“What matters is that we recognise that Brexit is the decision of the British people. We need to deliver on that.”

“Now is the time for parliament to decide.”

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

“With regard to the date of June 30, we have to take into consideration that we have European elections in May.”

“We can discuss this wish next week if we have a positive vote in the British parliament on the exit agreement.”

“The leaders of the EU 27 will intensively discuss this request. In principal, we can meet this request if we have a positive vote in the British parliament next week about the exit document.”

IRISH PRIME MINISTER LEO VARADKAR

“The situation in London is somewhat chaotic at the moment.”

“We need to cut the entire British establishment a little bit of slack on this and support their request ... for a short extension. No deal will only ever be a British choice.”

“I think there is an openness to an extension across the board but we can’t have a situation whereby we have a rolling cliff edge, where we just put off decisions and deadlines every couple of months.”

“Brexit will require some very hard choices for the United Kingdom. It was never going to be all good and no bad.”

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT DALIA GRYBAUSKAITE

“I expect we will agree today to some date of extension, not necessarily June, could be May. And some conditions also will be discussed.”

“We will do everything we can from our side but UK needs to take serious and final decision.”

“UK needs to decide.”

“Extension would probably only be (until) May. Or a long extension - in that case, the UK will need to organise (European Parliament) elections.”

“We need to be prepared for everything but of course we all hope to find a solution.”

“Withdrawal (agreement) is not on the table.”

AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN KURZ

“I think it is important that the UK does not take part in the EU election ... If somebody wants to leave the European Union, it wouldn’t be understood why this country should take part.”

“It does make sense to postpone Brexit to avoid a hard Brexit.”

“I support an extension but only if important questions can be answered.”

“An extension is better than a no-deal scenario.”

LUXEMBOURG PRIME MINISTER XAVIER BETTEL

“At the moment, there are more non-options on the table than options... I sometimes have the feeling that we are in the waiting room, a bit like Waiting for Godot. But Godot never came so I hope this time they will come.”

UK OPPOSITION LABOUR LEADER JEREMY CORBYN

“Our determination is to find an agreement, which means we prevent a no-deal Brexit, and that we have a future constructive relationship with the European Union that could be negotiated during an extension period.”

“Our priority is to ensure that no deal is off the table and that there isn’t a chaos.”

“We will be taking our proposal to the British parliament next week to make sure there is no disorderly exit next Friday because I think this is the priority.” (Reporting by Reuters Brussels bureau)

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