May is seeking an extension until June 30 to arrange a smooth transition for the UK's exit from the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May leave after a meeting to discuss Brexit, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. (April 9, 2019)
French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May leave after a meeting to discuss Brexit, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. (April 9, 2019) (Christian Hartmann / Reuters)

With nearly everyone fully resigned to Britain's departure from the European Union, two questions took centre stage Tuesday: How – and when – to get the UK politely out the door.

EU leaders will confront British Prime Minister Theresa May for the second time in three weeks on her government's delayed plans at an emergency Brexit summit on Wednesday, and such gatherings aren't getting any friendlier.

The bloc's leaders have tried to help May over the past two years of negotiations, and even after she missed her hand-picked Brexit date of departure on March 29 because of a parliamentary revolt.

So EU countries, especially France, have become increasingly exasperated with the political division and uncertainty in Britain about a way forward.

On a charm offensive with key leaders, May first flew to Berlin Tuesday to plead for good terms with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then set off for Paris for an encounter with President Emmanuel Macron, seen as her counterpart with the toughest demands.

The EU could offer a longer extension, but that could come with strings attached.

May's meeting in Brussels is expected to be uncomfortable, as EU leaders will expect evidence of real progress. A customs union may be on the cards for Britain or a no-deal Brexit.

TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood reports from Brussels.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies