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EU leaders 'almost unanimous' for second Brexit vote: Malta PM

© AFP | Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat speaks to the media as he arrives in Salzburg, Austria on September 19, 2018 prior to a dinner as part of the EU Informal Summit of Heads of State or Government


There is "almost unanimous" backing among European Union leaders for Britain to hold another referendum on Brexit, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Thursday.

"We would like the almost impossible to happen, that the UK has another referendum," Muscat told BBC radio.

"I think most of us would welcome a situation where there is the possibility of the British people putting things into perspective, seeing what has been negotiated, seeing the options, and then deciding once and for all."

Muscat's stance was reiterated by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who said he would support Britain holding another vote on EU membership.

Babis added he had been "shocked" by Britons' June 2016 decision to leave the bloc -- now scheduled to happen in March next year -- which has added to Europe's growing list of problems.

"I'm very unhappy that (the) UK is leaving so it would be better maybe to make another referendum and maybe the people in the meantime they could change their view," he told the BBC.

"Because then we will solve the problem quite quickly."

Six months ahead of Britain's planned EU departure, calls have been growing for a second referendum -- backed by an expanding list of centrist politicians.

The campaign for another poll has also attracted hefty financial backing, including from Hungarian-US billionaire George Soros, with a series of events staged across Britain over the summer to drum up support.

But the government is opposed to another referendum, while the main opposition Labour Party is not supporting the calls but also not ruling out the prospect.

The pro-EU Best for Britain group said the Maltese and Czech leaders statements showed "there is still time for the UK to check with the people if Brexit is what they still want."

Its chief Eloise Todd added: "It's time to give the people -- not politicians -- the final say on Brexit."

© 2018 AFP