The European Union 27 leaders, gathering for a Summit in Brussels offered an extension of Brexit deadline to 22 May, the day before the European election voting starts in member-states (23-26 May).
However the deadline extension is not unconditional, EU27 Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said at arrival to the European Council. A short Brexit delay “should be conditional on a positive vote next week in the House of Commons“.
“We have done our best, now the solution is in London,” Barnier said.
“The European Council will start on Thursday (21.03.2019) afternoon with our usual exchange with President Tajani. We will then turn to Prime Minister May who will share her assessment of the latest developments regarding Brexit. After this, we will discuss the next steps concerning Brexit at 27″ Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council wrote in his open letter.
In the statement president Tusk underlined “..even if the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking – until the very last moment – a positive solution, of course without opening up the Withdrawal Agreement. We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events, and I am confident that, also now, we will not lack the same patience and goodwill, at this most critical point in this process.”
“I believe that we could consider a short extension conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons. The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension. Prime Minister May’s proposal, of the 30th of June, which has its merits, creates a series of questions of a legal and political nature”, Tusk continued, adding that the issues would be discussed during the European Council Summit #EUCO.
Theresa May announced June 30 as a new deadline for Brexit to be requested at the upcoming European Union Summit on 21-22 March in Brussels.
The leader of a recently established Brexit party, Member of European Parliament, Nigel Farage has immediately reacted on a new deadline, insisting there should not be any extension “in first place”. He also requested the guarantees that the new deadline would be respected: “why should we believe her?” Farage wrote in his Tiwtter micro blog.
AMENDED: According to President of the European Commission press-person the telephone consultation between him and Prime Minister Theresa May are ongoing.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a “short delay” for departure of the UK from the EU in a letter to the European Council on March 20, Sky News cited an s senior government source. The move is feared by the Leavers to become a first step in a sequence of events leading to de facto cancellation the results of the Brexit referendum.
The request of delay, almost three years since Britons voted in referendum to leave the European Union, leads to the Brexit uncertainty with options of the a sequence of delays, mounting up to next five years of negotiations to produce a meaningful and mutually acceptable Article 50 Agreement. Some experts consider the delay in reality might become open-ended, without any definite deadline to respect, but causing by obligation of the UK to participate in the upcoming European elections, and engage in the next Brussels political cycle.
In need to postpone the formal Brexit date March 29 Prime Minister May has to apply to European Council President Donald Tusk, responsible for the EU Summit preparations to present the request to the heads of states and governments of the EU member-states on 21 of March.
However the length of the delay beyond May 24 inevitably leads to the engagement of the UK in the European elections, and the next political cycle in the EU, the move that the Leavers presume will jeopardise the entire Brexit process for years to come.
There are also concerns among the European politicians about the import the Westminster political crisis to Brussels, affecting the future of the bloc. The president of the EU Council Donald Tusk indicated via his Twitter micro blog, that ‘no-deal‘ Brexit, or the break with the UK without any agreement, is still on the cards.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said the government can’t have another meaningful vote on Article 50 deal unless changes made.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament representative for Brexit negotiations has responded to the Westminster decision with a rhetoric question on cross-party talks: ” It is time for country to come before party!“, he insisted.
Although there is an understanding that Brexit without a legal framework would be a catastrophe, the ‘open end‘ extension of Article 50 is not considered as an option for Members of European Parliament (MEP), who consider it would import British political crisis from the Westminster, and block the development of the European Union. There is also a concern that Brexit crisis might ‘hijack‘ the European elections, imposing its own agenda.While the MEPs recommend, it is up to the European Council to decide if an extension can be granted, and for what period of time.
Julie GIRLING, MEP (EPP, UK), explains that the request to shift the UK departure deadline (March 29) might be refused as a result of the alliance between Matteo Salvini Eurosceptic Lega and Nigel Farage Brexit party, insisting “Leave means leave’“.
Nigel Farage, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and leading Breixt enthusiast expressed his indignation by the decision of the Westminster to delay the departure from the European Union.
The reaction came after House of Commons voted for the motion to delay of the Article 50 deadline fixed on March 29.