Brexit: A Delay of Six Months offered to the United Kingdom

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A delay of six months for Brexit has been offered by the European Union

On the night of Wednesday 10th to Thursday 11th April, 2019, European leaders have validated the postponement of Brexit, up to the 31st October.

European leaders and Theresa May agreed on the night of Wednesday 10th April to Thursday 11th April 2019 for a postponement of Brexit. She can go until the 31st October, temporarily dismissing the specter of a brutal separation of a no deal, after a summit held in Brussels.

The compromise came on the eve of April 12, the deadline for the British withdrawal decided at a previous summit, and that was likely to become that of a divorce without agreement after more than 40 years of a tormented union.


Divided between supporters of a short report led by France and supporters of a longer deadline, the 27 took several hours to forge their proposal, before submitting it around 01:30 (23H30 GMT) to the British Prime Minister.

She accepted it, although she had argued earlier for a postponement until June 30 only. The conservative leader said she will address the British MPs on Thursday and continue talks with the Labor opposition to try to find a compromise that can bring a parliamentary majority.

“We can still go out on May 22,” May insisted, noting that it was enough for the MPs to give the green light to the divorce treaty they have already rejected three times.

Emmanuel Macron “best possible compromise”

We have “agreed on a flexible extension until October 31st, it means six more months for the United Kingdom to find the best possible solution,” welcomed the President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

During these six months, the United Kingdom “may still ratify the withdrawal agreement, in which case the extension will be terminated,” Tusk said. London also keeps the possibility “to completely cancel Brexit”, he added.

At the end of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed “the best possible compromise”, which “helped preserve the unity of the 27”. “The 31 October stop protects us” because it is “a key date, before the installation of a new European Commission”, explained Mr. Macron.

According to European diplomats, several countries have criticised the intransigence of France, hostile to the postponement of a year for which pleaded a majority of countries. “There were different sensitivities,” acknowledged Macron, saying “assume” this “role of clarity” and “firmness”.

Despite their weariness with the prevarications in London, European officials were all willing to give more time to the British. But Paris led the camp of countries demanding “strict” conditions.

These countries are concerned about the potential nuisance that a United Kingdom might keep in the EU and the other outside for an indefinite period.

Emmanuel Macron says delay of Brexit is "Best Compromise"
President Emmanuel Macron, on April 10, 2019 in Brussels. (© AFP / Aris Oikonomou)

Power of veto

The summit’s conclusions state that the United Kingdom will have to behave “constructively and responsibly” for the additional period it has been granted. London should also “refrain from any measure that could compromise the achievement of the objectives of the Union”.

One European diplomat had suggested that London could waive its right of veto. The UK will retain “all its rights and obligations” as member states, Tusk said.

According to a European source, the United Kingdom “will not appoint a European commissioner but will be able to take part in the appointment of the new president of the Commission because the vote takes place by qualified majority in the Council”.

“Technical and legal information provided by the Commission has shown that the possibilities for the United Kingdom to take the Union institutions hostage are very small. But we will have to remain attentive, “said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

The agreement found also provides for a “milestone” at a European summit in late June. “It will not be a negotiation session,” warned European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. “The crucial moment of decision will be in October,” he added.

” Please “

If the UK is still a member of the EU in October, it will mean that the British will take part in the European elections at the end of May.

If they have not done so, the UK “will have to come out on June 1 without an agreement,” said Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, as stipulated in the summit’s conclusions.

The postponement agreed on the night of Wednesday to Thursday “is as flexible as I expected, and a little shorter than I expected,” said Tusk after the summit.

“But there is enough to find the best possible solution. Please, do not waste time this time, “he said to the British.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in front of the Bundestag on April 10, 2019 in Berlin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in front of the Bundestag on April 10, 2019 in Berlin. (© AFP / John MACDOUGALL)

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