The 27 EU countries have agreed to postpone for the third time the UK deadline of 31 January 2020.
The 27 countries of the European Union gave Monday 28th October 2019 the green light for a third postponement of the date of exit of the United Kingdom, until January 31st 2020, and Boris Johnson will again attempt to call an early election.
Three days ahead of the planned Brexit date on 31st October, “the 27 have agreed to accept the UK’s request for a flexible Brexit postponement until 31 January 2020,” said Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. on Twitter.
The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 28, 2019
Deadline on 31 January
This postponement provides for a deadline of 31st January, but with the possibility for the United Kingdom to leave the EU on 30th November or 31st December in case of ratification of the exit agreement before these deadlines, says a document seen by AFP.
France, the country most reluctant to a long report, has agreed to this new extension by attaching conditions. The decision is accompanied by a political declaration in which the EU excludes any renegotiation of the agreement reached with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and calls for the appointment of a British European Commissioner.
The decision will be formalized in the day of Monday by the leaders of the 27 by a written procedure. It must also be approved by London.
The ambassadors’ meeting followed a weekend of intense consultations, including between French President Emmanuel Macron and Johnson, who spoke on the phone on Sunday.
Date postponed twice
EU chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier said on Monday “very pleased that a decision has been made”.
This is the third postponement of the Brexit date, more than three years after the decision of the British, consulted by referendum, to vote 52% to leave the European Union. The UK was originally scheduled to leave the EU on March 29th, a date already postponed twice (April 12th and October 31st).
Since his return from Brussels, agreement in his pocket about ten days ago, Boris Johnson has managed to obtain unprecedented advances. He was also forced to seek a postponement after stating that he would rather “be dead in a ditch” than to make such a request.
British MPs approved in principle Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement, but they rejected the forced-on-the-times schedule he wanted to impose on them, reducing his hopes of fulfilling his promise of a Brexit by the 31st October.
To win legislative elections, to be held on December 12th, Boris Johnson will need two-thirds of the vote in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, 434 votes.
The Conservative Prime Minister, who no longer has a majority, has already failed twice in September.
Winning elections would give him some leeway. His ranks have been reduced by about twenty deputies – excluded from the party after voting against him – and his key ally to Westminster, the small unionist party Northern Ireland DUP (10 deputies), in favour of an exit from the EU, refuses the agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson.
Labour, the main opposition party, reiterated that it would only vote for general elections once the risk of an exit without an agreement was removed.
Two other Europhile opposition groups, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats, which bring together 54 deputies, had announced their intention, if the Brexit was postponed until the end of January, to introduce an amendment on Tuesday to trigger elections on 9 December. These parties would need only a simple majority.
The timetable set by both parties would prevent Boris Johnson from passing the law on his Brexit agreement before Parliament was dissolved before the dissolution of Parliament. A scenario politically unfavourable to the Prime Minister, whose party enjoys a large lead in the polls.