European Union leaders agree to Brexit extension: Tusk

Clay Curtis
April 11, 2019

However, as European Council chief Donald Tusk stipulated earlier this month, as well as Tuesday night in a formal letter on the eve of the summit, he is pushing for member states to offer a one-year "flexible" extension to Article 50 with the option to withdraw any time during that period, if United Kingdom parliament comes to an agreement.

However, European Council president Donald Tusk has suggested EU leaders grant the United Kingdom a longer extension to Brexit than Mrs May has requested.

The EU has continually said it will not re-open the withdrawal agreement for negotiations, but Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom has renewed her plea for it to look at it again. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants a gentler, but longer extension, into 2020 - reflecting splits among the EU27 that are set to delay a ruling long into tonight.

Traders are waiting for the final decision from the European Union on whether there will be a delay to Brexit or whether Britain will be forced to crash out of the European Union on Friday without a deal.

The EU had previously told May another extension would only be granted if the United Kingdom can present a credible alternative Brexit plan to the one which has been rejected by MPs three times.

Theresa May is now in Brussels to attend a meeting of the European Council, before they decide on the length of an extension to offer the United Kingdom, and the conditions attached. "We are prepared", he said.

In the Commons on Tuesday, 97 Tory MPs voted against a motion backing Mrs May's call for an extension which only passed with the support of opposition MPs.

Mr Tusk wrote in a letter to the heads of the 27 remaining member states ahead of today's summit: "The flexibility would allow to terminate the extension automatically, as soon as both sides have ratified the withdrawal agreement".

European Union leaders agree to Brexit extension: Tusk

"The UK would be free to leave whenever it is ready".

"I don't want to see a long extension".

"In reality, granting such an extension would increase the risk of a rolling series of short extensions and emergency summits, creating new cliff-edge dates".

Mr Tusk's letter came after the PM arrived in Paris for talks with Mr Macron, who in recent days has warned that an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process is not guaranteed.

The Prime Minister's agreement is required for any change to the Brexit date to be finalised.

"I don't think a permanent customs union is a good way forward".

Meanwhile, the cross-party talks seeking to break the Brexit impasse will resume tomorrow, with Labour saying the Government had not yet made a "clear shift" in its position.

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