Theresa May has has managed to reach an agreement with the EU to extend the Brexit deadline until October 31. The delay could see the UK take part in European elections unless it can get everything sorted through parliament before.
European Council President Donald Tusk said the extension would allow the UK to “find the best possible solution.”
“Tonight the European Council decided to grant the UK a flexible extension of the Article 50 period until the 31st of October. This means an additional six months for the UK,” Tusk said in a live press conference following the decision.
UK to leave ‘as soon as possible’
May, in a statement to the extension said that the UK could “leave as soon as possible.” She said she “sincerely regretted” the fact that she had not been able to persuade parliament yet to reach a deal.
“I know that there is huge frustration from many people that I had to request this extension,” May acknowledged.
May said that if she passes a Brexit deal in the first three weeks of May they would avoid taking part in EU elections. “This decision enables us to do that,”
Withdrawal agreement stands
EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he was satisfied with the deal and the given extension and its outcome. “The withdrawal agreement must be respected in its entirety,” he said, adding that to call it into question would “jeopardize the backstop agreement.”
Juncker also confirmed that the UK would participate in EU parliamentary elections in May. “That may seem odd, but rules are rules and we must respect European law,” he insisted.
As EU members discussed on Wednesday to decide Brexit’s fate, Donald Tusk had also suggested an extension of up to one year, but others such as the French President Emmanuel Macron feared it could lead to the UK interfering in EU affairs months before leaving.