BRUSSELS – British Prime Minister Theresa May accepted early Thursday the extension of the “Brexit” until Oct. 31 as proposed by European Union leaders after a summit lasting several hours.
“EU27/UK have agreed a flexible extension until 31 October. This means additional six months for the UK to find the best possible solution,” European Council President Donald Tusk said on his Twitter account.
“This extension is as flexible as I expected and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it’s still enough to find the best possible solution. Please do not waste this time,” Tusk said at a press conference following the European summit in Brussels.
Tusk met with May after the leaders agreed on this new extension to the process to give the British premier the new exit date, as May had to accept the European proposal.
Theresa May said that she regretted the “huge frustration from many people” that the new agreed extension of the “brexit,” this time until 31 October with a review in June, may cause the British.
The British PM added that “the UK should have left the EU by now and I sincerely regret the fact that I have not yet been able to persuade parliament to approve a deal which would allow the UK to leave in a smooth and orderly way.”
The Oct. 31 date is halfway between France’s proposal, which had been the most critical country to the possibility of granting a long extension to the UK, and Germany’s position, which was clearly betting on a long delay of the “Brexit.”
Moreover, the current European Commission’s term of office ends in principle on Oct. 31 and the United Kingdom would therefore not elect a new European Commissioner.
May had asked for an extension until June 30, while Tusk was betting on a longer one, a maximum of one year, which would allow the UK to leave the EU as soon as it was ready, which would have meant that London would have to participate in the European elections.
In a message on his Twitter account, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar explained that this extension allows the EU-27 to assess the process at their ordinary summit in June and confirmed that the UK would have to leave the EU without deal on June 1 if it did not take part in the elections to the European Parliament.