Brussels (People's Daily) - EU leaders agreed to postpone the deadline for Brexit, provided that the UK House of Commons passes the Withdrawal Agreement next week, according to conclusions agreed at the European Council summit on late Thursday evening.
With a no-deal Brexit imminent, May had little choice but to agree to EU leaders' plan.(Photo: EPA)
The UK is scheduled to depart from the bloc on March 29, with or without a deal if no extension is agreed. After twice failing to get parliamentary backing for her EU divorce deal, UK Prime Minister Theresa May requested the EU give a three-month Brexit extension until June 30.
But the request was quickly rejected by EU leaders at the summit, who were then left shocked by May's failure to offer any answers to their demands for alternatives if her Brexit plan is defeated again.
The EU agreed to a plan to delay Brexit until May 22, provided "the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week." If MPs do not back the deal then the EU will agree to a shorter delay until April 12.
The extension is contingent on the UK making a final decision on its future path by April 12, the final date when it would have to decide whether to organize European elections, the council said.
The EU agreement also suggested that the UK could ask for a longer delay on the condition that it takes part in the European Parliament election on May 23.
"We are now at the moment of decision," May said regarding the decision of the EU leaders late on Thursday. She added that she wants to leave with a deal. "I felt it would be wrong to ask the UK to take part in the EU election three years after voting to leave," she added.
"The 12th of April is a key date in terms of the UK deciding whether to hold European Parliament elections. If it has not been decided by then, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible," European Council President Donald Tusk said at a media conference on Thursday. Tusk added that all Brexit options were still open for Britain until April 12.