EU to decide tonight whether to agree on new Brexit delay

EU will decide tonight whether agree on new Brexit delay

Theresa May

EU leaders will meet tonight in Brussels for an extraordinary European Council sitting to see what British PM Theresa May will propose them and then to decide whether to agree on new Brexit delay. As the European Council President Donald Tusk wrote in his invitation letter to the EUCO members, PM May has sent him a request the exit date to be postponed for 30 June.

The European Council chief however expressed doubts about the new date, saying “our experience so far, as well as the deep divisions within the House of Commons, give us little reason to believe that the ratification process can be completed by the end of June”. 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, he warned.

Tusk also reiterated that given the risks posed by a no-deal Brexit for people and businesses on both sides of the English Channel this scenario should be avoided.

In her letter, PM May stated that the UK government's policy remains to leave the EU in an orderly way, and that it is therefore now seeking a consensus across the House of Commons on the right way forward. PM May wrote Tusk that if the UK were an EU member on 23 May 2019, it would be under a legal obligation to hold elections to the European Parliament.

This morning the Commission has taken stock of the European Union's intense ‘no-deal' preparations and has issued practical guidance to Member States in 5 areas. These areas include citizens' residence and social security entitlements, data protection, medicine and medical devices, police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and fisheries.

The aim of the guidance is to ensure the smooth practical implementation of EU and national contingency measures, if the United Kingdom were to leave the EU without a deal on 12 April, or at a later date, ­and to maintain a coordinated approach throughout any such ‘no-deal' phase. A ‘no-deal' withdrawal will cause disruption and is not desirable, but the EU is fully prepared for it, the EU executive underlines.

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