BRUSSELS: EU leaders agreed Thursday to offer British Prime Minister Theresa May two options to delay Brexit to avoid a damaging “no deal” on March 29, two European sources said.
If the British parliament agrees May’s divorce deal in the next few days, the delay would be until May 22 to give MPs time to ratify the text, a source in the French presidency told AFP.
If not, the EU would still offer a shorter postponement to April 12 — the final day before which Britain must say whether it wants to take part in European elections in May.
“That is the real deadline to say whether they want to stay in the EU — they would have to say why they would like a longer extension,” the source said.
If they do not want to have these elections, “that would mean they have chosen to leave with no deal”.
A source in the Spanish government added that the goal was to give Britain the maximum chance of getting May’s deal approved.
EU Council president and summit host Donald Tusk said the decision had been unanimous and that he was now presenting it to May.
This plan, if accepted by London, would mean there was no need for an emergency EU summit next week.