EU approves extension along with two-part plan to avoid no-deal Brexit

Brussels: In a bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario, the European Union on Thursday (local time) came up with a two-part plan while approving the United Kingdom’s request for a Brexit extension.

“EU27 unanimously agrees on its response to UK’s requests,” Donald Tusk, the President of the European council tweeted after a meeting here.

According to the plan, the EU agreed to an extension to Article 50 till May 22, provided the British Parliament supports the Withdrawal Deal next week when UK Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a meaningful vote.

If the deal is not approved next week by the Parliament, the UK will be given an extension only till April 12, according to Tusk.

While outlining the details of the deal, Tusk said EU leaders responded to the request in a “positive spirit.”
Despite efforts to avoid a no-deal scenario, Tusk highlighted that the EU would be continuing no-deal preparations.

“All of us are aware objectively how difficult the situation is … I am very satisfied, especially because we still have open so many options. Frankly speaking I was very sad before our meeting and now I’m much more optimistic,” Tusk stated following the EU meeting.

In 2016, over 50 per cent of the UK electorate voted to leave the EU, following which the British government triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, beginning the country’s process of its exit from the European bloc.

The United Kingdom is currently posed to exit from the bloc on March 29 with no support for a deal in sight, even as the British Parliament has rejected the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal. Subsequently, the British Parliament also voted for an extension to Brexit.

Honouring this, May wrote to the European Council President on March 20, asking for a three-month extension to Brexit till June 30.

“I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30,” May said at a public address held on Wednesday.