Members of the European Union on Monday have agreed to postpone Brexit for up to three months, stepping in with a decision less than 90 hours before Britain was due to crash out with no divorce deal.
The next deadline for departure will be January 31 next year although the other 27 capitals would allow an earlier date if London ratifies a withdrawal agreement before then.
“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020,” said Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, which represents member states.
“The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure,” he said, after ambassadors met in Brussels to approve the extension.
According to a copy of the agreement seen by AFP, if Prime Minister Boris Johnson convinces the UK parliament to approve an amicable divorce accord before next year, Brexit could be on November 30 or December 31.
But in the meantime London must nominate a senior official to serve on the next European Commission and must agree that the withdrawal agreement it struck last month will not now be renegotiated, according to the EU text.
A European source said the next step would be for London to formally accept the extension, after which Tusk will ask the EU capitals to sign off on it. “We hope for this to be concluded by Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.