Theresa May wrote to the European Union to ask for Article 50 extension to 30th June
Theresa May wants the leave date to be postponed until 30th June. She stated in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk that, “she needs more time to get her withdrawal deal passed and ratified by Parliament” (Letter in full). The EU says it may not grant an extension beyond 23 May and any delay must be agreed by all 27 member states (BBC).
Mr Tusk suggested there were some “political and legal issues” about granting an extension beyond 23 May relating to the UK’s participation in European elections – which Mrs May has said would be “unacceptable” (BBC).
France warned that the extension may be refused unless Theresa May offers guarantees on her Brexit strategy
Earlier today, French foreign affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that if Theresa May was not able to give the European Council sufficient guarantees about the credibility of her strategy, this would lead to the extension request being dismissed and subsequently, a no-deal Brexit (FT).
EU backs Brexit delay but only with deal
Mr Tusk said that a short extension would be possible if the UK Parliament approves the current withdrawal agreement next week. Mr Tusk said he believed all 27 members, who must sign off on the extension, would agree but it depended on a “positive” vote in the House of Commons.
He told reporters in Brussels that the length of any extension was open for discussion. Mr Tusk stated that while a delay until 30 June “had its merits”, he also suggested there were “political and legal” questions about delaying Brexit beyond 23 May (BBC).
President Tusk has said that for now he doesn’t foresee any additional summit next week — in contrast to a comment by Juncker this morning that EU leaders might need to meet again. He suggested that the Brexit extension could be finalized by written procedure (MLex).