In a letter to EU President Donald Tusk delivered on Friday British Prime Minister Theresa May formally requested an extension to the UK’s deadline to withdraw from the EU until June 30.
May was mandated to seek an extension to the deadline by the House of Commons on Thursday. Following the defeat of her negotiated exit deal for a third time at the end of March, Britain was scheduled to exit the EU without an agreement in place on April 12. In her letter to Tusk, May described such a “no-deal” Brexit as the least desirable result and said that “leaving with a deal is the best outcome” for both the UK and EU and that extra time would be required for the British government to form a consensus over the terms of the exit. May committed to working with opposition party leadership in Parliament to resolve the issue by the end of June, though she stated that she believes that it can be accomplished sooner. The proposed extension is complicated by the upcoming elections for members of the European Parliament, scheduled to begin in May. If the UK has not withdrawn from the EU by May 23, the country is legally obligated to hold an election for representatives to the international congress, even if their terms would not begin until after the proposed June 30 deadline. May stated that Britain has already begun planning for holding elections.
Though the EU will not formally respond to May’s proposal until after a council meeting scheduled for next Wednesday, the BBC reported that President Tusk was hesitant to approve a short-term extension like May desires, instead floating the idea of a “flexible” 12-month extension to the Brexit deadline.
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