EU prepares strict conditions for long Brexit delay
The European Union is preparing to offer British Prime Minister Theresa May a long Brexit delay with strict conditions attached, including the need to hold European Parliament elections and a possible "gentleman’s agreement" over Britain’s future conduct as a member state, Financial Times reported.
With an emergency Brexit summit of EU leaders planned next Wednesday — two days before Britain’s scheduled departure on April 12 — the new offer is part of plans being drawn up by diplomats and officials to cope with an increasingly unpredictable UK government and parliament.
Measures under consideration in Brussels include the EU postponing Brexit to January or April 2020. In one extreme scenario, such an offer could be made even if May makes no request for an extension before next week’s summit.
A long extension is seen by supportive officials as a way to best manage the turmoil in Westminster and shield the EU from the blame of pushing the UK out. "If we are heading for no-deal, we could still offer a one-year extension. Then it is their choice and their choice alone," one senior EU official said.
Under any offer of an extension, EU leaders are expected to attach one non-negotiable condition: participation in the European Parliament elections, which are scheduled for May 23-26.