Theresa May asks EU to delay Brexit until June 30
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday sought to delay Brexit until June 30 to avoid a chaotic withdrawal from the European Union in one week, but a key leader of the bloc suggested an even longer pause in the difficult divorce proceedings.
The question over timing is vital because Britain is set to leave the EU without a withdrawal deal in place on April 12 unless an agreement is reached at a Brussels summit set to take place two days earlier.
In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, May asked for an extension until June 30 and agreed to make contingency plans to take part in European Parliament elections on May 23-26 if necessary.
Tusk proposed a longer time frame. He urged the 27 remaining EU nations to offer the U.K. a flexible extension of up to a year to make sure the nation doesn’t leave the bloc in a chaotic way that could undermine commerce.
Two EU officials said Tusk wants a one-year period, which has been dubbed a “flextension,” and hopes to get it approved at the EU summit on April 10.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorise to disclose information before it was made public.
Such a move would mean that the U.K. would need to take part in the elections to the European Parliament, something the U.K. prime minister has long argued would not be in either side’s interest.