British Prime Minister Theresa May is requesting that the deadline for her country to leave the European Union be extended until June 30.
In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk Friday, May said that “the United Kingdom proposes that this period should end on 30 June, 2019.”
EU leaders agreed late last month to prolong the Brexit date from March 29 until April 12, unless May could push their mutually agreed divorce deal through Parliament.
Meanwhile, Tusk has urged EU member states to offer Britain a flexible extension of up to a year to make sure the nation doesn’t crash out of the bloc in a chaotic and costly way.
Two EU officials, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose information before it was made public, said that Tusk wants a one-year “Flextention” and get it approved at next Wednesday’s EU summit.
An anti-Brexit protester is seen among EU flags. Prime Minister Theresa May is facing opposition from within her own party as she fights to get her deal through. (Henry Nicholls/Reuters)
Such a move would mean that the U.K. needs to take part in the May 23-26 European elections — something which May has long argued against but said in her letter that Britain will make contingency plans to participate in if no Brexit deal is reached in the interim.
May said she is making these preparations even though she believes it’s not in Britain’s interest or the European Union’s interest for Britain to take part in the elections because it is a departing member state.
May said she “accepts” the EU position that if Britain hasn’t left the 28-nation bloc by May 23, it will have a legal obligation to take part in the elections.
The prime minister said she is still hopeful of reaching a compromise agreement that could take Britain out of the EU before that time.