European Leaders Expected to Grant Brexit ‘Flextension’ on Friday: Report

SAN GILJAN, MALTA - MARCH 30: European Council President Donald Tusk (L) and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, attend the European People's Party (EPP) Congress on March 30, 2017 in San Giljan, Malta. The EPP, which includes many European Christian democratic parties, is bringing together leaders from across …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

European leaders are expected to grant parliament’s request for a Brexit extension on Friday, breaking the pledge Prime Minister Boris Johnson made to Britons to take the UK out of the EU on October 31st.

On Wednesday, president of the European Council Donald Tusk advised leaders of member states, the EU27, to agree to an extension of Article 50. Mr Tusk suggested that it be a “flextension” notionally to January 31st, 2020, but which expires at the point the British parliament agrees to the withdrawal treaty.

The EU27’s decision on whether to grant the delay is set to be revealed on Friday, reports The Guardian. Discussions continue, however, over the duration of the extension.

Europeans are mainly against the prospect of facilitating a no-deal exit, with Mr Tusk saying this week: “A no-deal Brexit will never be our decision.”

“All agreed on the need for an extension to avoid a no-deal Brexit,” an EU source told The Guardian. “The duration of an extension is still being discussed.”

“It felt like we were all going in one direction — towards a flextension to 31 January — but nothing is decided. It needs to work for everyone,” another diplomatic source said.

But not all government leaders are in favour of an Article 50 extension of the full three months, as requested under the Benn Act.

French President Emmanuel Macron has remained vocally the most in favour of retaining the original exit date, and his government supports a short deadline to keep the pressure on the British parliament to agree to the exit deal, reportedly to November 15th.

“A large number were perfectly happy with the Tusk proposal, others needed some time to reflect. Germany is among those but has been clear that it is fine with the plan,” a source said.

The Benn Act forced the prime minister to request the three-month extension, and Mr Johnson is reportedly preparing to call for a snap election if the Europeans grant it.

However, the motion would need a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons. Labour had been resistant to backing an election until after the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is eliminated.

While Mr Macron appears to be the greatest proponent of a short delay, some Brexiteers are working on convincing Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic to veto an extension entirely, as the EU27 must agree unanimously on the matter.

Earlier this week, Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski confirmed that he is lobbying to conservative government in Poland to block the extension so the UK can leave as scheduled on Halloween.

“It is our job to do anything that is legal and constitutional to ensure that we leave the European Union on the 31st of October.

“We have a hardcore Remainer parliament and Remainer MPs that are trying to block and thwart the will of the British people. So, of course, we have to take whatever actions we need to,” Mr Kawczynski said.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.