No-Deal Brexit Averted As EU Agrees To Move Brexit Deadline

Brexit Extension
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives to hold a news conference after an extraordinary European Union leaders summit (Photo: Reuters)

The European Union has now agreed to extend the UK's Brexit deadline until October 31, 2019. This will essentially extend the country's departure from the Union by around six months from its original departure date of April 12 this year.

The news comes as a relief for some as it will avert a possibly economically disastrous no-deal Brexit for the UK. However, the EU has laid out a number of conditions that must be met for the new deadline to still be in effect.

One of the conditions set by EU leaders is that the UK has to participate in the European parliamentary elections in May.

If it refuses, the UK will be forced to leave the EU in June without a deal. The EU has also set a scheduled summit in June to determine the UK's status and to see if it will still continue with the extension.

British Prime Minister Theresa May initially asked for a shorter extension, pushing the deadline to the end of June. The EU had agreed as part of the deal that it will be allowing the UK to exit the EU if Parliament will be able to pass an acceptable Brexit deal in the coming weeks. According to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, the extension is as flexible as it can get.

However, Tusk warned that they have already given the UK ample time to find the best possible solution and that they shouldn't waste the time that was given to them.

The extended Brexit deadline is a compromise solution amongst the EU leaders, given that it is still divided regarding the decision to give the UK more time. French President Emmanuel Macron is particularly vocal about his stance in not giving the UK an extension. Macron previously pushed to give the UK a shorter deadline, which has been met with objections from his peers.

The recently announced October extension is considered to be a win for the British prime minister given that it would save her from humiliation over a much longer extension. The flexibility also gives the UK the option to get out of the EU in their intended time frame. May had stressed to the media that she still fully intends to leave the EU as soon as possible.

As of the moment, there is reportedly only one exit deal on the table, but May is meeting with various parties to find a compromise that will get the deal through Parliament. However, most are skeptical that the two sides will be able to achieve a bipartisan consensus even with the extension. 

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