European Union has suggested Britain’s exit from the bloc should be postponed until March 31, 2020 if the UK government asks Brussels for a lengthy extension of Article 50 within three weeks, the Guardian said in a special report.
The proposal was to have been presented at the European leaders’ summit last week if the British prime minister had kept her promise to ask for a short extension if she passed the UK exit package or asked for a longer delay if the public refused a third time to pass its deal.
Teresa May sought only a brief postponement until June 30 in her official address. It was then granted an unconditional extension until April 12, or a longer period extending to May 22 if the withdrawal agreement is not ratified this week.
Without a long-term request from Downing Street, European Union leaders left the door open for Britain to request a longer postponement, especially in the case of a new political process or event before April 12, such as the general election or the second referendum, but did not specify the duration of the postponement.
The sources said that a proposal was put forward that Britain’s exit until March 31, 2020, would be put off in EU internal papers before the summit as an offer that could be presented to Teresa May if it formally seeks a longer extension.
The paper said the option would likely remain in place if May returned to Brussels after failing to ratify her deal for the third time.
The UK departure date will ensure that the British government will not have any chance of interfering with the EU’s long-term plans, including its budget as suggested by the sources.
The sources confirmed that no decision had yet been made, and that the proposal would be the subject of sharp debate among the leaders at a summit, likely to be held on April 10 in Brussels, if May again to request more time.