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Donald Tusk floats 1-year Brexit ‘flextension’

European Council President Donald Tusk | Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Tusk floats 1-year Brexit ‘flextension’

European Council president raises the idea of long, flexible delay.

By

4/5/19, 9:09 AM CET

Updated 4/5/19, 11:01 AM CET

Britain can have another year to think on Brexit — provided it joins the European Parliament election next month, a senior EU official said.

European Council President Donald Tusk raised the idea after hours of meetings and consultations Thursday to plan for next week’s summit of EU leaders.

“The only reasonable way out would be a long but flexible extension,” the senior official quoted Tusk as saying. “I would call it a ‘flextension.’ How would it work in practice? We could give the U.K. a year-long extension, automatically terminated once the Withdrawal Agreement has been accepted and ratified by the House of Commons.

“And even if this were not possible,” the official continued, quoting Tusk, “then the U.K. would still have enough time to rethink its Brexit strategy. Short extension if possible and a long one if necessary. It seems to be a good scenario for both sides, as it gives the U.K. all the necessary flexibility, while avoiding the need to meet every few weeks to further discuss Brexit extensions.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has reiterated in recent days that the deadline for the U.K.’s departure, as set by EU27 leaders, is April 12 unless the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified. If the U.K. ratifies the deal before next Wednesday’s summit, EU officials have said an extension would be granted at least until May 22.

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