Brussels figures were reluctant to speculate in any specific terms about what the EU might demand in response to an extension request | Olivier Hoslet/EPA
EU braces for Brexit extension request
EU capitals want to prevent an extended divorce process from clouding the European Parliament election.
Updated 3/14/19, 12:27 AM CET
Prolonging Brexit? In principle yes, but give us a reason.
That’s the demand from EU officials and national capitals on what U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May needs to explain if she requests an extension to Article 50 beyond the March 29 departure date.
But with political turmoil loosening May’s grip on events in Westminster and another dramatic government defeat Wednesday evening, EU officials were reluctant to speculate in any specific terms about what the EU might demand in response to an extension request.
Following the vote in the House of Commons to rule out no deal on March 29, the prime minister will bring further votes Thursday on potentially extending Article 50. Her plan is to offer MPs either a short technical extension if they approve her Brexit deal in the coming days — in order to give time to pass necessary legislation — though it was highly unclear what might lead to a different outcome in a new ratification vote.
Alternatively, MPs would be presented with the prospect of a longer extension, which could mean the U.K. having to participate in the European Parliament election in May.