At the EU summit on 10 April in Brussels, EU leaders agreed on an extension of Article 50 until the end of October 2019. If the withdrawal agreement is ratified by both sides earlier, the UK will leave on the first day of the following month, leaders said. Theresa May accepted the agreement.
On 10 April 2019, the European Council agreed to a further extension to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by both Parties (the United Kingdom and the European Union – ed). Such an extension should last as long as necessary and, in any event, no longer than 31 October 2019„- as can be read in the official document of the decision.
The European Council also recalled that, under Article 50(3) TEU, the Withdrawal Agreement may enter into force on an earlier date, should the Parties complete their respective ratification procedures before 31 October 2019. Consequently, the withdrawal should take place on the first day of the month following the completion of the ratification procedures or on 1 November 2019, whichever is the earliest.
Aforementioned means that the United Kingdom remains a member state of the European Union until the new withdrawal date, with full rights and obligations, and that Britain can evoke Article 50 at any time. As a member with full rights, the UK must hold the elections to the European Parliament following Union law on 23-26 May 2019. Although a decent campaign and election are hard to be made in such a short period, the EU is very strict on this matter.
In the event that those elections do not take place in the United Kingdom, the extension should cease on 31 May 2019. – as stated in the decision.
As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: „There will probably be a European election in the UK – that might seem a bit odd, but rules are rules, and we must respect European law and then we will see what happens.”
Don’t waste time
After the EU summit, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council said that the flexible extension of Article 50 meant an additional six months for the UK. During this time, the course of action would be entirely in the UK’s hands who can still ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, in which case the extension will be terminated. The United Kingdom can also reconsider its Brexit strategy. He finished his talk with a message to “his British friends”:
This extension is as flexible as I expected, and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it’s still enough to find the best possible solution. Please do not waste this time.”