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EU27 leaders agreed to extend Article 50 until 31 October 2019. Their decision was taken in agreement with the UK.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker participated yesterday in the special meeting of the European Council (Art.50) where EU27 leaders agreed to extend Article 50 until 31 October 2019. Their decision was taken in agreement with the UK.

EU27 leaders took note of the letter sent by UK Prime Minister Theresa May asking for a further extension to the Article 50 period. They agreed to an extension to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Αt the press conference President Juncker said: " […] Nous avons rappelé à nos amis britanniques le principe qu’une coopération loyale il devait y avoir entre tous les Etats membres et nous sommes convaincus que le Royaume-Uni respectera ses obligations.

En juin, lorsque nous nous reverrons, nous ne renégocierions pas entre nous, ni avec le Royaume-Uni l’accord intervenu il y a des mois parce que l’accord de retrait, le ‘withdrawal agreement’ doit être respecté en entièreté. […] Il y aura donc probablement des élections européennes au Royaume-Uni, ce qui peut paraître curieux, mais les règles étant les règles, nous devons respecter la loi européenne. Dura lex, sed lex. Et nous verrons en octobre où nous en serons. "

According to the European Council (Article 50) conclusions ,“Such an extension should last only as long as necessary and, in any event, no longer than 31 October. If the withdrawal agreement is ratified by both parties before this date, the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the following month.”

EU27 leaders stressed that the UK will have to hold European Parliament elections if it is still a member of the EU between 23 and 26 May 2019. If the UK fails to hold the elections, it will leave the EU on 1 June 2019.

The European Council (Article 50) reiterated that there could be no reopening of the agreement. Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the withdrawal agreement. Leaders also noted that the extension could not be used to start negotiations on the future relationship. “However, if the position of the United Kingdom were to evolve, the European Council is prepared to reconsider the Political Declaration on the future relationship,” they said.

Finally, the Heads of State or Government took note of the UK’s commitment to act in a constructive and responsible manner during this time.

The European Council (Article 50) conclusions also stated that “The United Kingdom shall facilitate the achievement of the Union's tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union's objectives, in particular when participating in the decision-making processes of the Union.”

The European Council will review progress at its meeting in June 2019.

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