Brussels, Belgium, 11 April 2019 – The Council of the European Union and Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, agreed to extend the deadline of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union to 31 October of this year.
“It is in the interests of all of us that the United Kingdom departs with a withdrawal agreement. We support the efforts of the United Kingdom to resolve the situation and give them time to reach domestic decisions,” Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said. “In any case, the United Kingdom is a close partner for us, with whom we seek to maintain a close relationship,” said the prime minister.
The Council reiterated that with the extension of the withdrawal deadline, the withdrawal agreement will not be opened for negotiations and any future agreements will be discussed after the agreement has been approved. The European Union also looks forward to loyal cooperation from the British during the extension period, i.e. the United Kingdom must not hinder the ongoing negotiations concerning the future of the European Union.
Prime Minister Ratas stressed that the extension must not hinder the functioning of the European Union or the European Parliament elections. “It is in our interest that the negative impact created by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union would be as minimal as possible. We must ensure the proper functioning of the EU and focus on the future,” Prime Minister Ratas said.
The Council notes that if the United Kingdom has not ratified the withdrawal agreement by 22 May and is still a member of the European Union on 23–26 May, the state has the duty to hold European Parliament elections. If the UK fails to fulfil this obligation, the date of withdrawal from the EU will automatically be 1 June.
If the United Kingdom and the European Union ratify the withdrawal agreement before the agreed deadline, the UK will leave the EU on the first day of the following month. As long as the ratification of the withdrawal agreement has not been completed, EU will still have to be prepared for UK to leave the EU without a deal.
The Council will discuss the situation again in June.
Government Communication Unit