EU Leaders Agrees to Delay Brexit Until Oct. 31
EU leaders agreed to postpone Brexit until Oct. 31 at a meeting in Brussels, Belgia on Wednesday. Photo by the European Union.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – European Union (EU) leaders agreed to postponed Brexit until Oct. 31 to allow British Prime Minister Theresa May have more time get the House of Parliament approval on the country’ divorce deal.

At an emergency meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday (04/10), leaders of the 27 countries remaining in the EU agreed to offer May a six-month extension that was accepted by the primier.

“EU27 and United Kingdom (UK) have agreed on a flexible extension until Oct. 31,” European Council President Donald Tusk’ wrote in his official twitter.

May has been holding talks with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hope that a compromise or alternative plan can be found, but this has so far proved elusive.

After two years of Brexit negotiations, the UK was meant to leave the EU on March 29. With Parliament not backing the deal on offer, the government asked for a short delay to April 12 in order to get backing for an alternative strategy.

As that has failed to materialize, May was forced last week to ask for a longer delay to June 30 in order to prevent the UK leaving the bloc without a deal. But most EU leaders favored a longer term, until Oct. 31.

Tusks stated: “This extension is as flexible as I expected and a little bit shorter than I expect but it is still enough to find the best possible solution.” And he ended with a message to the UK: “Please do not waste this time.”

The EU had already warned that a longer delay would mean that it has to take part in European Parliament elections in late May. The UK would have to take part in those elections and vote on representatives to the European Parliament. Those members would stop working for the EU on the day the UK leaves the bloc.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he took responsibility for blocking a long delay and convincing other leaders to agree to a shorter one in order to preserve the functioning of the EU.

“Its true that the majority was more in favor of a very long extension. But it was not logical in my view, and above all, it was neither good for us, nor for the UK,” said Macron.

He said Britain still had all the options on Brexit available during the extension, from approving the stalled divorce deal, to changing its leave strategy to canceling the departure altogether.

Following the agreement in Brussels, May acknowledged there was “huge frustration” that she had to request a second delay to Brexit, urging parliament to finally support her Brexit deal.

“I know that there is huge frustration from many people that I had to request this extension. The UK should have left the EU by now and I sincerely regret the fact that I have not yet been able to persuade parliament to approve the deal,” she noted.

May also once again blamed Parliaments for being the cause of public frustration over the failure to implement Brexit. She said: “Over the last three months I have voted three times to leave the EU. If sufficient members of parliament had voted with me in January we would already be out of the bloc.”

The prime minister will now head back to London to give a statement in the House of Commons in the early afternoon on Thursday and it has scrapped plans to force parliament to sit on Friday and next week now the threat of a no deal Brexit has gone in the immediate term. The government will also have to lay a statutory instrument changing the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to October 31.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com