Invitation letter ahead of special meeting on 10 April 2019
Invitation letter by President Donald Tusk to the members of the European Council (Art. 50) ahead of their special meeting on 10 April 2019
Last week I received a letter from Prime Minister May requesting a further extension of the Article 50 period, until 30 June 2019. In her letter the Prime Minister states that the UK government's policy remains to leave the EU in an orderly way, and that it is therefore now seeking a consensus across the House of Commons on the right way forward. She also adds that, if the UK were an EU member on 23 May 2019, it would be under a legal obligation to hold elections to the European Parliament.
Given the risks posed by a no-deal Brexit for people and businesses on both sides of the English Channel, I trust that we will continue to do our utmost to avoid this scenario. Therefore I propose that we consider Prime Minister May's request for an extension at our meeting tomorrow.
However, our experience so far, as well as the deep divisions within the House of Commons, give us little reason to believe that the ratification process can be completed by the end of June. In reality, granting such an extension would increase the risk of a rolling series of short extensions and emergency summits, creating new cliff-edge dates. This, in turn, would almost certainly overshadow the business of the EU27 in the months ahead. The continued uncertainty would also be bad for our businesses and citizens. Finally, if we failed to agree on any next extension, there would be a risk of an accidental no-deal Brexit.
This is why I believe we should also discuss an alternative, longer extension. One possibility would be a flexible extension, which would last only as long as necessary and no longer than one year, as beyond that date we will need to decide unanimously on some key European projects. The flexibility would allow to terminate the extension automatically, as soon as both sides have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK would be free to leave whenever it is ready. And the EU27 would avoid repeated Brexit summits. Importantly, a long extension would provide more certainty and predictability by removing the threat of constantly shifting cliff-edge dates. Furthermore, in the event of a continued stalemate, such a longer extension would allow the UK to rethink its Brexit strategy.
Some of you have raised concerns that the UK's continued presence as a departing EU country would pose risks for the functioning of the EU27 at a time of key decisions on its future. To address them we would need to agree on a number of conditions: no re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement; no start of the negotiations on the future, except for the Political Declaration; the UK would have to maintain its sincere cooperation also during this crucial period, in a manner that reflects its situation as a departing member state. We should remember, however, that the United Kingdom will remain a member state with full rights and obligations. And, in any event, the UK can revoke Article 50 at any time, as stated by the European Court of Justice.
Whatever course of action is taken, it must not be influenced by negative emotions. We should treat the UK with the highest respect, as we want to remain friends and close partners, and as we will still need to agree on our future relations. Neither side should be allowed to feel humiliated at any stage in this difficult process.
As you know, with Brexit there are no easy solutions. Both aforementioned options have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, let us discuss them in an open, creative, and constructive way.
We will meet at 18.00 for an exchange with European Parliament President Tajani. We will then hear Prime Minister May, before meeting for dinner at 27 in order to agree a response to the United Kingdom's request.
European Council President Spokesperson
+32 2 281 51 50
+32 476 85 05 43
Latest News from
EU Budget 2020 conciliation talks suspended18/11/2019 12:10:00
After making every effort to reach a compromise on an adequate EU budget for 2020 during long hours on Friday, Parliament and Council have suspended the talks without agreement.
Academy Learning Portal: the new design is finally here!18/11/2019 09:25:00
Have you noticed that the Academy Learning Portal has been updated? Indeed, under the scope of the strategic project e-learning Portal – Next Generation, the Academy Learning Portal (ALP) has a completely new look and feel with some brand new features.
International migrant trafficking network dismantled15/11/2019 15:10:00
This week the national authorities in Germany (Federal Police Department) and Romania (Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism and National Police) took part in a simultaneous action against an organised criminal group trafficking migrants from the Middle East.
Article – New beginnings: reassessing EU-Turkey relations15/11/2019 13:20:00
Concerns over fundamental rights and action in Syria are leading to a rethink of EU-Turkey relations. What is the status of the cooperation? What are MEPs proposing?
MEPs condemn criminalisation of sex education in Poland15/11/2019 12:10:00
In a resolution put to the vote on Thursday, MEPs express their deep concern over a Polish draft law that could put teachers who provide sex education in prison.
Closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms15/11/2019 11:10:00
MEPs on Thursday voted on measures specifying how large online platforms are to contribute to closing loopholes that hinder the collection of VAT.
Clean mobility: EC welcomes agreement on tyre labelling to save energy14/11/2019 15:10:00
A political agreement on a European tyre labelling has been reached between the European Parliament, the Council and the EC. The new rules improve and strengthen EU tyre labels enabling European consumers to make better choices and bringing energy savings equivalent to taking 4m cars off EU roads every year.
Opening ceremony of the 2019/2020 academic year at the College of Europe14/11/2019 13:20:00
Keynote speech given yesterday by President Donald Tusk
Wolfgang Schäuble: “Without European unification, there would be no German unity”14/11/2019 12:10:00
EP President David Sassoli and President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989.