Donald Tusk statement following the EU Council meeting (Art. 50) on 21 March 2019.
As you know, we devoted today’s European Council meeting to Brexit. Prime Minister May repeated her requests, to extend the Article 50 period until the 30th of June, and to approve the so-called Strasbourg agreement.
During the discussion among the EU27, the leaders approached these requests in a positive spirit. The European Council decided to approve the Strasbourg agreement. As regards the extension, our decisions envisage two scenarios:
In the first scenario, that is, if the Withdrawal Agreement is passed by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 22nd of May.
In the second scenario, that is, if the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 12th of April, while expecting the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward. What this means in practice is that, until that date, all options will remain open, and the cliff-edge date will be delayed.
The UK Government will still have a choice of a deal, no-deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50. The 12th of April is a key date in terms of the UK deciding whether to hold European Parliament elections. If it has not decided to do so by then, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible.
As you know, in accordance with the Treaties, any extension must be decided unanimously by the EU27, in agreement with the Member State concerned. This is why I met Prime Minister May several times tonight – to make sure that the UK accepts the extension scenarios – and I am pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement on this.