A meeting of the European Council in its EU27 (Art. 50) format was held on 21 March 2019, to address the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.
Due to the United Kingdom's inability to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement within the original timeline provided by Article 50 - by which the UK would leave the EU on 29 March 2019 - the country's Prime Minister formally requested an extension to delay Brexit on 20 March. The letter sent to the President of the European Council requested a delay until 30 June 2019.
Following a discussion, the EU27 leaders agreed to an extension until 22 May 2019 provided that the Withdrawal Agreement is endorsed by the UK Parliament within a week. If it did not, EU leaders agreed to delay Brexit until 12 April 2019, expecting the United Kingdom to 'indicate a way forward before this date'. This was seen by analysts as a solution to avoid a 'cliff edge scenario' in which the UK would withdraw from the EU in a disordely manner, while at the same time protecting the European Parliament elections, set to be held in May 2019.
EU27 leaders highlighted that any unilateral commitment, statement or other act from the UK side should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the withdrawal agreement. They called for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency at all levels for the consequences of the UK's withdrawal, taking into account all possible outcomes. The Council also endorsed the 'Instrument relating to the withdrawal agreement' and the 'joint statement supplementing the political declaration' agreed between the European Commission and the government of the United Kingdom in Strasbourg on 11 March 2019.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|
|Subject Tags||Brexit, European Council|
|Keywords||Brexit [After the Referendum], European Council Summits
|Countries / Regions||United Kingdom|
|International Organisations||European Union [EU]|