The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) will be postponed until April 12 if the UK parliament votes to reject the draft withdrawal agreement with Brussels, and until May 22 if the deal is approved, the EU summit said in its final statement on Thursday night, TASS reported.
"The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week," it said.
"If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council," the statement reads.
According to the final document of the EU summit, "there can be no opening of the Withdrawal Agreement," which was earlier rejected twice by the House of Commons. Moreover, "any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement."
"The European Council calls for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, taking into account all possible outcomes," the final document reads.
European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters in Brussels the United Kingdom accepted the European Union’s scenarios.
"I met [UK] Prime Minister [Theresa] 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 that," the European Council president said.
Tusk stressed that in the second scenario, under which the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until April 12, 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," he said. "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."
However, neither Tusk nor European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker could answer the question of how long the "long delay" may last.