European leaders will demand the UK abide by principles of “sincere co-operation” and not disrupt the functioning of EU institutions in return for a long extension of its Brexit negotiations, according to draft council conclusions seen by the Financial Times.
The two page conclusions do not fix an end date for any extension — which will have to be finalised by EU27 leaders at a summit in Brussels tomorrow.
The draft language says: “In response, the European Council agrees to an extension to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. Such an extension should last only as long as necessary and, in any event, no longer than [XX. XX. XXXX].”
“If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified by both parties before this date, the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the following month.”
Leaders will say the extension would not be “allowed to undermine the regular functioning of the Union institutions” and demand the UK hold EU elections next month.
Despite French calls for strict conditions that would stop the UK getting involved in key EU decisions, the draft conclusions only state that Britain act in a way that “reflects its situation as a withdrawing Member State.
“The European Council takes note of the commitment by the United Kingdom to act in a constructive and responsible manner throughout this unique period in accordance with the duty of sincere co-operation and expects the United Kingdom to fulfil this Treaty obligation in a manner that reflects its situation as a withdrawing Member State.
“To this effect, the United Kingdom shall facilitate the achievement of the Union tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives”.
In a letter to EU27 leaders sent on Tuesday, European Council president Donald Tusk said a longer, “flexible extension” meant “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”, said Mr Tusk.
The council conclusions and Mr Tusk’s letter also repeat that “in any event, the UK can revoke Article 50 at any time, as stated by the European Court of Justice”.
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