European Council President Donald Tusk says the EU should consider offering the UK a “flexible” delay to Brexit of up to a year, with the option of leaving earlier if a deal is ratified.
He said there was “little reason to believe” a Brexit deal would be approved by the extension deadline that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has requested — 30 June, the BBC reported.
Writing to EU leaders, he said any delay should have conditions attached.
It is up to EU members to vote on the proposals at a summit on Wednesday.
Tusk said granting the June 30 extension that May has been seeking “would increase the risk of a rolling series of short extensions and emergency summits, creating new cliff-edge dates”.
And if the European Council did not agree on an extension at all, “there would be a risk of an accidental no-deal Brexit”, he added.
“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.”
A draft EU document circulated to diplomats ahead of the emergency summit also proposes an extension but leaves the date of the proposed new deadline blank.
The BBC said the document referred to an extension lasting “only as long as is necessary and, in any event, no longer than XX.XX.XXXX and ending earlier if the withdrawal agreement is ratified”.
The UK is currently due to leave the EU at 11 p.m. on Friday.
So far, UK MPs have rejected the withdrawal agreement May reached with other European leaders in 2018, so she is now asking for the leaving date to be extended.
She met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin for talks ahead of the summit. Merkel said a delay that ran until the end of this year or the start of 2020 was a possibility.