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On 10 April, the leaders of the 27 EU countries (EU27) agreed to delay Brexit until 31 October 2019. Their decision was taken in agreement with the UK. They agreed to an extension to allow for the ratification of the withdrawal agreement.
This means that the European Council decided to grant the UK a flexible extension of the Article 50 period- the negotiation period - for an additional 6 months at least.
Dates and timelines
The UK has until October 2019 to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, in which case the extension will be terminated. The UK also has the choice to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit altogether.
EU27 leaders stressed that the UK will have to hold European Parliament elections if it is still a member of the EU between 23 and 26 May 2019. If the UK fails to hold the elections, it will leave the EU on 1 June 2019.
What can and cannot happen
The European Council has reiterated that there can be no renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement, and that this new extension period cannot be used to start negotiations on future relationship between the UK and EU - known as the Political Declaration.
However, the Council stated that if the UK's position evolves, "the European Council is prepared to reconsider the Political Declaration on the future relationship".
Europena leaders took note of the UK’s commitment to act in a constructive and responsible manner during this time.
“The United Kingdom shall facilitate the achievement of the Union's tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union's objectives, in particular when participating in the decision-making processes of the Union.”
European Council (Article 50) conclusions
During the extension period, the UK will remain a Member State of the European Union with full rights and obligations in accordance with Article 50 TEO and the UK has a right to revoke its notification at any time.