EU leaders agree to Brexit delay until October

The European Union has agreed to delay Brexit until Oct. 31 following an emergency summit in Brussels between British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU leaders. 

EU leaders late Wednesday agreed to another extension of Article 50, delaying the U.K.'s departure from the block until Oct. 31, with an additional review on June 30 to determine if the U.K. can leave earlier.

May will now have to approve the offer on behalf of the U.K. government.


May sought an extension until June, but some European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pushed for a longer delay. It was reported that French President Emmanuel Macron took a hard-line stance on a shorter extension during Wednesday’s meeting, leading to the June 30 review date. 

The review will come almost exactly three years after the U.K. first voted via referendum to leave the EU. 

Wednesday’s deal means the U.K. will avoid leaving the EU without a deal this Friday, as was expected.

It also means that the U.K. will participate in European elections at the end of May, which the prime minister had hoped to avoid. 

The extension marks the second time that May has been granted a delay. The U.K. was originally supposed to leave the EU on March 29, but British lawmakers were unable to reach a so-called divorce deal.

Parliament has repeatedly rejected May’s proposals for a Brexit deal but has also failed to find majority support for an alternative. In recent weeks, May has moved to a cross-party approach and started holding talks with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

The negotiations, which have increasingly frustrated political leaders and voters in the U.K. and EU, also come amid intensifying calls for a second referendum on Brexit in the form of a “people’s vote.”

A recent petition to cancel Article 50 and put Brexit back in the hands of voters crashed Parliament’s website because of its high rate of signatures.

Updated 7:25 p.m.