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Apr 11, 2019 | 19:11 GMT

5 mins read

U.K.: The EU Delays a Brexit Scare Until Halloween

The Big PIcture

A no-deal Brexit — and the economic fallout that would ensue in Europe — has, once again, been temporarily averted. A new six-month extension gives the European Union and the United Kingdom more time to address the many outstanding questions about their future relationship. It does, however, prolong the political crisis in London, which is something neither parliament nor the British population will be thrilled about. 

What Happened

In the early hours of April 11, EU leaders decided to delay Brexit until October 31. The European Union will allow the United Kingdom to leave earlier if it approves a withdrawal agreement before that date. EU leaders also asked London to "act in a responsible manner" and not to disrupt the policy-making process in the bloc during the extra months it will be a member state. 

What It Means

The most immediate consequence of the European Union's decision is that there will no longer be a no-deal exit on April 12, which is when the United Kingdom had been scheduled to leave the European Union. It also means that the United Kingdom will have to participate in the elections for the European Parliament on May 22 if no withdrawal agreement is approved by the House of Commons before then. 

The new October deadline is a strategic compromise between the EU governments that wanted a longer delay (led by Germany) and those pushing for a very short delay (led by France). It gives the United Kingdom time to approve an exit deal, but not enough to allow them to participate in the appointment of the new European Commission, which will be shortly inaugurated around November, that is, if Brussels doesn't grant London another extension.

The only thing certain about the new Brexit deadline that it will prolong uncertainty about the United Kingdom's relationship with Europe.