E.U. Approves Brexit Extension, however Chaotic Departure Still Looms

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders on Thursday agreed to extend the deadline for Britain’s looming exit through the bloc in order to give Prime Minister Theresa May along with the British Parliament more time to get their act together.

Thursday’s agreement effectively averted the possibility of a disorderly along with possibly chaotic departure by Britain on March 29. Yet that will still remains a possibility just a few weeks later.

After hours of difficult along with sometimes passionate talks, the leaders decided that will Britain’s exit date will be pushed back to May 22 if next week Mrs. May can persuade lawmakers in Parliament to accept her plan for leaving the bloc, which they have already rejected overwhelmingly, not once however twice.

If she cannot persuade lawmakers to accept her plan, Mrs. May will get a shorter delay in exiting the European Union — until April 12. however Britain could stay inside the bloc longer if the item decides the item needs more time for a more fundamental rethink of Brexit, as the process is usually known.

For a longer extension, though, the item could have to take part in elections to the European Parliament in May — something Mrs. May said early Friday could be an absurdity, three years after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the bloc.

Speaking at a news conference after the extended deadlines were announced, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said that will until April 12, “all options will remain open along with the cliff-edge date will be delayed.”

however he added that will if there was no agreement in Parliament, along with Britain had not indicated by April 12 that will the item was willing to take part inside the European elections, “the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible.”

The European leaders wanted to make sure that will next week does not result in a crashing out of Britain, which neither side wants, along with they wanted to settle the extension issue at that will point, without having to come back again for another urgent meeting so close to March 29. The leaders also made the item clear that will the item is usually for Britain to make serious choices, along with soon, along with that will failure should not be laid at the door of Brussels.

Thursday’s decision on extending the deadline was made by the leaders of 27 nations of the European Union, without Mrs. May. however she was consulted throughout, Mr. Tusk said, along with agreed to the decision.

On Wednesday, she had made a formal request for an extension until June 30, however when asked by various other leaders on Thursday how she intended to proceed if she failed to get her deal through Parliament next week, she had no answer, European diplomats said.

Asked at the news conference about the atmosphere during discussions with Mrs. May, Mr. Tusk, who has often spoken of his wish that will Britain remain inside the European Union, diplomatically replied that will the item was “much better than I expected” along with said he was pleased that will the long discussions had found “a way to ease the process for both sides.’’

Frustration with Britain’s political dysfunction has been palpable in Brussels, which has seen its agenda hijacked by the constant twists along with turns of a divided British government that will seems incapable of deciding what the item wants.

The various other European leaders believe that will Mrs. May has lost much of her authority, along with they have largely lost faith in her ability to deliver on Brexit. The option of a longer extension is usually meant to give Parliament time to take control of the process, if the item can, or even for the British to have a general election to break the current political impasse.

Mrs. May’s plan could eventually give Britain power over immigration through Europe, however tie the country to the European Union’s customs along with trade system until at least the end of 2020.

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs. May insisted that will Britain could leave the European Union, however gave no clarity on what could happen if her deal is usually rejected next week.

“At that will point we could either leave with no deal, or put forward an alternative plan,” she said, adding that will that will could mean participating in European elections, something she described as “wrong.”

however the item is usually possible that will Parliament could vote to keep closer ties to the bloc — a so-called soft Brexit — along with Mrs. May did not completely exclude that will option, by saying she could work with lawmakers if they reject her deal.

Mrs. May refused to exclude the possibility of leaving the bloc without a deal.

however the growing sense of alarm over a “no deal” Brexit is usually real. along with even if the deadline has been pushed back through March 29, the item has not been pushed back very far.

”Our country is usually facing a national emergency,” the main British business along with trade union groupings, the Confederation of British Industry along with the Trades Union Congress, said in a rare joint statement.

“Decisions of recent days have caused the risk of no deal to soar,” the statement said. “Firms along with communities across the U.K. are not ready due to that will outcome. The shock to our economy could be felt by generations to come.”

In Brussels on Thursday, European officials also were host to talks with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, which wants closer ties to the European Union than do Mrs. May’s Conservatives along with could play a critical role inside the way things unfold in London.

If Mrs. May, against the odds, does succeed in Parliament next week, then matters move relatively smoothly, using a modest delay to Brexit to allow for enacting legislation to put her plan in place. however the prime minister’s angry denunciation of lawmakers in a national address Wednesday evening is usually unlikely to make the item any easier to win over opposition legislators.

The Europeans do not want to be seen as responsible for the disaster of a no-deal exit. Not only could that will hurt their economies, however the item could leave a bitter legacy using a big along with important neighbor while complicating the bloc’s finances.

Britain has the power to withdraw its decision to leave the bloc — as opposed to requesting an extension of negotiations — along with could do that will unilaterally. Yet the item is usually almost impossible to imagine Mrs. May doing that will, since she has vowed to deliver Brexit one way or another.

There will be continued pressure on Mrs. May, whose position is usually considered weak. She could face a leadership crisis, particularly if she tries to pursue a no-deal Brexit. however the item could be hard to force her out, even if more pro-European cabinet ministers threaten to quit.

along with resigning could be out of character for a leader who by nature along with character has been willing to endure scorn, humiliation along with divisions as she pursues what she considers to be Britain’s best product of Brexit.

Dalia Grybauskaite, the outspoken president of Lithuania, favors patience with Britain. “We will be supportive to the prime minister, in any way we can,” she said.

“We need to be prepared for everything, however of course we will do everything to find a solution,” Ms. Grybauskaite said.