Brussels: Delaying Brexit to June 30 would bring “serious legal and political risks”, the European Commission warned on Wednesday in an internal briefing note ahead of an EU summit.
Britain has asked to postpone Brexit to that date, but the commission, the EU’s executive arm, urged leaders to choose instead between a short delay to May 23 or a longer one “at least until end 2019”.
The European Council, which groups the member states, confirmed it had received the letter from Prime Minister Theresa May asking for the delay, with leaders of the remaining 27 EU countries to decide on a possible postponement at their Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday.
May needs more time because her lawmakers have refused to approve the deal she struck with the EU to leave the bloc.
Elections to the European Parliament will be held on May 23-26, and the commission said that if Britain is granted a long delay, it must organise ballots.
“Any extension offered to the UK should either last until 23 May 2019 or should be significantly longer and require European elections.
“This is the only way of protecting the functioning of EU institutions and their ability to take decisions,” said the commission note, which was prepared on Wednesday morning before May’s letter was received. It will be for the leaders to decide on length of extension....