The European Union is preparing to delay Brexit until at least July as it has concluded that the deal reached with Theresa May is about to be rejected by the British parliament, The Guardian reports.
Brussels now sees the March 29 deadline as highly unlikely and is expecting the UK to request an extension to article 50 in the upcoming weeks.
EU officials said the length of the delay would be determined by the reasons presented by May. A special summit to push back the deadline is expected to be called by European Council president Donald Tusk.
EU sources told the Guardian that a lengthier extension could be offered later in case of a general election or second referendum in the UK. However, it is unclear whether the UK would participate in the European Parliament elections scheduled for May.
One EU diplomat said: “The first session of the parliament is in July. You would need UK MEPs there if the country is still a member state. But things are not black and white in the European Union.”
May has to give parliament a statement on her next move within three parliamentary working days of the vote, which many expect her to lose. EU officials believe that whatever follows will probably require an extension of the March 29 deadline.