If the Brexit deadline is extended past the current 31 October date, the European Union (EU) will ask Britain to name a candidate commissioner, the head of the EU executive said.
There are “very good” chances that the EU will grant London an extension to the current Halloween deadline, European Commission President-elect Ursula Von der Leyen said at a press conference on Thursday.
“If, after 1 November —and this is not a given—there is an extension and the United Kingdom is still part of the European Union, I will, of course, ask the United Kingdom to send a Commissioner,” Von der Leyen said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to send a letter to EU leaders asking for a three-month extension of Brexit after the UK Parliament refused to vote on a revised Brexit deal days after it was agreed with EU leaders.
The EU is currently studying the request to extend Brexit by three months to 31 January 2020. While the EU27 have agreed to an extension, they are still undecided on how long it will be, according to the Belga news agency.
EU leaders are reportedly mulling a possible “flextension” arrangement, which would allow for early withdrawal from the bloc if the necessary legislation was passed before the pushed-back deadline.
Johnson, who has previously refused to nominate a candidate for the Commission, insists that he still aims for the UK to leave by 31 October, despite the extension request.
EU law states that all member states must be represented in the Commission, which was forced to push back its own date for taking office by one month, to 1 December, after the French, Romanian and Hungarian candidates were rejected by the European Parliament.
The prime minister of Finland, which currently holds the Council of the EU’s rotating presidency, said that he expected EU leaders to come to an agreement on the extension request without an extraordinary summit having to be called in Brussels.
A decision on the extension request is expected on Friday, according to the BBC.