EU confirms Brexit delay, warns 'may be the last one'

Demonstrators on both sides of the Brexit divide gathered outside Parliament in London.
Demonstrators on both sides of the Brexit divide gathered outside Parliament in London.PHOTO: NYTIMES

BRUSSELS (AFP) - European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed on Tuesday (Oct 29) the latest Brexit extension has been approved for up to Jan 31 - and warned "it may be the last one".

"To my British friends, The EU27 has formally adopted the extension. It may be the last one. Please make the best use of this time," he tweeted.

The confirmation followed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week reluctantly asking the EU to extend the Brexit deadline again - for a third time - from Oct 31 to Jan 31 next year, in line with a law passed by the UK parliament.

After days of deliberation, the 27 other EU member states on Monday said they agreed to that new deadline, with the option of Britain leaving the bloc earlier if it managed to ratify a withdrawal agreement struck this month with Johnson.

Johnson followed up with a letter to Tusk the same day confirming he agreed to the new delay, but urging the EU27 "to make clear that a further extension after Jan 31 is not possible".

The EU has not gone that far. But Tusk's tweet indicated the level of frustration felt by European Union member states over the repeated extensions for Brexit and the turmoil in British politics.

Tusk, whose mandate finishes at the end of next month, also used his tweet to bid farewell to the British in his current post.

"I also want to say goodbye to you as my mission here is coming to an end. I will keep my fingers crossed for you," he wrote.