On 30 October 2019, the European Council published its decision (the Decision) taken in agreement with the United Kingdom to extend the Article 50 period, for the third time, by up to three months until 31 January 2020. The European Council formalised the agreement by written procedure to avoid the need for another summit.

Article 1 of the decision specifies that the UK will withdraw from the European Union on the first day of the month following the completion of the ratification of the revised withdrawal agreement.

The Decision is accompanied by a declaration which explains the context of the agreement of a third extension, namely:

  • the European Council agreed to the extension with a view to allowing for the finalisation of the ratification of the withdrawal agreement;
  • the UK will remain a member state of the EU with its full rights and obligations, including the obligation to nominate a candidate for appointment as a member of the European Commission; and
  • the Withdrawal Agreement cannot be re-opened and the extension cannot be used to start negotiations on the future relationship.

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, responded to the Decision in a letter confirming the UK’s formal agreement to the extension.