Politics

What next for Brexit? Here are the key upcoming dates in the UK's EU exit

Key Points
  • The EU agreed to give an extension to the Brexit process but with some caveats.
  • If British MPs were to approve the agreement this week, then Brexit could be extended until May 22. Otherwise, the U.K. has until April 12 to leave the EU.
  • But the impasse in the House of Commons remains. 
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in Parliament, following the vote on Brexit in London, Britain, March 13, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video.
Reuters TV via REUTERS

The U.K. is no longer expected to leave the EU on Friday, as British lawmakers remain at odds over how to leave the bloc.

So when will Brexit happen? Here are the next important dates in the U.K.'s process of withdrawing from the EU.

Tuesday, March 26

Theresa May is chairing a new cabinet meeting, after another blow in the House of Commons on Monday. Parliament voted to seize control of Brexit's timetable and test support for alternative options. This is likely to trigger "indicative votes," the process that would allow lawmakers to hold votes that test out different Brexit options without following their own party's view.

Furthermore, U.K. lawmakers are no longer having a third vote on May's deal — formally called the withdrawal agreement, after the prime minister said Monday that there was not enough support for another vote.

The EU agreed to give an extension to the Brexit process but with some caveats. If British MPs were to approve the agreement this week, then Brexit could be extended until May 22. Otherwise, the U.K. has until April 12 to leave the EU.

Wednesday, March 26

Parliamentarians could start the indicative votes they voted for on Monday evening.

Friday, March 29

U.K. law is still ready for a departure this Friday. So the House of Commons needs to decide until when it's going to extend its EU membership and then update the current law.

Friday, April 12

If U.K. lawmakers fail to reach a compromise then this will be the day of a no-deal Brexit. This would mean the U.K. would stop being a member of the EU overnight, without any deal or transition period — a scenario that would bring massive uncertainty for businesses, citizens and markets.

The reason it's this date relates to the upcoming EU elections at its Parliament, due in late May. Under law this is the deadline by which the U.K. needs to inform the EU whether it wants to hold European Parliament elections itself, even though it's leaving the bloc.

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Thursday, April 18

This is the last session of the European Parliament before the elections — meaning this will be the last chance for current EU lawmakers to ratify the withdrawal agreement at their end. They are waiting for the U.K.'s approval before voting on the deal but it's expected that the chamber will approve the deal.

Wednesday, May 22

If U.K. parliamentarians have somehow approved the withdrawal agreement, this is the new date for the U.K.'s departure from the bloc. After this date, the U.K. will then be a position to start the second phase of the negotiating process, which is focused on striking a new trade deal between the 27 EU nations and the U.K.

Thursday, May 23

European citizens vote on their new representatives for the European Parliament. The voting process lasts until May 26.

Tuesday, July 2

The newly-elected European Parliament has its first plenary session.

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