The BBC Europe Editor broke the news on Twitter on Thursday evening claiming the European Council President Donald Tusk came up with the Brexit proposal after “several hours of meetings” ahead of next week’s Summit. Dr Adler claimed the extension would prevent EU leaders from having to hold emergency summits to grant further short extensions but warned this will not necessarily reach the unanimous approval of the EU27 needed to pass.
She wrote: “High-level EU official tells me ahead of EU leaders’ summit next week Donald Tusk is proposing offering the UK a ‘flextension’.
“This would be a longer extension with flexibility for the UK to come out of it as soon as parliament passed and ratified the Brexit deal.
“This has emerged after Donald Tusk held ‘several hours’ of meetings in preparation for next week’s summit.
“This says the EU official is to avoid EU leaders having to consider new ‘short extension’ requests from the UK every couple of weeks.
“EU leaders won’t automatically sign up to this idea. They have to find a unanimous position while together in Brussels.
“At the moment ‘a wide range of opinions’ is putting it mildly but Donald Tusk thinks a flextension could be the solution to fit all.”
If Mrs May accepted the proposal, Britain would have to hold elections to the European Parliament in May, a senior EU official told the BBC.
“The only reasonable way out would be a long but flexible extension. I would call it a ‘flextension’,” the official said.
“We could give the UK a year-long extension, automatically terminated once the Withdrawal Agreement has been accepted and ratified by the House of Commons.
“And even if this were not possible, then the UK would still have enough time to rethink its Brexit strategy.
“A short extension if possible, and a long one if necessary. It seems to be a good scenario for both sides, as it gives the UK all the necessary flexibility, while avoiding the need to meet every few weeks to further discuss Brexit extensions.”
Prime Minister Theresa May is holding cross-party talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hope they find a solution to the Brexit impasse.
But echoing the mood in Brussels, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox warned that if Theresa May fails to secure a way forward with Labour, the UK will face a “long” extension to its departure from the bloc.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Cox suggested in such circumstances the Prime Minister would have little choice but to accept what the EU offered her.
Welcoming the cross-party talks, Mr Cox told BBC Radio 4’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson podcast: “I say we must use any means to secure the ends, any lawful means.
“We are assisting at the birth of something new.
“Births are not always easy and we must take the necessary steps to achieve our departure.”
Asked if that meant Mr Corbyn would be the midwife, the Attorney General replied: “So be it. What matters is this is born.”
The Attorney General warned failure to reach an agreement with Labour would have repercussions.
Mr Cox said: “The problem, then, would be that we would be in an extension. It’s likely to be a long one, by which I mean longer than just a few weeks or months.”
Arch-Remainer Alastair Campbell praised the potential proposal from President Tusk and claimed the EU is “thinking more seriously and imaginatively than the UK”.
He tweeted: “As ever seeing that the EU side, despite constant abuse and vilification from U.K. media and MPs, thinking more seriously and imaginatively than the UK.”