Today I received a letter from Prime Minister May, in which she addresses the European council with two requests: to approve the so-called Strasbourg agreement between the UK and the European commission, and to extend the Article 50 period until 30 June 2019.
Just now I had a phone call with Prime Minister May about these proposals.
In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days, I believe that a short extension would be possible.
But it would be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons.
The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension.
At this time, I do not foresee an extraordinary European council.
If the leaders approve my recommendations and there is a positive vote in the House of Commons next week, we can finalise and formalise the decision on extension in the written procedure.
However, if there is such a need, I will not hesitate to invite the members of the European council for a meeting to Brussels next week.
Although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking until the very last moment a positive solution – of course, without opening up the withdrawal agreement.
We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events and I am confident that also now we will not lack the same patience and goodwill at this most critical point in this process.