EU agrees to three-month Brexit ‘flextension’

The EU has agreed a three-month Brexit 'flextension' until January 31st 2020, which gives the UK the option of leaving before then if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified.

EU agrees to three-month Brexit 'flextension'
European Council president Donald Tusk with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

The President of the European Council Donald Tusk announced the agreement on Twitter on Monday morning.

He called the extension a “flextension” – a flexible extension – meaning that if MPs in London approve the Brexit deal, then the UK could leave the EU sooner than January 31st.

If the UK parliament does ratify Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement then it is believed the UK would leave the EU on the first day of the following month, so December 1st or January 1st.

The announcement of the extension had been expected on Friday but was delayed after the French objected to a longer extension unless there was a guarantee of a general election.

But on Monday morning, in a sign the French had agreed to drop their demand for a shorter extension, a diplomatic source hinted that a three-month delay was “very probable”.

The indication by a French source said that a potential three-month extension is hugely significant given that Paris was always seen as the major EU player most wary of another delay.

French president Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly expressed impatience over the repeated postponements of Brexit, saying they are getting in the way of his vision of reforming the European Union. 

“The conditions of the extension have been specified and reinforced, notably on the fact that the deal (reached between Britain and the EU) is not renegotiable,” added the French source.

“France insisted on the necessary conditions to preserve the unity of the 27 (remaining members of the EU).”

British lawmakers are due to vote Monday afternoon on Johnson's call for an early election to be held on December 12th.

The French source said that the chance of elections in Britain – which could result in a reconfigured parliament and help Johnson push through the deal – had “clearly strengthened over the weekend.”

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, who oppose Brexit, said over the weekend they could back the snap elections under certain conditions.

Member comments

  1. So, they don’t really want the people to have their vote. They voted to leave and that should be honored. If not, the people don’t have a vote. No one is “owed” a deal. Leave now.

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QUIZ: Would you pass the Austrian citizenship politics and history test?

In most cases, people applying for Austrian citizenship through the naturalisation process must pass a general social, political and history test. Would you pass?

QUIZ: Would you pass the Austrian citizenship politics and history test?

Austria is seeing a rising number of naturalisation processes, and many non-Austrians in the country are looking to apply for Austrian citizenship, as The Local reported.

There are many requirements for naturalisation, including living in Austria for a certain period of time (depending on other criteria), proving your German knowledge and passing a general “Citizenship Test”, including questions on a fundamental understanding of how Austria works and its history.

READ ALSO: MA35: Vienna’s immigration office under fire as waiting times increase

What is the citizenship test?

The Austrian citizenship test is an exam designed to demonstrate an applicant’s knowledge of Austria. It was introduced in 2006.

It covers the democratic system, the national history and regional facts about where an applicant lives.

A central committee prepares the questions on Austria’s democratic system and history, and the respective provincial governments design the regional questions.

If a person fails the test, they can retake it until they pass.

Who needs to take the test?

Not everyone applying for citizenship needs to take the test, though. For example, children who are younger than 14 years of age – or those who are underage and attending a secondary school with completion of German in the last school semester, won’t need to take the citizenship test.

Pupils who achieve certain grades in history at school are also exempt.

READ ALSO: How do people prepare for Austria’s citizenship test?

What is the test like?

The test, which is in German, lasts for 120 minutes and you have to answer 18 questions in total. These include six questions on democracy in Austria, six on the history of Austria and six on the history of the respective federal province where you are taking the exam.

Four answer options are offered for each question, at least one of which is correct, but not all.

The citizenship examination is considered passed if, in each examination area, at least half of the points provided have been achieved, or a total of at least 12 points has been achieved (two-thirds of the possible number of points), according to Einbü

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Austria

So, for example, if you get three questions right on each part of the test, for a total of nine correct answers, you pass. Alternatively, if you get 12 correct answers in the 18 questions, even if you got zero points in one area but aced the other two, you also pass.

Would you pass?

The questions are in German, but we have translated them here so more people can try them out. Also unlike the actual examination, there is no time limit to answer the exam. These are sample questions from the official training website for the national test.

Since there are nine different states with their specific tests, we now have brought only parts one and two of the exam, so samples of the democracy and history of Austria.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Do you really have to renounce your original nationality?

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