Finally, there has been some ‘forward’ progress in this whole Brexit debacle.
European Union leaders have agreed to give British Prime Minister Theresa May a second delay on Brexit…provided she accepts certain conditions.
With all conditional matters expected to be finalised today, one major condition is that Britain holds European parliament elections, so as to limit Britain’s ability to undermine the bloc.
And that’s just one of many.
EU to leave delay open-ended
Another point outlined in the draft was that, if the above condition wasn’t met, the bloc would cut off Britain on 1 June.
The draft also outlined the main purpose of granting the extension, which is ‘to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement’.
As such, the extension may be cut short, depending on how long it takes for the EU and Brexit to figure out a Brexit deal.
However, according to the draft:
‘If the UK is still a Member of the EU on 23 – 26 May 2019 and if it has not ratified the Withdrawal Agreement by 22 May 2019, it must hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law.
‘The United Kingdom shall facilitate the achievement of the Union’s tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives.’
According to RAW, May has requested a Brexit delay to 30 June, but the draft has left the end-date blank, to be determined today by EU leaders in Brussels.
‘People are tired and fed up [with Britain’s indecision]’, one EU diplomat said, and we sympathise.
‘[B]ut what to do? We won’t be the ones pushing the UK off the cliff edge.’
That sounds promising. And so does the report from another EU official, who said no European power would want a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, as it would heavily impact the EU 27’s US$16 trillion (AU$22 trillion) economy.
‘Nobody wants to pull the plug by 13th April,’ said the official, ‘But for how long — I don’t know. And France will ask a lot of questions in Brussels.’
Indeed they will.
Will the Bloc agree with the conditions?
As RAW reports, May dashed to Berlin and Paris to ask Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s two most powerful leaders, to ask for the Brexit delay, which lead to this advance draft for today’s emergency EU summit.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Macron would not veto May’s extension, but wants the conditions attached.
As for Merkel, May met her at her riverside Chancellery and departed with a warm exchange of kisses.
During the meeting, Germany’s opposition liberal FDP party drove past the chancellery in a van presenting this message:
‘Dear Theresa May. Just do it. Stop Brexit. Make the most of Europe’s opportunities.’
In London, British Solicitor General Robert Buckland said May would ‘listen carefully’ to any constructive suggestions made by the EU on the length of the extension.
‘We should all be very clear what this extension would be for — it is all about making sure we leave the EU in a timely and orderly way and that means leaving with a deal.’
Right now, this involves May cosying up to Labor Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who wants to keep Britain more closely tied to the bloc after Brexit, and potentially hold another referendum after the deal.
Let’s hope one of the conditions stops this from happening.
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