EU to Prime Minister May: Further extension of Brexit deadline “only possible if the UK agrees to hold European elections on 23 May.”
With the British parliament failing to agree on the strategy to exit the European Union, Brussels has called upon Prime Minister Theresa May to hold the European elections. Referring to the recent pro-EU demonstrations in London, the European Council President, Donald Tusk, accused the UK government of betraying the “increasing majority” of Britons who wish to stay in the union.
“In a stirring intervention on Wednesday, the European council president praised those who marched on the streets of London and the millions who are petitioning the government to revoke article 50,” British newspaper The Guardian reported.
The EU “should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would of course mean the UK’s participation in the European parliament elections,” Tusk said. “You cannot betray the 6 million people who signed the petition to revoke article 50, the 1 million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union.” he added.
Brussels has extended the Brexit deadline from March 29 to April 12, to help Britain make a final decision on holding the EU elections. “EU says a further extension beyond 12 April is only possible if the UK agrees to hold European elections on 23 May, BBC reported.
Despite Prime Minister May’s staking her political future on parliament’s approving on her Brexit plan, no agreement has been reached so far. The British daily Independent covered the ensuing political deadlock:
Theresa May is making a last push to win over Tory rebels and the DUP to her Brexit deal after offering to quit before the next stage of talks.
Ms May signalled the end to her premiership on a dramatic night in the Commons where MPs failed to unite around any Brexit scenario during “indicative votes”, when the Commons seized control of the agenda to test out eight different options.
Second referendum supporters were emboldened by the result, as plans for a confirmatory ballot were defeated by only 27 votes – and 27 Labour MPs voted against the plan. (…)
MPs last night failed to break the Brexit impasse after they were unable to find a Commons majority for any Brexit plan, despite voting on eight different options.
Under the indicative vote process, MPs did not reach a consensus after they dramatically seized control of the agenda in the House of Commons from the executive.
The series of inconclusive late-night votes in the chamber followed Theresa May‘s promise to Tory MPs to resign as prime minister should her contentious Brexit deal pass its final hurdle.
The eight options put to a vote included a second referendum, a no-deal scenario, a customs union, revoking Article 50 and membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).
If May’s government decides to hold the EU elections, the country will be further entangled in the EU bureaucracy, making it even more difficult to leave the bloc.
In light of the ongoing impasse, a No-Deal Brexit seems to be the only sensible option. In a No-Deal scenario, Britain will leave the EU without any formal agreement on trade relations with the 27-member states of the bloc. It would cease to be the member of the European single market and “charge the same tariffs to all WTO members under no deal,” Independent reported.
In case of a No-Deal exit, the UK will not be obliged to pay the $47 billion punitive “divorce bill” imposed by the EU negotiators, a House of Commons report confirmed.
The senior Conservative lawmaker, Oliver Letwin, called a No-deal Brexit the ‘most likely option right now,’ Reuters reported. “I think that at some point or other we either have to get a deal across the line or accept that we have to find an alternative if we want to avoid no deal on April 12, which I think at the moment is the most likely thing to happen,” Letwin told BBC.
The EU is dead against a No-Deal Brexit, as it takes away its leverage over Britain, the third-largest economy in Europe. Brussels will much prefer a protracted Brexit, with Britain tied to EU regulations and treaties. “The UK will remain bound during the transition period by the obligations stemming from all EU international agreements,” a European Commission spokesman told German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “During this period, the UK cannot become bound by new agreements on its own in areas of union-exclusive competence unless authorized to do so by the EU.”
As Britain faces its biggest challenge of the post-war era, it needs a decisive leader in the mold of Churchill or Thatcher. Prime Minister May, who backed the pro-EU campaign in the 2016 referendum, is an odd choice to steer the country through the Brexit. Her indecisiveness has cast serious doubts over her commitment to fulfill the people’s mandate. With divided parliament and weak leadership, the country faces an uncertain future in weeks and months to come.
Video: Nigel Farage slams PM May and EU’s Tusk:
[Cover image via YouTube]
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