BuzzFeed reports the European Union Thinks the UK has Two Choices After the Last 24 Hours of Brexit Chaos.
On Friday, Theresa May will attempt again to get MPs to back the withdrawal agreement when she brings it back to the House of Commons for the third time. But this time they will not vote on the other part of the deal she agreed with the EU – the political declaration, which is the framework that outlines the future relationship.
But May’s chances of success are low as she has failed to secure the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, many Brexiteer Tory MPs remain opposed and Labour has said it won’t back what it calls a “blind Brexit”.
In a sign that Brussels and Europe’s capitals are highly sceptical of her odds of getting the Brexit deal through parliament, much of Thursday’s meeting was dedicated to no-deal planning and preparing a common opening position ahead of a meeting of EU leaders expected to take place next month.
EU and European government officials are adamant that if the deal doesn’t go through, and the UK asks for a longer extension before the April deadline, Britain will have to hold European Parliament elections in May. April 11 is the date by which the UK has to organise these elections.
Four senior sources told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that this position would not change. “It is indispensable,” said a senior EU official. Another official said it was “nearly impossible” that the 27 leaders would alter their view on this.
Trade Talk Preconditions
In the event of no-deal, the EU has three preconditions to enter trade talks:
- Ensuring that Britain abides by its financial commitments — the so-called “Brexit bill” part of the agreement;
- Guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK as well as of Britons working and residing elsewhere in the EU;
- Finding a solution that keeps open the border in Northern Ireland along the lines of the arrangement in the withdrawal agreement, meaning the backstop — the insurance policy that ensures that the border in Ireland remains open under all circumstances.
In effect, Britain would be asked to sign up to terms very similar to those contained in the Brexit agreement.
I don't know for certain but it's very plausible.
If an MP or Theresa May submits an amendment to hold hold EU parliament elections, and the vote is positive, and it happens before April 12, the EU would then likely grant a long delay. If such a motion passes after April 11, France or any other country could nix it.
This setup creates still more paths to specific ends while not affecting the current odds. The odds will only change after the UK rules in or out holding EU parliament elections.
France in particular is very wary of the UK disrupting the next Parliament. It is not a given that an extension will be granted after that date.
- May cannot force MPs to vote for holding European elections.
- Parliament cannot force May to ask the EU for an extension, a custom's union or anything else.
- Parliament is not in control.
- Theresa May is not in control but she does have far more options at her disposal than parliament.
No One In Control
Despite political commentary, the UK is not in control of the process. Parliament can only take control if May lets Parliament do that.
None of this invalidates or even challenges the answers to my questions: What the Heck is in Theresa May's Head? Who's the Next PM? Many More Questions
If BuzzFeed is accurate, and I believe it is, the ideas presented do challenge the Eurointelligence position that the odds favor a soft Brexit compromise.
The EU is preparing for a no-deal. It's the prudent thing to do because clearly "no one is in control".
That fact alone keeps no-deal high on the list of what's likely to happen.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock