Brexit Update: EU Signals Year-Long Delay If No Deal Is Signed Next Week
Following MPs voting for the extension of Article 50 and the rejection of a second referendum, the European Union (EU) has dropped signals that if a deal is not yet approved by next week's voting session, a Brexit delay may last for more than a year.
According to Bloomberg, Prime Minister Theresa May's deputy said if May fails to get her Brexit withdrawal agreement through by next week's vote, the U.K. may have to stay with the EU for another year. This is a scenario that pro-Brexiteers will be unhappy about but EU officials may be willing to see through.
After Thursday's deliberations, May and her government are expected to win over Parliament members who are Northern Irish. Analysts indicated that May will also try to get hardline Brexit supporters to vote for her twice-rejected withdrawal agreement.
While some Tory MPs are glad there will be more time to get support for May's Brexit deal, officials from other countries have expressed concerns about the consequences of a delayed British exit. A French official report noted that the United Kingdom should be given limited control over decision-making tasks since it is leaving the EU soon.
Despite opposition, May continues to push her government to make a clear choice. She has given a deadline of March 20 to Parliament members. If her deal is approved, she is expected to ask for Brexit delay that could last no longer than June 30. If it gets rejected for the third time, the U.K. may have to take part in the upcoming European Parliament Elections.
An extended Brexit will still need the approval of the 27 EU member states, BBC News reported. Furthermore, the European Commission will need to discuss potential conditions that will be put in place for the U.K. to abide while the much-anticipated British exit has not yet taken place.
Donald Tusk, European Council President, said leaders in the EU may be fine with a longer extension "if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy."
While other EU leaders appear to be fine with a delay, some are completely against the notion. Netherlands' Mark Rutte and France's Emmanuel Macron are just some of the EU chiefs who think a Brexit extension is only applicable if May presents a good reason for the delay.
The second voting session on Tuesday indicated that some opposing MPs have been won over but May has yet to convince a large number of MPs to back her Brexit deal.