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Home / World / The EU. Seems ready to put the Brexit on ice. But how long?

The EU. Seems ready to put the Brexit on ice. But how long?



BRUSSELS – European politicians come to Brussels on Wednesday evening as they – unfortunately, but necessarily – go to the dentist to give the embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May another Brexit extension.

Britain's resignation The European Union will be delayed, senior European officials and diplomats say, to avoid a tough no-deal on Friday night. The main discussion will be how long the process should take.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, have proposed an extension until 1

June. 2020, say diplomats. If the British parliament passed the withdrawal agreement that the government negotiated earlier with the bloc, the country would leave the bloc on the first of next month, the proposal says.

European leaders stressed whatever happened In the exit process or Brexit, the British parliament would still have to pass the resignation agreement before there could be discussions about future relations – even if Britain had previously left without an agreement. The conditions would be the main issue for the pro-Brexit legislators, the so-called backstop, to prevent a physical border between Northern Ireland and the South.

The agreement deals with technical issues related to the withdrawal and is not available for renegotiations, European Heads of State and Government say that while a related "political statement" covers things such as trade and customs and serves as a basis for negotiations on the Could serve the future.

The heads of state and government of the other 27 Member States will decide on the length of the extension and other matters late Wednesday evening after hearing Ms May. The debate is mainly about tactics: whether this long extension puts more pressure on Parliament, To say goodbye to the resignation agreement quickly or, as Austria and a handful of other countries believe, extending it only until the end of June is the best way to reach that goal.

"It's a tactical issue and a political decision, and leaders will decide," said a senior European diplomat. "But nobody advocates a no-deal Brexit on Friday."

Following a possible extension, Britain would have to hold elections to the European Parliament on 23 May. Ms. May considered this prospect three years after the British voted absurd for Brexit, but she now accepts it as the inevitable price to avoid a no-deal Brexit and the damage that would do to her country's economy.

A key argument for a long-term extension is to free the Europeans from Brexit's standing emergency meetings, allowing them to address other urgent issues such as migration, the next seven-year budget and the European elections, and the election of a new president for the Council , the decision – to deal. To form a body in which the heads of government of the bloc meet; new leaders for the commission, the executive arm of the bloc; and a new central bank chief.

One argument against France's long extension is that Britain may have difficulty with a new budget and other key issues as it would remain a member with all the rights and responsibilities of a member. President Emmanuel Macron demands from Ms. May some form of guarantee that Britain behaves responsibly.

Mr. Macron has proposed quarterly "reviews" of UK behavior over a longer stretch, which is legally difficult for others. However, enlargement may only last until the end of October as a compromise.

The idea is to give Britain time to decide for itself what kind of future relationship it wants. In any event, European officials emphasize, the resignation agreement, including the Irish restraint system, which is not meant to guarantee a strong border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, will not change.

There is little to expect in Brussels that negotiations are currently under way with Mrs May. The opposition Labor Party will come to a positive conclusion, hence the readiness for a long extension. Whether this means that the end of Prime Minister May and the new elections is over is, according to the officials, not the concern of Europe.

The difference with last month's Emergency Council meetings is that European leaders have decided to control the length of an enlargement. What might happen in the end – including a no-deal Brexit or a decision to stay in the European Union – would be up to the UK.


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