Brexit Update: Deadline Extended to April 12th. Brexit on May 22nd?

 In Brexit

An extension of the Brexit deadline until June 30th, that was what May requested in her letter to Tusk. The EU took a different approach last night and has granted the UK an extension until May 22nd. European elections are scheduled for May 23rd, so the UK needs to have left the EU before that.

There’s a Catch

The extension is not without conditions. May needs to present a new plan for Brexit to the EU before April 12. This was decided after a lot of discussion between EU leaders at the summit they had yesterday. April 12 is the day that the UK needs to start with preparations for the upcoming European elections if they don’t leave before June 30. You could say the April 12 is the new Brexit date.

Many of the 27 EU leaders are getting tired of the process. They want to get it over with and return to business as usual. With or without the UK. It is the same for countries, businesses, and people: they want clarity on what is going to happen and when.

New Deal or No Deal?

While the EU keeps preparing for a no-deal Brexit, May has to try and convince Parliament of accepting a deal they have already rejected twice. Another problem she has is that she can’t put it up for a vote as is. She has to present a new deal. That, in turn, is a problem, because the EU will not agree to other terms than those currently on the table.

To Vote or not to Vote…

Many media have reported a vote in the coming week, but the BBC this weekend reported there may not be a third vote at all. This and other interesting articles below:

Theresa May’s admission that there may not be a third vote on her deal, after all, will focus minds on what an alternative plan might be.

To avoid asking the EU for a longer extension and holding European parliament elections, the prime minister will need a new course of action.

A series of indicative votes in Parliament looks the most likely way to decide that – but there is no agreement on whether the government should lead that process or relinquish control to Parliament.

And when and if a consensus in Parliament emerges, there is no guarantee it will automatically become government policy.

It has taken two years for the government to formulate, negotiate and attempt to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.

Finding an alternative which ministers, MPs and the EU are happy to embrace within the next two weeks will be a very tough task indeed.

Read more about this here.

What the Media are Reporting

The Guardian writes:

“What this model is designed for is to make it clear that no deal is not the EU’s choice, it is the UK’s choice,” a diplomatic source said. “The prime minister is braced for a long extension, but doesn’t want to take responsibility for it,” the source said.

On Thursday night, businesses and trades unions joined together to urge her to change course. In a rare joint letter, the TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, and the CBI’s Carolyn Fairbairn described the situation as a “national emergency” and called on the prime minister to seek a plan B.

Read more here.

CNN:

a UK Ministry of Defence spokesman told CNN it had put 3,500 troops on standby to “aid contingency plans” for a no-deal Brexit.
The contingency plans are part of Operation Redfold, the British military’s crisis management operation in the event of a no deal.
Meanwhile, more than 2 million people have signed an online petition urging Parliament to revoke Article 50 and prevent Brexit.
The call went viral after May’s speech on Wednesday night, with the vast majority of signatures coming in less than 24 hours. The traffic has caused Parliament’s official petitions site to crash repeatedly on Thursday.

Read more here.

DW.com:

Merkel, like many of the other German parliamentarians, stressed that the UK would “always be included in our thinking” whether inside or outside the EU. “The door to closer cooperation is wide open,” the chancellor said.

Merkel’s speech also included an impassioned appeal to the EU’s powers of compromise, pointing out that it is worth “fighting for this Europe.” “We are seeing multilateralism being put under increasing pressure,” she told an applauding chamber. “Our work will continue to be founded on multilateralism.”

Read more here.

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