BREXIT – WHAT NOW
Possible or likely developments – March 13 ( 16 days before exit )
The UK government seems to be huge difficulties about the possible
next steps. Also because it no longer can decide what should happen. It is for others to decide ( UK parliament and the EU ).
13: Vote in the House of Commons on whether or not to accept EXIT WITHOUT A DEAL
Most likely outcome : A majority of MPs against leaving without a deal.
Consequences: The government must ask EU for a prolongation of the period
until exit from the EU.
if a referendum on exit is called later, the question of
leaving without a deal can not appear on the ballot paper.
March 14 : Vote in the House of Commons on whether the government should ask
the EU for a
prolongation of the period until exit.
Likely outcome : A majority of MPs will support such a request to the EU.
Consequences : The government has to send the request urgently – and with a
clear reason for the prolongation. What does the
government intend to use the extra time for?
A prolongation has to be agreed by each of the 27
governments in the EU + by the European Parliament. Just
one of them can block it.
March 21-22: Meeting in the European Council in Brussels ( the 27 heads of state and
Likely outcome ?? EU will agree to a prolongation with very clear conditions (like
a promise of a general election in the UK – or a promise of a
new referendum in the UK - or another NEW promising
initiative. It is very unlikely, that EU will accept that the
present procedures ( trying to change the present Withdrawal
Agreement of Nov. 2018 or just more votes in parliament on
the same question as before ).
If the EU says no to a prolongation, the UK will leave without
a deal on March 29.
If a prolongation is agreed, the question is : For how long ?
The UK government wants – if needed - a very short prolongation, probably
until June 30. This will mean that the UK will not take part in the European
elections on May 23-26, as the new European Parliament will start on July 2.
Voices in the EU have indicated that EU will opt for a longer prolongation, say
the end of 2020. Why ? Because it will take time ( many months ) for the
UK to organise a new referendum. Or a general election.
In such case the UK continues to be a full member of the EU until the end of
the prolongation period. This also means that European elections will have
take place in the UK on May 23-26.
March 25-28 :
European Parliament plenary session.
March 29 :
IF the UK for one or the other reason ends up leaving the EU on March 29 ( and if
nothing else is decided this will happen automatically - the Dutch PM Rutte has
been talking of the UK sleepwalking into exit without a deal), then it will have
huge and immediate consequences, esp. for the UK.
The EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on March 13 : The risk of a Brexit without
a deal has never been greater!
Each member state and the EU institutions have prepared a special action plan
( though it is not possible to foresee all possible scenarios ).
The Commission agreed a number of contingency plans :
He is an overview of some of the UK government preparations :
UK plans – after Brexit – to trade internationally according to WTO rules:
The main WTO rule is that you have to treat all trading partners in the same way.
This means that if the UK puts its tariffs on some products to 0, it has to make it
0 for everybody. Not just for a selected few. This fact has been overlooked in
debate so far. The only alternative is to make free trade agreements. But they
always take time to negotiate. And they only come with conditions.
We certainly live in interesting times......