The Strategist

France and Italy are ready to block Brexit delay

03/20/2019 - 13:50

At least two countries-founders of the EU - France and Italy - are ready to block postponement of Brexit at the community summit on March 21-22, if they do not receive guarantees that this delay will allow for an organized exit, the European diplomatic source said.

Photo by Immanuel Giel
Photo by Immanuel Giel
"France and Italy are ready to block extension of the Brexit deadline at the EU summit if they receive no guarantees that this decision will allow London to sign an agreement with the EU and an orderly exit," he said. According to him, this position "can be supported by other Western European states, first of all Luxembourg, if the UK issues a question on postponing the Brexit date at the summit."

Commenting on results of the discussion on Brexit at the EU Ministerial Council on European Affairs on Tuesday, the interlocutor noted that most of the countries of the union “see no point in delaying the UK’s exit from the EU without a concrete achievable goal.” "Every day a delay increases uncertainty and economic damage from this situation. If we do not see a clear prospect of how a delay of several months can guarantee an agreement between London and Brussels, the exit without an agreement followed by the definition of the new rules of the game becomes preferable, although we made every effort to avoid it," the source added.

On Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Nathalie Loiseau also hinted at this position of France, saying that "extending [Brexit] is not a solution, it is a method if there is a goal and a strategy." She also stressed that London, which failed to approve the Brexit agreement, should clearly articulate the goal and strategy for further action. According to Loiseau, the uncertainty of Brexit, which prevails at the present time, is unacceptable.

On Wednesday, a source in the British government told Sky News that British Prime Minister Theresa May would ask the EU to delay Brexit only “for a short period” in an official letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

“I wasn’t been told exactly for how long [a delay would be requested], but we expect that June 30 will be the last date before which we can leave [the EU] to avoid having to take part in elections to the European Parliament”, the source said.

According to Sky News, Head of the British Cabinet will send a request to Tusk on Wednesday, before the planned two-day meeting of heads of states and government of the European Union begins in Brussels on March 21.

As the office of the May explained to BBC, the question of postponing for a long period is not on the agenda. Mrs. May "will not ask for such a postponement," the report says. “It is possible to give parliament a little more time to agree on further actions, but the British have been waiting for a decision for almost three years,” said the sources. “They are upset by the inability of parliament to accept it, and Prime Minister shares their disappointment.”

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on the European Union provides for the possibility of extending the two-year period, which is allotted to an EU member state to leave the community, if this initiative receives unanimous approval of the European Council.