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(06) Westminster chaos during run-up to December EU summit (26 Nov-14 Dec 2018)
Westminster chaos during run-up to December EU summit
26 Nov to 14 Dec 2018

On 25 November 2018, PM May and the 27 PMs/presidents endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration at the special EU summit. These two documents are now in the ratification procedures on both sides.

The Withdrawal Agreement (24 Nov 2018)

The Political declaration (22 Nov 2018)

Declaration regarding the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration (25 Nov 2018)
Contains clarification about level playing field, fisheries and Gibraltar. This document does not go to ratification - it will be included in the minutes of the EU summit on 25 Nov 2018.

Here is the place to debate the developments in relation to ratification and the run-up to B-day on 29 March 2019. We are also trying to keep up with the related news articles.

I compiled below a list of important Brexit and other dates (I am inserting updates as more news emerge).

If you want to discuss the contents of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration, go here:

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Image URL (larger version):

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Image URL (larger version):

Note that the European Parliament will only ratify the WA after the UK ratifies it. The European Parliament can only ratify at a plenary session.

News update

26 November
27 November
28 November
29 November
30 November
1 December
3 December
4 December
5 December
6 December
7 December
9 December
10 December
11 December
12 December
13 December

The ratification procedure
Opinion of the ECJ Advocate General unilateral revocation of Article 50
The ECJ decision about unilateral revocation of Article 50 (10 Dec 2018)


25 November (Sunday): the special EU summit (approval of the WA and the PD)

26 November (Monday) PM May faces her war cabinet and the HoC

27 November (Tuesday) hearing at the ECJ about revocation of Article 50

28 November (Wedensday) UK government to publish report on economic impact of Brexit

29 November (Thursday) PM May has a Brexit hearing at the Liaison Committee in the House of Commons

29 November (Thursday) the European Parliament (plenary session) discusses Brexit with Barnier

30 November - 1 December (Friday and Saturday) G20 summit in Argentina; several EU27 leaders participating (plus Juncker, Tusk)

3 December (Monday) UK government to publish legal advice about the Irish backstop

4 December (Tuesday) ECJ Advocate General to give opinion about reversibility of Article 50

4 December (Tuesday) discussion about the Withdrawal Agreement in  the House of Commons

5 December (Wednesday) discussion about the Withdrawal Agreement in  the House of Commons

6 December (Thursday) Barnier Attends the Committee of the Regions plenary session, Brussels

6 December (Thursday) discussion about the Withdrawal Agreement in  the House of Commons

10 December (Monday) ECJ decision about unilateral reversibility of Article 50 at 9.00 CET 

10 December (Monday) discussion about the Withdrawal Agreement in  the House of Commons

11 December (Tuesday) discussion about the Withdrawal Agreement in  the House of Commons

11 December (Tuesday) 'meaningful vote' about the Withdrawal Agreement in the HoC at 20.00 CET cancelled  

10-13 December (Monday to Thursday) plenary session of the European Parliament (expected to adopt a Brexit resolution) 

11 December (Tuesday) Brexit a (marginal) topic at the plenary session of the European Parliament

11 December (Tuesday) PM May on a charm offensive again (Rutte, Merkel, Tusk, Juncker)

12 December (Wednesday) Tory MPs vote about no confidence in PM May  Exclamation  

12 December (Wednesday) PM May visits PM Varadkar in Dublin cancelled

Arrow 13 December (Thursday) Brexit meeting of the EU27 Council (27 PMs/presidents); EU27 preparations for no deal Exclamation 

14 December (Friday) regular meeting of the European Council (28 PMs/presidents) 

20 December to 7 January UK parliament on holidays

24 December to 6 January European Parliament on holidays


1 January (Tuesday) Romania takes over the Council presidency (from Austria)

1 January (Tuesday) EU anti-tax directive comes into force

14-17 January (Monday to Thursday): plenary session of the European Parliament (expected to vote about the Withdrawal Agreement) Exclamation

11-14 February (Monday to Thursday): plenary session of the European Parliament

14-25 February (Thursday to next Monday) UK parliament on holidays

11-14 March (Monday to Thursday): plenary session of the European Parliament (last chance to ratify the WA)

19 March (Tuesday) EU27 GAC (Brexit)

21-22 March (Thursday and Friday): regular meeting of the European Council (28 PMs/presidents); the last European Council meeting at which the British PM will be present

29 March midnight CET (Friday evening): Brexit

1 April (Monday) first working day after Brexit

15-18 April (Monday to Thursday): last plenary session of the European Parliament in this mandate

23-26 May EU elections

9 May (Victory in Europe day) EU summit in Sibiu, Romania (first EU summit without the UK)

20-21 June EU summit

1 July Finland takes over the Council presidency (from Romania)

2-4 July first session of the new European Parliament

July hearings of a candidate for president of the European Commission

17-18 October EU summit

1 November new European Commission
The ratification procedure

On 25 November 2018, PM May and the 27 PMs/presidents approved the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration. However, this was just a provisional political endorsement. It means that the final versions of the documents are on the table, to be sent for ratification. The WA will not be valid until it is fully ratified by both sides.

Note that the ratification procedure is take-it-or-leave-it: nothing in the WA and the PD can be changed (not even a word or a comma).

Ratification on the EU27 side:
(1) voting for the WA in the European Parliament with a simple majority of MEPs,
(2) the Council of Ministers for final approval with a qualified majority (at least 20 out of 27 EU members representing at least 65% of the EU27 population)

Ratification on the UK side
(1) voting in the House of Commons with a simple majority, 
(2) approval by the House of Lords, 
(3) signing by the monarch (royal assent)

To complete ratification, both sides have to send their ratification documents to the depositary (in this case to the Secretary General of the Council - as specified in Article 183 of the WA).

The European Parliament has already said that they will NOT vote about the WA until it is approved by the UK parliament. So the UK side better hurry up.

Have a look here for explanation of the procedure and the likely stumbling blocks:

Can EU states block Brexit deal? (21 Nov 2018)   
The Spanish prime minister’s threats to block a Brexit deal this week over Madrid’s claims to Britain’s tiny territory of Gibraltar on the Spanish coast has raised questions of veto risks for the package.

[Image: _104352286_brexit_timeline_nov_2018_640-nc.png]

Note that 'b re-negotiate' is not available.
News update (26 November 2018)

Where were we .... oh, we have the Withdrawal Agreement - hooray, and it has now been sent off to ratification on both sides. In the EU27, it is almost 100% certain that both the European Parliament and the Council (= the 27 EU members) will vote in favour of the WA because they were both intensely consulted during the negotiations and hence had influence on the contents of the WA (in fact, they decided about the contents) and many opportunities to express any concerns about the contents of the draft versions of the WA. On the UK side however, it was all very secretive, with PM May deciding everything as a dictator, with neither the UK parliament nor even May's own government having any significant input on the contents of the WA during negotiations.

* in the UK: PM May faces her war cabinet and the HoC
* in the EU27: Brexit fatigue (everyone off for long holidays?)

The Brexit clock:
  • 2,133 days since Cameron announced the Brexit referendum (the Bloomberg speech, 23 Jan 2013)
  • 1,299 days since the British voters voted for a Tory government which promised a Brexit referendum (7 May 2015)
  • 1,266 days since MPs voted with a large majority for the referendum bill = approval of the referendum (544 to 53 on 9 June 2015)
  • 886 days since the referendum (23 June 2016)
  • 663 days since the MPs voted with a large majority to trigger Article 50 = approval of exit (494 to 122 on 1 Feb 2017)
  • 607 days since the UK triggered Article 50 = start of the legal procedure for exit (29 March 2017)
  • 536 days since the British voters voted with a large majority for the parties supporting Brexit with exit from the customs union and the single market (8 June 2017)
  • 525 days since the start of negotiations (19 June 2017)
  • 353 days since the UK signed the Joint Report including the Irish backstop (8 December 2017)
  • 1 day since endorsement of the WA at the special EU summit (25 November 2018)
  • 37 days to New Year = breaking point (stakeholders need to know with great certainty what will happen on 30 March 2019)
  • 125 days to the exit day (29 March 2019)
  • 179 days to EU elections

Brexit chaos:

Newspaper headlines: May begins Brexit 'hard sell' (26 Nov 2018)  Big Grin
The day after - the Brexit deal on front pages of British newspapers.

Reality check:

Factbox - With the DUP opposed, PM May's working majority is minus 7 (25 Nov 2018)  Exclamation  
The small Northern Irish party which props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has said it will vote against May’s draft Brexit deal.

We have a deal (catching up with the EU summit):

EU agrees 'best possible' Brexit deal, urges Britons to back May (25 Nov 2018)  Exclamation  
European Union leaders finally sealed a Brexit deal on Sunday, saying the package agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May was the best Britain will get in a warning to the British parliament not to reject it.

EU to UK: Lose-lose Brexit deal is best you will get (25 Nov 2018)  Exclamation  
At loggerheads for months, Theresa May and Brussels echo each other in sales pitches.
Rejecting the Brexit deal will get Britain nowhere, EU leaders warned Sunday.

Highlights - EU leaders' comments at special Brexit summit (25 Nov 2018)  Exclamation  
The 27 EU national leaders gathered on Sunday to endorse both a detailed treaty setting out the terms on which Britain will leave the European Union and a declaration outlining how Britain can keep close to its biggest market by following many EU rules after a two to four year transition.

Spain revives call for shared control over Gibraltar after Brexit (25 Nov 2018)
Spain will revive its bid for shared sovereignty over Gibraltar once Britain has left the European Union, the country’s prime minister said on Sunday, adding Madrid had the support of the bloc to resolve the 300-year-old dispute.
Speaking after an EU leaders’ summit, Sanchez said Spain’s position over Gibraltar, a British territory since 1713, was stronger after the agreement of a Brexit deal on Sunday because Spanish policy effectively became EU policy.

EU rules out UK role in foreign and defence decisions post-Brexit (25 Nov 2018)
The EU has ruled out any decision-making role for the UK when it comes to foreign and defence policy post-Brexit.
The promise to restrict Britain’s involvement is contained in a letter to member states, seen by RTÉ News, which declares there will be no "outside interference" in the EU’s decision making process.

EU's only Plan B is preparing no-deal Brexit - official (25 Nov 2018)
The European Union has no plan to address a possible rejection of Sunday's Brexit deal in the British parliament other than its current planning for Britain leaving without a deal, a senior EU official said.

News from EU27:

Praised over Brexit, Barnier could target EU top job (25 Nov 2018)
European Union leaders lavished their Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier with praise on Sunday for securing a divorce agreement with Britain, strengthening the Frenchman’s hand should he decide to run for the bloc’s top job next year.
Go, Barnier!  Smile  

On Fantasy Island:

Britain's May faces Brexit moment of truth in parliament (25 Nov 2018)  Exclamation  
Agreeing a Brexit deal with the European Union may have been the easy part for British Prime Minister Theresa May. Getting it through a divided parliament at home could be an altogether tougher battle.

May calls on lawmakers to back Brexit deal (25 Nov 2018)
Prime Minister Theresa May called on lawmakers on Sunday to back a deal to leave the European Union, saying it was not only the best agreement she could achieve but also that it was the only one on the table.

Britain's opposition Labour Party will oppose Brexit deal: Corbyn (25 Nov 2018)
Britain’s main opposition Labour Party will oppose the government’s Brexit deal in parliament, its leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Sunday, describing the agreement approved in Brussels as “a miserable failure of negotiation”.
Claiming that the WA is bad is an insult of the EU27. There is no 'better' deal.

Brexit deal: which obstacles await May in parliament? (25 Nov 2018)
Brexiters, DUP, Labour or Tory MPs eyeing second referendum could all scupper PM’s plans

DUP may back Norway-style Brexit deal, says Arlene Foster (25 Nov 2018)  Big Grin  
Leader calls for ‘third way’, saying her party cannot support Theresa May’s plan 
The DUP could consider backing a Norway-style deal for Brexit as a way to prevent Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK, Arlene Foster has said, stressing there is no way her party can back Theresa May’s plan as it stands.
So the DUPes want to be the vassals of Dublin (and other EU27 capitals). Although Norway plus is the only solution which actually delivers a 'frictionless' border = possibly prevents speedy reunification of Ireland due to Brexit.

May to warn MPs that rejecting Brexit deal would put UK 'back to square one' (24 Nov 2018)
The PM faces a battle to get her plan, which Jeremy Corbyn has called ‘a miserable failure’, through parliament
Theresa May will take the high-stakes battle to save her Brexit plan and her premiership to all four nations of the United Kingdom this week after warning MPs on Monday that failing to back the deal will take Britain “back to square one”.
May will gather her cabinet on Monday morning before addressing parliament. She will warn anxious MPs, “we can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people.

EU officials told crunch parliament Brexit deal vote will happen on 10 or 11 December (25 Nov 2018)  Exclamation  
Vote would happen before next European Council meeting
EU officials have been told to expect the parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal on 10 or 11 December, according to senior sources in Brussels.
The date for the vote has not been officially confirmed by the British Government but it is now expected to be held before the next meeting of the European Council on 13 December.

Brexit: Conservative ministers 'discussing plan B' if Theresa May's deal rejected by MPs (25 Nov 2018)
Philip Hammond and several ministers also said to be considering a walk-out if PM pursues no-deal
Ms May is facing threats from all sides amid speculation of a fresh threat within her cabinet from chancellor Philip Hammond, who would lead an exodus of pro-EU ministers if the prime minister ends up pursuing a no-deal Brexit.
And another group of cabinet ministers are said to be in talks with the DUP to draw up an alternative plan around a 'Norway option', in which Britain stays in the European Economic Area (EEA) in case the deal is rejected.
Oh, so 'plan A' was not to have a plan and 'plan B' is to run away.

The Brexit dividend:

Brexit: Theresa May's deal could leave UK £100bn poorer each year in first decade outside EU, analysis shows (26 Nov 2018)
Prime minister will tell MPs to back her blueprint as 'there is not a better deal available'
Theresa May’s Brexit deal could leave the average person more than £1,000 worse off per year in the first decade outside of the EU, according to the first independent analysis of Britain exit terms.
As European leaders endorsed the prime minister’s plan, new research revealed the agreement could hit the UK’s economy by £100bn a year by 2030, equating to an average of £1,090 per person.

Go back to top (important dates, table of contents)
Oooooo, the morning after the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay crawled out of his hole.

He just gave an interview to Sky News. He kept regurgitating May's slogans and failed to answer questions. Maybot's clone. There was not even one single sentence that was not a copy of May's utterances.

I am most impressed.  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
(26-11-18, 08:28 AM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: Oooooo, the morning after the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay crawled out of his hole.

He just gave an interview to Sky News. He kept regurgitating May's slogans and failed to answer questions. Maybot's clone. There was not even one single sentence that was not a copy of May's utterances.

I am most impressed.  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

Well Britain was always good at science - see we've perfected the art of cloning!!! 

(With any luck though, we will not yet have solved the problem of below-normal life expectancy!)
(26-11-18, 08:36 AM)Moonfire Wrote: Well Britain was always good at science - see we've perfected the art of cloning!!! 

You are quite right. Barclay behaves exactly like Dolly the Sheep.
Keir Starmer just gave an interview on Sky News. He keeps fanstasising about general elections, extending the Article 50 two-year period etc.

The Brits are just 100% detached from reality. And in their self-absorbed parallel universe, they keep ignoring the very existence of 445 million people in 27 EU members.
The Withdrawal Agreement delivers for the UK

The Brexit debate in the UK is getting more absurd and detached from reality by the day. This anti-WA hysteria from all sides is just unbelievable.

The Withdrawal Agreement delivers everything that the UK needs right now. The UK unilaterally demanded exit, remember? The EU27 leaders gave the UK absolutely huge concessions (within the constraints of BINDING international law) to help the Brits climb out of their self-dug hole - but there is no pleasing the Brits, they just keep whingeing without even getting properly informed what the WA is all about.

The WA gives the UK:

* exit (as requested by the UK)

* a transition period of two years (21 months) during which nothing much changes (except that the UK is a rule-taker and will have to ask third countries for temporary roll-overs of those hundreds of EU's agreements), which can be extended for further 2 years max - so there is no cliff edge and the UK has some more time to sort itself out, explain what it wants and prepare for Brexit (which it has so far not done – note that ALL Brexit scenarios require preparations from the UK)

* the Political Declaration is legally non-binding and very open - the EU27 leaders have explained many times that when trade is negotiated after 29 March 2019, they are ready to change their offer to align it to any changes of UK's own red lines. So the EU27 leaders have kept ALL trade models on the table - everything from the WTO only to Canada to Norway plus, everything.

* should there be no valid trade deal when transition (with extension) runs out, the UK can go to the temporary backstop to get some more time to get everything in place.

So what the hell are the Brits (Brexiters and Remainers alike) whingeing about? What MORE do they want from 445 million people in the 27 EU countries – after the Brits themselves have DELIBERATELY caused a lot of damage to the rest of us and have so far shown ZERO consideration and respect for us? Do they not understand that their whingeing about the WA (in which both the Brexiters and the Remainers are participating) is yet another huge insult of the EU27???

UK’s choices at this point:

(1) ratify the WA
(2) crash out into no-deal chaos

Where the MPs voting down the WA means no deal.

A consequence of the UK rejecting the WA is also that the EU27 will have NO trade negotiations with the UK. Namely, this will be already the second negotiated agreement in two years that the Brits arrogantly reject - after Cameron’s renegotiating agreement in which the EU27 leaders gave the UK absolutely HUGE concessions, including exempting the UK from the ‘ever closer union’!!! But nothing is enough for the arrogant supremacist exceptionalist Brits. There is no point, none, to negotiate ANYTHING with such a deranged country (which among other things also serially reneged on its word during the Brexit negotiations).

The WA is only about legally disentangling the UK from the EU27. In terms of UK’s future relationship with the EU27, ALL models are still on the table – the UK just has to chose one else no negotiations will be possible. So instead of being hysterical about the ‘horrible’ WA which nobody in the UK even understands what it is all about (so much for the ‘informed’ choice of the ‘people’ in the second referendum), the Brits should be discussing what kind of a future relationship with the EU27 they want.

The ONLY sensible thing for the UK under the current circumstances is to ratify the WA. The EU27 leaders said this very many times yesterday – yet as usual the Brits refuse to listen to advice of UK’s best friends. Such arrogant attitudes coupled with delusional ignorance (from both the Brexiter and the Remainer camp) got the UK into this mess in the first place.

Well, the Brits seem to be very determined to jump off the cliff – Brexiters and Remainers hand in hand. United in destruction (of own nation).
I like that one: 

Sir Keir Starmer told Radio 4's Today programme, while claiming that if May’s Brexit deal fails to pass the Commons she could be sent back to Brussels to negotiate better terms: "If you had a vast majority saying we don't authorise the government to leave with no deal, it would be very difficult for the government politically to do so."

That sounds like: And if you had a vast majority in parliament to suspend gravity, then it would be difficult for the apple to fall!  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
Here are the conclusions of the crunch meeting of the 27 EU members (without the UK) about the Withdrawal Agreement:

Conclusions of the EU27 Council on 25 November 2018

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