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(10) After the EU27 take back control and extend (from 22 March 2019)
(10) After the EU27 take back control and extend (from 22 March 2019)

Here we continue coverage of the Great Brexit Saga. Yesterday the EU27 kindly extended the exit date, but under conditions.

Now WHAT for the UK?

On this thread

Extension documents

Press conferences after the Brexit meeting of the European Council on 21 March 2019

Press conferences after the European Council on 21-22 March 2019 (about both days)

News update

22 March
23 March
25 March
26 March
28 March
30 March

1 April: Second indicative votes - debate here:  Exclamation



25 November (Sunday): the special EU summit (approval of the WA and the PD)
11 December (Tuesday) the 1st meaningless vote cancelled by PM May
13 December (Thursday) Brexit meeting of the EU27 Council (27 PMs/presidents); EU27 preparations for no deal  


15 January (Tuesday) the 2nd meaningless vote on the WA in the HoC (MPs totally reject the WA)
16 January (Wednesday) vote of no confidence in PM in HoC
23 January (Wednesday) SIX YEARS since Cameron announced the Brexit referendum 
29 January (Tuesday) the 3rd meaningless vote - HoC votes about May's plan B (the Brady amendment gets a thin majority)
14 February (Thursday) PM May suffers another defeat in the fourth meaningless vote at HoC (MPs cancel what they voted for on 29 Jan)  
24-25 February (Sunday and Monday) EU-League of Arab States summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt; May has meetings with Tusk in Egypt ('no deal in the desert')
27 February (Wednesday) the 5th meaningless vote in HoC cancelled by PM May; replaced by another amendment farce
12 March (Tuesday) the 6th meaningless vote in HoC - MPs reject the WA+PD again
13 March (Wednesday) Brexit debate in the European Parliament
13 March (Wednesday) the 7th meaningless vote in HoC - the MPs reject no deal (by not actually ruling it out)
14 March (Thursday) the 8th meaningless vote in the HoC - about extension of A50
18 March (Monday) speaker Bercow rules out another vote on the WA
19 March (Tuesday) EU27 GAC about Brexit
20 March (Wednesday) PM May sends extension letter to the EU27; gives her 'MPs are enemies of the people' speech

21-22 March (Thursday and Friday) regular meeting of the European Council (28 PMs/presidents); EU27 extend A50 under conditions

23 March (Saturday) People's Vote March

24 March (Sunday) yet another attempt to oust May (at Chequers)

25 March (Monday) May meets her war cabinet, reports to HoC about the European Council, indicative votes?

27 March (Wednesday) Tusk and Juncker report about Brexit extension at the European Parliament plenary (at 9.00 CET)

27 March (Wednesday) indicative votes in the HoC (all 8 options rejected)

29 March (Friday) Barnier in Warsaw, sppech at College of Europe

29 March (Friday) deadline for HoC to adopt the WA ---> ordered exit on 22 May

29 March (Friday) HoC rejects the WA for the 4th time

29 March midnight CET (Friday evening) Brexit postponed

30 March (Saturday) meeting of May's war cabinet???

1 April (Monday) second indicative votes in HoC

1 April (Monday) Sinn Fein leaders in Brussels debating Brexit (with Verhofstadt and Barnier)

2 April (Tuesday) "Deal or no deal? The state of play on Brexit" at EPC in Brussels at 8.00 CET (speakers: Barnier, Zuleeg)

2 April (Tuesday) Barnier debates at the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committe in Brussels

2 April (Tuesday) meeting of May's war cabinet (five hours)

2 April (Tuesday) Varadkar has a Brexit meeting with Macron in Paris

3 April (Wednesday) 3rd indicavive votes in the HoC???? Cooper bill about extending A50 passed by HoC

3 April (Wednesday) start of May-Corbyn talks

4 April (Thursday) Varadkar has a Brexit meeting with Merkel in Dublin

4 April (Thursday) Barnier in Sweden

4 April (Thursday) 4th vote about the WA in HoC??? HoL debate Cooper law; flood in HoC

4 April (Thursday) May-Corbyn talks continue at technical level

5 April (Friday) May sends extension-of-extension letter to the EU27; Tory-Labour talks break down

7-8 April (Sunday-Monday) Juncker in Rwanda

Arrow 8 April (Monday) Barnier in Ireland

9 April (Tuesday) 21st EU-China summit in Brussels

10 April (Wednesday) emergency EU summit at 6 pm in Brussels

12 April (Thursday) new cliff edge; deadline for the UK to send plan how to proceed and start legislating for the EU elections

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

22 May (Wednesday) UK's orderly exit IF the WA is ratified

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 July (Tuesday) new MEPs sworn in

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
Extension documents

PM May's extension letter (20 March 2019)

European Council (Art. 50) conclusions, 21 March 2019  Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation  

1. The European Council takes note of the letter of Prime Minister Theresa May of 20 March 2019.

2. In response, the European Council approves the Instrument relating to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Joint Statement supplementing the Political Declaration agreed between the European Commission and the government of the United Kingdom in Strasbourg on 11 March 2019.

3. The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council.

4. The European Council reiterates that there can be no opening of the Withdrawal Agreement that was agreed between the Union and the United Kingdom in November 2018. Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement.

5. The European Council calls for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal, taking into account all possible outcomes.

6. The European Council will remain seized of the matter.

Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the European Council meeting (21 Mar 2019)

As you know, we devoted today's European Council meeting to Brexit. Prime Minister May repeated her requests, to extend the Article 50 period until the 30th of June, and to approve the so-called Strasbourg agreement.

During the discussion among the EU27, the leaders approached these requests in a positive spirit. The European Council decided to approve the Strasbourg agreement. As regards the extension, our decisions envisage two scenarios:

In the first scenario, that is, if the Withdrawal Agreement is passed by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 22nd of May.

In the second scenario, that is, if the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 12th of April, while expecting the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward. What this means in practice is that, until that date, all options will remain open, and the cliff-edge date will be delayed.

The UK Government will still have a choice of a deal, no-deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50. The 12th of April is a key date in terms of the UK deciding whether to hold European Parliament elections. If it has not decided to do so by then, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible.

As you know, in accordance with the Treaties, any extension must be decided unanimously by the EU27, in agreement with the Member State concerned. This is why I met Prime Minister May several times tonight – to make sure that the UK accepts the extension scenarios – and I am pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement on this.
Press conferences after the Brexit meeting of the European Council on 21 March 2019

The meeting on Thursday afternoon was entirely about Brexit and ended late after 11.30 pm; the press conference was at 23.45 CET. I recommend you watch all parts of the Juncker-Tusk presser (it was quite short but very informative - and funny).


The main Tusk-Juncker press conference  Exclamation  

Part 1: Arrival to the press room (1.5 min)
so that you can judge the general mood

Part 2: Tusk's statement (3 min)

Part 3: Juncker's statement (3 min)

Part 4: Q&A (4.5 min)

Note: To set your language for translation, hover the cursor over the bottom right corner of the video and chose your language.

Here is a compilation of the funny moments at the press conference:

Tusk: 'Hell is still empty' - BBC News (21 May 2019)  Big Grin


PM May's press conference (12 min)


Short statements upon departure

These statements have no translations - mostly they are in mother tongues of the leaders.

Emmanuel Macron (7 min, in French)

Angela Merkel (4 min, in German)

MEP Martina Anderson, Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland (2 min, in English)
Quote:But the EU has warned that any extension that goes beyond 23 May — the date of European elections — would mean that the UK would be forced to elect new members to the bloc’s parliament.
If the UK decides not to elect these members despite remaining a full member of the European Union, the bloc would be forced to change its treaties, Varadkar said.
“We all know how complicated that is. It would even require a referendum in Ireland,” Varadkar said in Brussels.

Last night somebody somewhere offered legal advice that the EU27 has accepted that the EU treaties absolutely prohibit the UK not conducting European Parliament elections as members. A mechanism that safely corrals this scenario was necessary. Most of the EU27 heads will be bound in some way to observe the treaty limits by their own domestic oaths. Irish ratification of EU treaties is through the constitution so that makes it an absolute obligation for Leo to reject it.

Parliament is probably going to reject ratification and play Eastender Street for a couple of weeks.

The 12th of April deadline gives the EU lawyers a couple of weeks to sketch out the detail of the next ultimatum.
News update (22 March 2019)

Yesterday the EU27 took back control when conditionally extending A50.

7 days = 5 full working days for the HoC to approve the WA for orderly exit (29 March)
21 days = 14 full working days until (12 April)
* the UK leaves with no-deal crash out or 
* the UK does not leave by proposing a new plan and going to EU elections
61 days until the UK exits orderly IF WA approved

In the UK
* breximessing
* PM May goes back to London (not present on the 2nd day of the EU summit)
* MPs working on a FRIDAY (wow)
* PM to present extension to the HoC?
In the EU27
* moving on - debating non-Brexit issues on the agenda of the European Council (without May)
* celebrating 25 years of EEA with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein


New hell comments from Tusk and Juncker, of course

Tusk: 'Hell is still empty' - BBC News (21 May 2019) Big Grin  Big Grin wrong link
You just have to watch this - it was such a nice press conference considering the weight of EU27's decisions re the mess in the UK.

Reality check:

EU leaders give Britain "last chance" for orderly Brexit (21 Mar 2019)  Exclamation  
EU leaders on Friday said Britain had a final chance to leave the bloc in an orderly fashion, having given the UK parliament an April 12 deadline to offer a new plan or choose to quit the bloc without a treaty.

Factbox: What happens next on Brexit? (22 Mar 2019)  Exclamation Exclamation  
European Union leaders have given Prime Minister Theresa May a two week reprieve before Britain could leave the bloc without an exit deal if she fails to win parliament’s backing for her agreement with Brussels.
Good overview of new deadlines and procedures.

News from EU27:

European media praise EU's plan to counter UK's Brexit 'chaos' (22 Mar 2019)  Cool Exclamation  
EU’s seizing of initiative and avoidance of Theresa May’s ‘trap’ hailed by foreign press
Europe’s media saw it only one way: faced with a fast-approaching cliff edge and chaos, confusion and vacuousness in London, the other members of the EU needed to take over the Brexit process and force the British government to face up to its choices – and they did.
Go, our Europe! Good work by the EU27 leaders - now that they also have to govern the insane Global Britain.

Firms need to step up no-deal Brexit plans: ECB's Draghi (22 Mar 2019)
The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, told European Union leaders on Friday that companies have to increase their preparations for a possible no-deal Brexit, an EU source said.
Everyone, pack your bags and move to EU27. You know it makes sense - cannot remain trapped on the insane Fantasy Island.

On Fantasy Island:

'One last chance': what the UK papers say about Brexit delay (22 Mar 2019)  Big Grin  
Headlines focus on the three-week deadline granted to Theresa May by EU leaders in Brussels
Theresa May has “one last chance”, according to the Times, with the paper reporting the EU gave the prime minister a “three-week lifeline” that was only agreed “after nearly seven hours of wrangling”.

[Image: 2500.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=forma...bfea9e6298]
Brexit means 'Brussels' governing Global Britain. Ha ha ha.

Go back to top (important dates, table of contents)
(22-03-19, 01:26 PM)smellybeard Wrote: The 12th of April deadline gives the EU lawyers a couple of weeks to sketch out the detail of the next ultimatum.

There really is no time for 'next ultimatum' - because the UK has to start its preparations for the EU elections on 12 April at the latest, else it cannot participate in the elections due to the needed legislative procedures. In addition, the leaders of the 14 countries which will get some former UK's seats in the European Parliament insist that they need to know by 12 April at the latest how many MEPs their country will have.

If there is no approved WA and no preparations for elections, the UK will crash out.

The EU27 could potentially extend the crash-out some more, theoretically in legal terms until 22 May, but politically they absolutely do not want it because they do not want the chaos of UK's crash out during the EU elections campaign, leave alone only days before we go to the voting stations.

I think that the EU27 leaders solved the problem rather well. The ball is again very firmly in the UK's court - the EU27 have left all options open for the UK, but put some definite deadlines on decision time.
The Brexit farse is about to turn tragedy FT

The commission is dealing with sovereign states. Our government might consider doing the same with its sovereign parliament.

Another lesson: the EU is bigger than Britain. If we leave without an agreement, that is a nuisance for the EU — about 10 per cent of their trade is with us. For us, they represent 49 per cent and no deal risks being a catastrophe. The idea that this is an important bargaining chip is ridiculous. One day — we cannot ignore our neighbours forever — we will be back at the table, helpless on our side, furious on theirs.
(22-03-19, 01:38 PM)Ajda Slovenia Wrote: There really is no time for 'next ultimatum' ...

If the UK fails to satisfy the EU by the 12th of April the EU will have to offer them something - probably only a "ratify it" ultimatum with no hope of a further extension. In that case, the EU lawyers have to know what obligations fall on the EU27 Heads and what falls on May or her successor. If only May is breaching the treaty, fine but if the others need to, not so fine.

The EP needs to vote on the WA no later than the 18th. There's the real deadline. They have to have it on the secretariats table on that morning, ratified.
Hi all.

I  think what we witnessed yesterday was the EU at its best. 27 leaders of 27 states pooling their thoughts to arrive at a unanimous decision that really shows that working together delivers the best outcome.

Facing parliamentary indecision in the UK and a possibility of a no deal by accident, as well as a sitution where the Brits would keep blaming the EU for any outcome of the Brexit talks, what the EU27 did is put all four options on the table (no deal, no Brexit, May's deal Brexit, or a much softer Brexit with a long extenson) and put the ball firmly and 100% in the UK's court. It is entirely up to the UK to decide what happens next, and whatever the UK decides, the responsability for this choice and its consequences will rest entirely on the shoulders of the UK.
  • Either they pass May's deal, in which case the UK leaves the EU on May 22 in an orderly fashion.
  • Or by April 12 they have to tell the EU what they want: no deal, no brexit or a long extension for a much softer brexit for which the end date will be decided then.
This means that a no deal by accident cannot happen, nor can it be blamed on the EU. If there is a no deal Brexit, it will be 100% by deliberate choice of the UK. As a result, nobody - be it in the UK or elsewhere - will be able to blame the EU for the consequences of a no deal Brexit.

The EU27 skillfully pre-empted a blame game. Whatever happens next, is entirely up the UK.

I  think yesterday's EUCO was the EU at its best and high level politics at its best. Makes me proud to be a European. Our leaders have been delivering for us for 2 years, and last night they put the cherry on the cake (no pun intended).

This will make it much harder for no deal Brexiteers. They can't blame anyone, they will have to take responsability for a deliberate choice to go no deal. While the UK Parliament had already (although not bindingly) voted against a no deal Brexit, the EU27 put the no deal option back on the table. So they can't even blame anyone for not being able to go no deal. 

The 27 leaders arrived at  the table with different ideas about an extension. Each decision on its own would have had loose ends and would have left the EU vulnerable in one way or another. Together, they arrived at a solution that fully covers our back, and pre-empts all nastiness UK politicans can come up with.

This is diplomacy of the highest level, resulting in a superb outcome. 

At the same time, it has re-affirmed the EU's place in the world as top level negotiators. Everybody who wants to do a deal with the EU knows that they are up against a well oiled machinery that cannot be pushed into a corner. 

This was no small victory for the EU.  And the beauty of it is, that it fully respects and honours the UK's sovereignty, democracy and its  referendum result.

Hojla, everyone,

What do you think about EU27's Brexit plan?

The full text of the EU27 extension decision is here - check also Tusk's statement:

Here is Tusk's summary of UK's options:

EU27 responds to UK requests in a positive spirit and:

* agrees to Art. 50 extension until 22 May if Withdrawal Agreement approved next week
* if not agreed next week then extension until 12 April
* approves ‘Strasbourg Agreement’
* continues no-deal preparations

We have previously debated here in particular these potential big problems for the EU27:

(1) The UK must not be allowed to screw up our EU elections 
* by not holding the elections and then revoking, hence rendering our new EP illegal (= without UK MEPs) or
* by crashing out close to EU election days causing chaos and EU crisis

(2) The UK must not be allowed to abuse its unilateral right to revocation - as an emergency exit when staring down the cliff edge, but not with an intention to remain permanently but rather to continue the Brexit debate, referendums etc. and then possibly trigger A50 again soon.

Have the EU27 leaders prevented all possibilities for the UK to play its dirty games? Have they prevented the Brits to keep using the rest of us as their hostages? Any loopholes left which the UK could abuse?

I think that the UK could approve the WA next week to get extension until 22 May, then after 12 April (too late for 'normal' EU elections in the UK) unilaterally revoke. This scenario is however highly unlikely - it requires the British MPs having a majority twice - first for the WA, then to revoke.

There seems to also be some confusion about the legal status of the EU27 decision - whether the HoC has to vote about it or something.

And as for the EU27 side, it seems that if the UK does not send any proposals by 12 April and does not approve the WA by 29 March, then crash out is automatic - or does it need in legal terms a final approval from the 27 leaders? And if the UK does not approve the WA, but then sends its proposals before 12 Artil, it seems that the 27 leaders will have to meet to approve or not the UK's 'plan'. The 27 may still have to 'kick the UK out' is they decide that UK's proposals are not adequate and they reject them - hence throwing the UK off the cliff on 12 April. Am I right here?

Overall, I am rather impressed with the work of the 27 leaders. They quizzed May for an hour and a half, which turned out to be a total waste of time (she could not answer any questions or present anything even remotely looking like a plan, and the 27 PMs/presidents seem not to be too impressed by regurgitation of idiotic slogans or by PM May yet again deliberately breaking the EU treaties in her 'plan' by not wanting to have EU elections). Then they threw May out, and started to work on the Brexit plan themselves aiming to protect the EU27 interests while still providing the UK a lifeline AND putting the ball firmly in the UK's court (the Brits have to decide if, when and how they brexit).

Considering that they have not really debated extension scenarios before (because everyone was waiting for UK's proposals in May's extension letter), they managed to play through quite many options in several hours of working together (without May) and in the end came up with a fairly solid decision (covering both legal and political aspects). 27 countries (with leaders from different political options!) can come up with a compromise consensus plan which they unanimously support  in a few hours (the 27 leaders went into the meeting with quite differing positions). Compare to SIX YEARS of Brexit debates in the UK - and still not even a hint of a plan!

Oh, and I found this photo posted (by Bulgaria's ambassador to the EU) during the EU27 'negotiations' rather nice and powerful - our negotiating team (plus some ambassadors ) following the developments in the meeting room (Barnier was at the meeting) and working TOGETHER (people from different countries!) on finding a good solution:  Cool   

[Image: D2NG25AWwAEalX_.jpg]

Sabine Weyand is in the centre standing, standing to the left and right to her two guys with glasses are the Dutch and Irish ambassadors to the EU and Stephanie Riso (a key member of our negotiating team) is to the left of Weyand, kneeling, with glasses.

It is a great photo of those horrible inhuman EUROCRATSBig Grin Big Grin Big Grin  

Anyway, Brexit is really revolutionary for the UK - it has now forced the MPs to 'work' (= recycle yet again their flying Brexit unicorns in the HoC) on a FRIDAY. Shocking.  Big Grin

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