Brexit update: Will the EU grant extention to Britain preventing economic chaos?

Visit of Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, to the EC
Date: 17/10/2019. Location: Belgium, Brussels – EC/Berlaymont. © European Union, 2019
Source: EC – Audiovisual Service. Photographer: Jennifer Jacquemart

It was only yesterday when the British MPs voted in favor of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal but rejected the three-day legislation timetable which would have speeded up the procedure and met the deadline of October 31st.

However, it is up to the EU now to decide whether to provide another extention to the ongoing negotiations and process or leave the UK exit the bloc without a deal; something that seems quite unlikely.

Background

Last Thursday the European Union together with Britain announced that both reached to an agreement on the text of the Brexit deal, also known as the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. Two days later, the UK government convened in order to decide whether or not to support the deal brought by the prime minister. But the MPs called for an amendment of the deal until the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is approved by both the Commons and Lords and passed into law.

This forced the UK prime minister to ask for a Brexit extention beyond October 31 delaying the procedure even more, causing serious turbulences to the EU and world economies and leaving the EU to decide whether to grant another extention or let the UK on its own without a deal. But the EU is waiting till the end of the month to see if there will be any last changes before deciding.

Tuesday’s vote

The House of Commons voted yesterday 329 to 299 in favour of the second reading of the withdrawal bill. However, the MPs voted 322 to 308 against UK prime minister’s three-day legislation timetable for the Bill which composes the main piece of law to implement the deal reached with the EU last week. This basically means that Boris Johnson has no time to get his agreement approved as there are only eight days left till the EU deadline expires.

Following this outcome, the UK prime minister said yesterday that will call for general elections in case the EU accepts a delay. More specifically, Boris Johnson mentioned that: “If Parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen and instead gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in no circumstances can the government continue with this. And with great regret, I must say the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election”.

All the statements of the UK prime minister didn’t intimidate the MPs who voted against the fast-track legislation process leading to Boris Johnson’s defeat.

EU’s response

The EU has not yet responded to the UK prime minister regarding the Brexit extension of three-months and awaits the UK parliament’s decisions to take place. The “ball” is now on the EU court and will have to provide the requested extention to the UK for the legislation to be concluded and the UK parliament to approve the deal. The latter will occur of course in case the MPs find the “golden” solution to this long-lasting thorny issue.

European Council President Donald Tusk stated yesterday in Strasbourg that the extention request was under discussion with the EU leaders of the 27 member states and a decision will be made “in the coming days”. More specifically, President Tusk said: “A no-deal Brexit will never be our decision”. By saying so, Mr Tusk expressed the EU stance on Brexit but it remains to be seen for how long the EU will back up UK extending its exit from the Old Continent.

Will the EU extend Brexit?

As it seems Brexit is going to continue tormenting the EU and UK creating political and economic limbo to the EU edifice. So far both Theresa May and Boris Johnson were unable to come to an agreement with the EU which is ratified by the UK parliament. Will there be a prime minister who will conclude Brexit with a deal? The EU is most likely going to provide more time to Britain to find out a way to manage the procedure successfully and exit the bloc with an accord.

All in all, no wise man is willing to see the UK leaving the EU without striking a deal as it will be disastrous not only for the EU and UK but for the whole world as well.

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