“EU avoided being caught in panic and has to decide itself on the way forward for Brexit” – PM
The United Kingdom will not exit the European Union today week, but possibly in three weeks’ time – on the 12th April – in case the House of Commons next week will again vote against Brexit agreement. If on the other hand, British MPs vote in favour, the new Brexit date will be the 22nd May, on the eve of the European Parliament elections.
Leaders of the 27-member states agreed on this new schedule for Brexit after UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, requested an extension till the 30th June. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that with this agreement, the European Union avoided being caught in a panic and to decide itself the way forward for Brexit.
The EU has given Theresa May the last chance to try to achieve consensus in Parliament in the coming days on the Brexit agreement she negotiated, with the hope that on the 22nd May the United Kingdom exists the European Union with an agreement and in an orderly manner, as May wishes.
Theresa May stated “I hope we can all agree we are now at the moment of decision and I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward”.
In case the House of Commons once again votes against this agreement for the third time, EU leaders gave the British Government till the 12th April to indicate what it will do, including whether it will exit without agreement, to stop the Brexit process or if it will request a longer extension which will immediately entail the UK to organize the European Parliament elections within two more months.
European Council President Donald Tusk said “if it it has not decided to do so by then, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible”.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that the agreed new schedule by EU leaders addresses the concern of some of them, including himself, that the European Union might be faced with a problem in case there will be another negative vote in the House of Commons next week. However, the leaders have now given the last chance to the UK to decide the way forward for its exit from the EU.
Joseph Muscat said “to have a situation in which the EU finds itself with its back against the wall, which has to take a decision within 24 hours and practically decides itself for the United Kingdom. This has now been reversed as through this double deadline, the UK is given the message that it has to take decisions that they themselves are concerned with”.
Following the events of Thursday evening, early today the EU leaders celebrated the 25th anniversary of the European Economic Area, the arrangement that Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein made as non-EU countries, but have arrangements with the EU – an area which the United Kingdom, following Brexit, might join with.
The Prime Minister stated “if the UK joins the EEA, one of the red lines which they themselves made will be broken – that concerns the free movement of persons”.
The conclusion of this important summit in the history of the European Union probably will be the last one for the UK as member of the EU, a summit which gave a clear signal to the UK on its future direction for Brexit and which will certainly have an enormous impact on coming generations.