Four possible outcomes of the UK’s request for a Brexit delay
As British Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to delay Brexit, The Financial Times gives a look at the possible scenarios as a consensus in the bloc has yet to emerge over how to handle any British request. A request which will be considered in parallel with further votes in Westminster on the UK prime minister’s exit deal.
The scenarios the scenarios FT lists are the following:
- A relatively straightforward agreement to a delay in what FT calls a “democratic moment” in Britain that would secure approval for a longer extension and provide time for an election, a referendum or potentially a change of prime minister.
- An outright rejection which is currently considered the most probable. Official in various European capitals are now arguing that it may soon be time to draw a line under the Brexit saga rather than letting drag on with no end in sight. Some pan-EU political parties also see the merits of a hardline approach, and even a no-deal Brexit during the European election campaign, since it would demonstrate the consequences of anti-EU populism.
- A strict, conditional approach if more time is to be granted. Such an approach would make clear that negotiations on a withdrawal agreement would end and that no further extensions were possible. Officials in Brussels cast this as an extension with the stated purpose of preparing for a no-deal exit.
- The final possible outcome is a long extension this would allow the UK to rethink its approach to Brexit. This includes London considering options that had been taken off the table, like participation in the customs union and single market. An extension of at least nine months avoids the risk of EU leaders having to suffer the ordeal of Brexit extension requests at three-monthly intervals. In tactical terms, it would also act as a final counter-offer to Britain