“The European Council will start on Thursday (21.03.2019) afternoon with our usual exchange with President Tajani. We will then turn to Prime Minister May who will share her assessment of the latest developments regarding Brexit. After this, we will discuss the next steps concerning Brexit at 27″ Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council wrote in his open letter.
In the statement president Tusk underlined “..even if the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking – until the very last moment – a positive solution, of course without opening up the Withdrawal Agreement. We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events, and I am confident that, also now, we will not lack the same patience and goodwill, at this most critical point in this process.”
“I believe that we could consider a short extension conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons. The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension. Prime Minister May’s proposal, of the 30th of June, which has its merits, creates a series of questions of a legal and political nature”, Tusk continued, adding that the issues would be discussed during the European Council Summit #EUCO.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a “short delay” for departure of the UK from the EU in a letter to the European Council on March 20, Sky News cited an s senior government source. The move is feared by the Leavers to become a first step in a sequence of events leading to de facto cancellation the results of the Brexit referendum.
The request of delay, almost three years since Britons voted in referendum to leave the European Union, leads to the Brexit uncertainty with options of the a sequence of delays, mounting up to next five years of negotiations to produce a meaningful and mutually acceptable Article 50 Agreement. Some experts consider the delay in reality might become open-ended, without any definite deadline to respect, but causing by obligation of the UK to participate in the upcoming European elections, and engage in the next Brussels political cycle.
In need to postpone the formal Brexit date March 29 Prime Minister May has to apply to European Council President Donald Tusk, responsible for the EU Summit preparations to present the request to the heads of states and governments of the EU member-states on 21 of March.
However the length of the delay beyond May 24 inevitably leads to the engagement of the UK in the European elections, and the next political cycle in the EU, the move that the Leavers presume will jeopardise the entire Brexit process for years to come.
There are also concerns among the European politicians about the import the Westminster political crisis to Brussels, affecting the future of the bloc. The president of the EU Council Donald Tusk indicated via his Twitter micro blog, that ‘no-deal‘ Brexit, or the break with the UK without any agreement, is still on the cards.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said the government can’t have another meaningful vote on Article 50 deal unless changes made.
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament representative for Brexit negotiations has responded to the Westminster decision with a rhetoric question on cross-party talks: ” It is time for country to come before party!“, he insisted.
Penalised by a further decline in France and the United Kingdom, champagne sales fell in 2018 to their lowest level since 2004 in the number of bottles shipped from the cellars.
For the first time in a hundred years, volumes sold in France were lower than those sold for export outside the EU.
“The decline in volume is becoming a little worrying, the decline in France and the United Kingdom is not offset by the rise of large export;” said Jean-Marie Barillère, co-chairman of the CIVC.
The appellation, which sold 301.9 million bottles last year, a figure down 1.8%, however managed to stabilize its turnover at a record level of 4.9 billion euros ( + 0.3%) reached in 2017, according to figures released March 17 by the Interprofessional Champagne Wine Committee (CIVC).
In France, sales continued their slide in a sluggish economic environment and leaded at the end of the year by the movement of Yellow vests.
Although there is an understanding that Brexit without a legal framework would be a catastrophe, the ‘open end‘ extension of Article 50 is not considered as an option for Members of European Parliament (MEP), who consider it would import British political crisis from the Westminster, and block the development of the European Union. There is also a concern that Brexit crisis might ‘hijack‘ the European elections, imposing its own agenda.While the MEPs recommend, it is up to the European Council to decide if an extension can be granted, and for what period of time.
Julie GIRLING, MEP (EPP, UK), explains that the request to shift the UK departure deadline (March 29) might be refused as a result of the alliance between Matteo Salvini Eurosceptic Lega and Nigel Farage Brexit party, insisting “Leave means leave’“.
The European Parliament representative for Brexit talks Guy Verhofstadt said there can not be a deadline extension beyond March 29 in absence of clarity of the position of the majority in House of Commons. The statement was made after consultations with Michel Barnier the EU chief negotiator.
Guy Verhofstad MEP warned off the European elections ‘hijacked‘by Brexit crisis, replacing political debate on European issues by political struggle in Westminster.
“The EU has done everything it can to help get the Withdrawal Agreement over the line. The impasse can only be solved in the #UK. Our “no-deal” preparations are now more important than ever before” said top EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier via his Twitter micro blog.
“I regret the outcome of tonight’s #Brexitvote. It is disappointing that the UK government has been unable to ensure a majority for the Withdrawal Agreement agreed by both parties in November, even after multiple additional assurances from the EU. A solution must come from London” wrote Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime minister.
European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstad blamed the UK for the failure to deliver orderly departure under Article 50.