19. March 2019
MPs support Brexit delay with unclear new time limit - second referendum rejected - new chances for UP&UPC with UK
This week there were several votes re Brexit in the UK parliament.
On March 12, 2019 the UK parliament voted 391 "No" to 242 "Yes" (for the second time) against the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU.
On March 13, 2019 the UK parliament voted 321 "No" to 278 "Yes" against a "No-Deal"-BREXIT, (i.e. leaving the EU on March 29, 2019 without any withdrawal agreement).
On March 14, 2019 the UK parliament voted 202 "No" to 412 "Yes" to request to extend the time limit for leaving the EU. However, until when the BREXIT will be delayed is unclear. PM Theresa May combines the question about the length of the delay with conditions.
She plans a third vote of UK's parliament regarding the withdrawal agreement by March 20, 2019 the latest. She also plans to present her request for the extension of time limit (cf. Art. 50 (3) TEU, second half of the sentence) around March 20 to 22, 2019, wherein March 21, 2019 seems to be plausible due to the EU Council Summit scheduled on that day.
Regarding the length of the delay, PM Theresa May plans to request a short extension of time limit until June 30, 2019, provided that UK's parliament approves the withdrawal agreement in the third vote on March 20, 2019. Although the next European elections, which give all adult EU citizens the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in the European Parliament, will already have taken place during May 23 to 26, 2019, the first constitutional meeting of the newly elected European Parliament is scheduled for around the end of June this year. Hence PM Theresa May thinks she can avoid a participation of the UK in the newly elected European Parliament with a short time-limit extension until June 30, 2019.
However, if the third vote about the withdrawal agreement should fail again, there are rumors that PM Theresa May may request a rather long extension of the time limit until December 31, 2020.
Please kindly note that there is no information available that PM Theresa May plans further negotiations with the EU in order to get an enhanced withdrawal agreement before March 20, 2019. Hence, it is difficult to imagine why the UK's parliament should now accept this withdrawal in a third vote after having rejected it during the first and second vote.
Moreover, the request for extension of the time limit under Article 50 TEU needs to be accepted unanimously by the Member States of the EU. However, the reactions of some Member States of the EU in the respective national press imply that an unanimous approval is not a clear thing.
If the Member States of the EU reject the request for the extension of the time limit, irrespective of whether a delay until June 30, 2019 or even until December 31, 2020 was requested, the result would be a "No-Deal"-BREXIT on March 29, 2019.
Despite this, there are no signals in the press that UK thinks about an exit from BREXIT with declaring a withdrawal of the former request to leave the EU (cf. decision of the ECJ in case No. C-621/18 regarding the legally theoretical possibility of ex parte withdrawing the BREXIT request without any statement of grounds).
Rather, on March 14, 2019 the UK parliament voted in a test vote with 334 "No" to 85 "Yes" (plus several abstentions) against a second referendum. Hence, there seems to be no real chance for the citizens of UK to explain with a second referendum how they now think about all this shemozzle.
Since every mess always contains some small glimmer of hope for positive outcomes - at least in the eyes of optimists - we can say that a delay of the BREXIT, even a short delay until June 30, 2019, would provide the German Constitutional Court with a little bit more time to decide about the pending constitutional complaint regarding the UPCA.
If the German Constitutional Court rejects said constitutional complaint as not admissible, and the German Government would hurry up and deposit its ratification document of the UPCA immediately, then we would still have a chance that the UP&UPC-project may start with the UK.