, 14 tweets, 3 min read
As EU watches open-mouthed the scenes in Westminster.. in Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Brussels and the rest - leaders are asking: What Next?? And since no one knows for sure, there’s some contingency planning going on /1
Chances of getting a deal with UK by the EU leaders’ mid Oct summit were never seen here to be high. Now contacts describe the likelihood as « pretty much nil ». Remember EU governments would need to see the text of a legally operable alternative to the backstop b4 the summit /2
So as to present it to their own governments before approving it. Right now the two sides are nowhere near agreement. EU doubts the PM willing at this stage to make big compromises and EU doesn’t see point in making big sacrifices right now because /3
With Parliament so divided - would majority of MPs approve a rushed Johnson-negotiated Brexit deal anyway?. is what they’re asking in Brussels. EU also put off compromising bc they believe a new Brexit extension till end of year is now likely even if Johnson is saying no /4
But EU recognises route to new extension is not straight-forward/guaranteed. Although UK law states the government has to request a new extension if a Brexit deal is not reached by mid October..if the PM refuses to ask for one, EU leaders normally have to listen to him /5
EU leaders’ interlocutor is HMG, still headed by Boris Johnson. EU sources point at Spain (and the Catalonia issue) as to why leaders alone and not parliaments represent member countries at the EU table BUT it’s messy. The EU has wanted to stay out of UK domestic politics /6
When it comes to the EU leaders’ summit they could find themselves slap bang in the middle of the fight between PM and Parliament. EU chief Brexit negotiator Barnier may be proud of his coffee mug which says « Keep Calm and Carry on Negotiating » on it but /7
This is a nail biter for the EU. Remember though that for EU leaders the deadline to get a new Brexit deal OR to agree a new extension with UK (nb the EU can’t impose a new extension on UK) is 31st Oc NOT the mid Oct summit /8
Always keen to kick can down road when agreement cant yet be reached, EU politicians and diplomats muse that Johnson cld make a big stand at summit, refuse to ask for extension (so as to ensure his hard Brexiteer image amongst voters he’s keen to attract in general elex)then../9
Resign, allowing caretaker government to ask EU for extension and call election.. EU hopeful a compromise #Brexit deal (in essence: Northern Ireland backstop minus by another name) could then be agreed by end of year- allowing for Brexit With a Deal .. BUT /10
We’re a long way off from that right now! Also interesting to note that EU lawyers are reluctant to give final answer to what EU does if receives one letter from the PM refusing to ask for an extension and one from the courts requesting one, as per UK law. Extension must /11
Be approved unanimously by all EU member states and the departing country. Remember in April extension, PM May asked for one, EU leaders said yes and UK Ambassador to UK, Tim Barrow officially accepted with a brief letter. What does he do next month if it comes to divisions? /12
This is the wording of Article 50 on an extension. It doesn’t specify here that extension request must come from gov, but rather from « departing member state » : « The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into /13
force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period «  /14
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