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But what if the actual Brexit deal, approved by Westminster parliament and by qualified majority vote in the EU Council, provided for (say) 5 years continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union after which both parties could agree to "review" the deal, with the review including all options, including all options up to and including full membership of the EU?

This is a zero probability event. The UK is definitely leaving the EU, only the date may be uncertain. It is silly to think that everyone in the Council wishes to keep the UK in the EU, or that the UK leaving is prejudicial. A transition period may come to be, but it will not reverse Article 50.

Worst case, the UK is gone anyway once the A50 period elapses, so give them as little as possible and make exiting the EU utterly unattractive for any future discontented EU member.

Leaving the EU is not unattractive per se, it is leaving the EEA that is. What drives the Council is not the will to make it as bad as possible for the UK, but rather to guarantee that existing rules remain in place. Losing a member as important as the UK can not possibly justify a regression to the level integration achieved so far.  

You might find me At The Edge Of Time.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2017 at 03:34:23 PM EST

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