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The EU Council has the legal right to offer an extension to the 2 year A.50 notification period, for whatever reason it sees fit, but only by unanimous consent. Until such time as the A.50 notification period or any extension thereof granted by the EU Council expires, the UK remains, by definition, a member of the EU in good standing, and is subject to all the rights and obligations of the EU Treaties.

By my understanding, this incudes the right to rescind an A.50 notification, but also the obligation to organise the EP elections due next May in its territory, even if it subsequently turns out that the UK has left the EU before the EP is due to hold its first session, in which case the UK members of the EP duly elected will be unable to take their seats and their election will be deemed moot.

The EU can also choose to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations at a time of its choosing if it is so minded, but then again it may choose not to do so, as appears to be their choice at the present time.

Discussions on the accompanying "Political Declaration" are ongoing, with the UK seeking to give that declaration some legal force, something the EU has not been prepared to concede at the time of writing, particularly as the declarations the UK are seeking might be deemed to be in contradiction of aspects of that Withdrawal Agreement, as concluded last November.

If the choice for the UK becomes one between ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement and a Second referendum, with "no deal" ruled out, the EU will have little incentive to "sweeten the pill" of the Withdrawal Agreement, as its preferred option as always been no Brexit at all.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 28th, 2019 at 05:05:36 PM EST
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