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Of course any extension requires unanimity and only one country could block it. At the moment France is the country making the most disgruntled noises, and the most likely to block an extension. But to what purpose? A No deal Brexit is in no ones interest, and it seems highly unlikely May's deal could be passed in a week.
A strong showing by Remain supporters in the EP elections could undermine the whole rationale for Brexit and puncture the Brexiteer's balloon. Of course a formal referendum or general election would be preferable but the former would be like asking May to commit political suicide, and the latter would take longer to organise.
But there is a process underway and some progress has been made, with May accepting the UK would have to hold, at a minimum, EP elections and accepting that the Withdrawal Agreement is now set in stone. Wait a little longer and a general election or formal confirmation vote may not be far behind.
If a No deal Brexit is to occur, it must be a UK choice. That would enable the EU to play really hard ball in any trade or other negotiations to come.
Index of Frank's Diaries
Of course any extension requires unanimity and only one country could block it. At the moment France is the country making the most disgruntled noises, and the most likely to block an extension.
The only thing to do, if no last minute change, is a hard cold assessment of the least damaging options for the EU27; and the EU Council knows full well there are only bad options: the challenge will be to decide the least bad...
As bad as a no-deal Brexit would be damaging to Ireland, it will be hard on the other countries as well: Germany exports a lot of cars to the UK, The Netherlands and Belgian Flanders also rely a lot on exports to the UK, with the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp literally facing Britain. France has quite some skin in that too: the main links between Britain and the Continent, the Dover-Calais link and Eurotunnel are all located in northern France and new customs controls would be a nightmare.
As much as it is desirable for everyone that the UK finally accepts the WA, the alternatives must also be considered: this is no disgruntlement, just risk assessment and contingency planning.
Well, who does? No one in Dublin either, right?
One of the main reasons behind Macron's impatience with Brexit delays and the push to get it over with, one way or another, is due to election posturing: Macron fears a protracted Brexit will favor the Euro-skeptic parties at the EP elections next month. The whole kicking of the can down the road is also, in Macron's thinking, delaying other projects for the EU that he's been so eagerly pushing.
Anyway, Macron is not alone in the EU and in the end, he had to follow the majority.
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