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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.
Don't count on it: Macron is not going to blow the EU27 unity up, let alone the Franco-German axis at this crucial turning point. Of course, he's been playing bad cop to Merkel's good cop, but when push comes to shove, the priority is damage control, as Tusk put it clearly two years ago. And the French diplomats and EU commissioners have proven to be quite good team players (Exhibit A: Barnier, Michel).

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.

by Bernard on Sat Apr 6th, 2019 at 05:36:09 PM EST
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France playing bad cop is more or less what I thought. France hates being taken for granted by the Brits. But the whole situation is still an accident waiting to happen. What if some loose cannon (Victor Orban?) or someone with a grudge just loses patience and decides to make a point?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Apr 6th, 2019 at 09:15:31 PM EST
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France hates being taken for granted by the Brits.

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.

by Bernard on Sat Apr 13th, 2019 at 08:52:57 PM EST
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What Orban and every other tinpot populist Fearless Leader in the EU realizes, at least on some level, is that the euro isn't really a sovereign currency for the EU but rather for Germany and so is controlled not from Brussels but from Berlin.  That means Germany gets to tell Hungary and everyone else out there in Exploitableland what stakes they need to bring to sit at the table.  The Germans have finally figured out it's easier, cheaper, and more reliable to invade a country with money than with panzers.  That said, it's still a bad idea to piss them off.  Perhaps even worse, because any resulting chaos will be internal to your country and the result of treaty terms.  "Who controls the money hose, controls the EU!"  [Apologies to Frank Herbert.]
by rifek on Sat Apr 13th, 2019 at 10:33:55 PM EST
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Yeah, the euro core all has a stake and an interest in damage limitation. Though, if they conclude that the damage is least through extension, the urgency of the matter means it would create leverage for disgruntled, peripheral members to threaten a veto unless they get their way on other issues.
by fjallstrom on Sat Apr 6th, 2019 at 10:33:52 PM EST
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Other matters like squeezing the Italian economy: EU says Italy's slower growth might trigger spending freeze
by fjallstrom on Sun Apr 7th, 2019 at 10:51:37 AM EST
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The snake of German preference of austerity for others raises its head again. EU governance is so grand. (For 'others' read any but wealthy Germans.) And the proponents of such policies keep getting elected. It makes one despair of the prospects for representative government.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Apr 8th, 2019 at 01:31:38 AM EST
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