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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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