The British are hopelessly divided, the EU in turn refuses to renegotiate the 600-page withdrawal agreement strictly off. And the clock is ticking. Only three months left to find a viable solution.
Prime Minister Theresa May, who recently postponed the vote on the resignation treaty in the British Parliament, is now trying to make a mood for a reworking of the treaty in a „charm tour“ through Europe. Tuesday she was in Holland, had breakfast with Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Then she flew to Berlin to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. From Berlin she jetted to Brussels to confer with Commission President Jean Claude Juncker. But even the May issued a rejection in advance: „No renegotiation,“ Juncker said, „at best, clarifications and interpretations are conceivable.“
Between the meetings with Rutte, Merkel and Juncker, May telephoned Chancellor Kurz in his role as EU Council President. In the past few months May has visited London twice (see box). He flies to Brussels on Wednesday afternoon and will speak with the EU leaders about the new situation. This is followed by the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. Actually, the final Brexit contract should have been celebrated. Nothing will come of it.
Everything is currently going on an uncontrolled Brexit out. The Council of Ministers in Vienna, which is meeting today. at least prepares for the worst of all scenarios: the hard Brexit. Shortly before leaving for Brussels, an EU declaration will be issued in parliament. The following Brexit developments are possible at EU level:
1. Rectify: May negotiates again
To hope. May may still move the EU to improve the Brexit Treaty. A possible date for this would already be on Thursday at the summit of the EU heads of state and government in Brussels. That the 27 EU leaders engage in further discussions, but is considered unlikely. Eventually they could open the „Pandora’s Box“. With a new contract, May could perhaps change the British parliament.
2. Hard Brexit: Chaos, harm to all
Meltdown. If there is a Brexit without agreement, would abruptly cut off all relations between Brussels and London on 29 March 2019. Nothing would be settled: aircraft could remain on the ground, goods stuck in customs, travelers in border controls. All exports would collapse. There would be no collateral for companies. Only with emergency agreements could a complete mess be prevented.
3. Everything new: Second Brexit referendum
Reversal. Millions in the UK want a second Brexit referendum. This could make it possible to stay in the EU. May rejected this so far. Many May party members and parts of the opposition support another vote. However, Brussels would have to postpone the date of departure. In this case, too, time is running out: at the end of May there are European elections that would require British MPs to be elected. These would have to lose their jobs after the Brexit postponement.