Brexit, it hasn’t gone away you know
“What’s happening with Brexit?” It’s a fair question and one that does not have a straight answer. The Easter break took some of the attention off matters at hand, while also relieving some of the pent up pressure in London and Brussels, but the spectre looms large again.
Following the UK Government’s request for an additional extension, the European Council decided earlier this month to offer what has become known as a flextension.
If the talks between the UK Government and the opposition lead to the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement before the European Elections at the end of May then the UK will exit before the end of June and will not be required to participate in the European Elections.
Beyond that, the next and final deadline is Halloween, 31 October 2019. The intervening period is to allow for continued negotiations within the UK itself as well as other possible eventualities such as a possible General Election or even another referendum.
There is understandable frustration that a period of uncertainty remains, many companies have stock piled while others have postponed decisions.
However, from an Irish point of view, this flextension period should be viewed positively as most importantly it avoids an immediate crash out scenario. While there is no such thing as a good Brexit, a crash out scenario would be absolutely disastrous for Ireland, the UK and all of Europe.
The European negotiation team remains resolute that the Withdrawal Agreement will not be reopened and indeed many of the solutions proposed by the series of indicative votes in Westminster last month all relate to the future political relationship, an area where there is ample room for discussion but to get to that stage, the Withdrawal Agreement must be passed.
We return now to another period of Westminster watching while domestically intense preparations will continue to be made for all eventualities.
If you haven’t already, please check out www.gov.ie/brexit
For more information, please get in touch with your usual Whitney Moore contact or Emma Richmond.