Yes, she wants to do it again: May will put her Brexit deal to the vote for the third time next week. She creates a horror scenario for the hardliners. A postponement of the Brexit is not a matter of course for the EU.
Anyone who was calm after the three parliamentary votes in London in the last week in the Brexit conflict is wrong. It is not over yet. May is still here, the British are still in the EU and the tug of war is entering a new round.
Next week the British prime minister wants to resume her EU-negotiated Brexit treaty. She crashed into parliament twice, but now the fearless Theresa May makes a third attempt. She hopes that the prospect of a postponement of the Brexit – perhaps months or even years – the hardliners still voted and reluctantly voted for the contract, including the controversial pursuits.
Dread scenario for Brexit hardliners
And May has outlined a scenario that would look like die-hard Brexit fans like a horror film: with a renewed no to their deal, Britain would have to participate despite the desired EU exit in the European elections in May. "There is no stronger symbol for Parliament's collective political failure," she wrote in the Sunday Telegraph. If it rejects the Brexit treaty, Britain will "not leave the EU for many months, or not at all".
If, on the other hand, the Parliament agrees, it would simply call for a "short technical extension" of the EU repeal scheduled for 29 March in Brussels. Although this was "not an ideal outcome", the population would "accept" this as an intermediate step to the Brexit.
Print shows effect
And the increasing pressure is having an effect. May conservative party representative Daniel Kawczynski said he wanted to vote for the May plan this time. MEP Esther McVey has also announced on Sky News to vote for the contract. The ally with the May Irish Democratic Unionists (DUP), which ten MPs had decided not to decide at the weekend whether they would vote against the contract again. Overall, May needs to receive at least 75 additional MPs to support them compared to last week's vote.
But because nothing is certain in the Brexit dispute, there are also doubts as to whether there will be a vote at all. May will only ask for the vote if they believe they can win, Commerce Minister Liam Fox told Sky News.
So far, however, it is expected that May bring their Brexit treaty back to Parliament next Tuesday. The Lower House voted last Thursday to postpone the planned March 29 for a maximum of three months. However, this depends on the fact that MEPs agree this week with the Brexit treaty. Last week, opponents of the draft treaty outpaced supporters by 149 votes, and in the first vote in January there were even 230 votes.
Conflict around the backstop
The breach between opponents and supporters of the Mays Brexit Convention ignites mainly on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Everyone is united in the goal of avoiding far-reaching controls and restrictions on the movement of people and goods at the border on the Irish island. However, the EU insists that under these circumstances Northern Ireland should remain in the customs union with the EU until a trade agreement has been concluded between the UK and the EU. Many British parliamentarians, however, reject this because they fear it will be subject to Britain's EU rules indefinitely.
Brexit delay – only under conditions
The EU is more and more irritated by the British. But EU politicians and Brexit hardliners unite the fear of the consequences of leaving without a contract. Because in this case, over the years, mature trade relations are abruptly exposed to enormous obstacles. It is feared that a hard Brexit could cause an economic slump.
But a postponement of the Brexit cannot be taken for granted, not even in Brussels. "If the British need an extension, we also need to know why," said European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans of the Funke Media Group. As long as that is not clear, the Brexit can only be delayed for a few weeks. During this time the British should explain what they wanted. Only then could we speak of an extension of a few months. The federal minister of foreign affairs, Heiko Maas, reacted in the same way.
But some EU officials also favor postponing until the end of 2020, including EU President Donald Tusk: in view of the political blockade in London, he proposed a Brexit service of at least one year. This should give the country sufficient time to reconsider its strategy.
The EU summit is on Thursday and Friday. A shift should be accepted by all 27 remaining Member States.