Brexit at the crossroads

Britain's lack of agreement with the EU is the worst option for both London and Brussels

[caption id="attachment_21697" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Prime Minister T.May at a meeting of Parliament that voted against the EU withdrawal[/caption]

The British parliament on January 15 rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, reached at the end of November 2018 during the UK's talks with European officials. Now the UK government is considering all possible options for the soft British withdrawal from the EU. The Prime Minister has to submit the so-called "Plan B" to the Parliament on January 21.

According to experts, Britain's lack of agreement with the EU is the worst option for both London and Brussels. So, there are a lot of urgent appeals to hold the second Brexit referendum. However, Prime Minister T.May, who remained in place after the vote of no confidence on December 12, 2018, insists that the second vote is impossible in the conditions of the internal political crisis.

It is noteworthy that the Labour Party leader J.Corbyn shares T.May's opinion that is contrary to the majority of the Labour Party representatives (the official position of the Labour Party doesn't exclude the possibility of the second Brexit referendum, "if there are no any other opportunities"). This worsens Corbyn's political position and calls him into question as the opposition leader, while maintaining T.May's approval rating.

The ruling elites don't want a plebiscite, as it is almost impossible to predict the outcome of the vote: the mood of British voters on this issue is too changeable (if a referendum was held in the next few days, approximately 55% of the UK residents would prefer to stay in the EU, but a month ago, the voters would have probably chosen Brexit). But most importantly, the second referendum will inevitably provoke confrontation in political circles (to leave or to stay in the EU, to support T.May or not and so on). According to British experts, the minimum period for the referendum organization will be at least 3 months, which means that the vote will not be held until March 29, 2019.

T.May, who fears to lose political weight, publicly promised that Britain – with or without an agreement – would leave the European Union as planned by all means. But given the current situation, when Brussels representatives refuse to re-discuss the terms of the agreement, the British government may appeal to the EU in order to provide additional time for Brexit. This doesn't exclude the Lisbon Treaty, which states that the European Council, with the consent of the member state concerned, may extend the two-year period provisionally provided for the EU withdrawal.

Until that time, however, the current UK government may be called into question by the opposition. Already in the near future, T.May may face with the Labour Party's pressure.

The British people every day lose the opportunities of finding the best option for the EU withdrawal and interaction with the EU member states. This aggravates political and economic instability on a European scale.

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