EU officials are preparing to hold a special Brexit on April 10 in order to give Theresa May one final opportunity to request a lengthy Article 50 extension. But if the Prime Minister refuses to extend Britain’s stay in the bloc, leaders will use the talks to consolidate their no-deal Brexit plans. The emergency talks will be attached to an EU-China summit on April 9 when EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk host Chinese president Xi Jinping in the Belgian capital.
It means Mrs May appears to have until April 8 to come to a decision on how to proceed, if she is to be ready for the emergency summit.
Britain can quit the bloc as early as April 12 unless Mrs May commits to holding European Parliament elections in Britain.
The date was previously considered the final deadline for the Prime Minister to make the decision but EU leaders will demand an earlier announcement to let them prepared.
Officials were left frustrated ahead of last week’s European Council where EU leaders were “ill-prepared” to discuss Mrs May’s request to delay Brexit.
The leaders’ closest aides will place extra pressure on Mrs May by demanding her action plan ahead of the April 10 summit in order to avoid a repeat, which resulted in seven-hour negotiations over the delay.
Brussels is resigned to accepting no-deal Brexit due to the political chaos in Westminster.
EU ambassadors met today in order to “war game” the bloc’s strategy in the event of a hard Brexit and the terms they will accept to starting talks with Britain to avert further crisis.
They set out the price for which they will allow Britain back to the negotiating table in the event of a hard Brexit, according to a diplomatic note obtained by Express.co.uk.
The senior diplomats demanded that Britain would be expected to settle its £39billion divorce bill and implement the Northern Irish backstop before Brussels considers starting trade talks.
The EU27 is “preparing the crisis structure and conditionality for the EU to return to the table after Brexit,” according to the memo.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, after briefing the EU ambassadors, told Express.co.uk that he is prepared for a no-deal divorce.
He said: “We are working and we are ready.
“Yesterday, we had many noes and now we are waiting for a yes.”
According to the diplomatic note, the EU expects Britain to request fresh negotiations relatively quickly in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“The expectation is that the UK will come back pretty soon with an ask to ensure the vital lines and procedures needed for the UK economy to survive,” the memo reads.
“To avoid the EU27’s unity breaking at that stage, the EU is now already discussing what their price is for entering those discussions.”
Published at Thu, 28 Mar 2019 15:13:00 +0000