News World Latest Brexit twist leaves EU expecting another delay beyond Oct.31

Latest Brexit twist leaves EU expecting another delay beyond Oct.31

A damning UK Supreme Court ruling against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week has rekindled discussion within the European Union about another delay to Brexit, with the bloc drawing a line in the sand of mid-2020 at the latest.

The British parliament resumed on Wednesday after the court ruled that the chamber had been unlawfully suspended by Johnson, who insists he will take Britain out of the EU on Oct.31 – with or without a deal to manage the fallout.

But British lawmakers reject the most damaging, no-deal Brexit and, back at work, will now have more chance to upset Johnson’s plans.

With the divorce deal stalled, the EU is expecting another delay to Britain’s departure date after it was already postponed twice from the original March deadline.

“We are in favour of an extension if we also see what is the way forward, will there be a general election, a second referendum, will there be a Withdrawal Agreement,” said Guy Verhofstadt, an EU lawmaker dealing with Brexit.

“I think that there is unanimity…to say ‘OK, let’s go forward with an extension if there is a clear path to a solution and unwinding of the situation we have today’,” he told EU lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon.

With a national election expected in Britain by the end of the year, the bloc currently sees that as the most likely justification of anther lag – a decision that would require the unanimity of the 27 states staying on.

The problem is, however, that Britain would need to request such an extension, which Johnson vows never to do and EU Brexit watchers speculate about him possibly stepping aside to let someone else make the step.

Under the law, the EU could also formally demand a delay – which Britain would need to agree to for it to take effect.

But diplomats and officials dealing with Brexit in the bloc’s hub Brussels ruled out such a possibility, saying it would risk feeding Johnson’s rhetoric about distant elites trying to frustrate the will of the people.


With many question marks over the fate of Brexit lingering three years since Britons voted out, EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Oct.17-18 will discuss the desirable length of any such delay.

The British prime minister will not be allowed in the room.

The House of Commons has passed a law demanding that London seeks a postponement until the end of January 2020 to avoid an abrupt split on Oct.31 should no new divorce deal be reached at the EU summit in three weeks time.

“January may be a bit too soon for us,” said one EU diplomat. “It is far from clear that Britain would be able to sort itself out by then and we would risk another summit at the turn of the year to push back another no-deal prospect.”

“A six-month delay until the end of March might be better for us,” the person said under condition of anonimity.

Brexit weighs heavily on the EU’s work on its next long-term budget from 2021 and several diplomats said there could be no more extensions beyond mid-2020, when the bloc needs to have clarity on whether Britain would go on paying.

“It could be one long or two shorter ones. Regardless, the cut-off date is in the middle of next year because we need to be able to finalise our own budget in the second half of 2020 at the latest,” said a senior EU diplomat.

A third diplomat stressed the message: “We have no problems with extensions as long as they do not impede with us finalising the budget, which must happen in the second half of 2020.”

Another risk for granting Britain an extension next month is the more hawkish stance by French President Emmanuel Macron who, backed by the increasingly expasperated Belgian and Luxembourg leaders, has opposed granting the latest delay until Oct.31.

His camp stresses the cost of protracted uncertainty in terms of sapping the EU’s political capital and attention needed to face challenges from climate to migration to international crises, as well as economic cost for companies who have invested in expensive contingency preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

“This is a nightmare,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said at the top of his voice in an emotional speech this week that highlighted the EU’s growing fatigue with the tortuous process. “People would love to have clarity.”

Despite that, most EU diplomats and officials currently believe the bloc would grant Britain another Brexit lag – should London request it – to avoid taking the blame for disruptions expected in any no-deal split.

Top Stories

164 new cases, one death announced on Tuesday

 The Health Ministry announced the death of one person due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 176,...

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Wednesday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Wednesday, 20 January 2021:   LIMASSOL Parking place Sklavenitis supermarket, Germasogia 08:30-16:30 Grigoris Afxentiou Square 08:30-16:30 Parking place...

Italy’s Mount Etna erupts at night time

Long streams of red-hot lava flowed down Mount Etna as Europe's tallest and most active volcano erupted again.   At 10,926 feet, Etna is the continent's...

Cyprus secures another 565,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines

Through additional procedures of the European Commission, Cyprus secured another 565,000 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, increasing the number of orders from the specific company...

Everything ready for inoculations among enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites

All necessary arrangements have been made to start inoculating against COVID-19 the enclaved population and those who repatriated in the Karpas peninsula and the...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...