The deadlock over Britain’s exit from Europe remains intractable. The latest news is that the British Parliament «is likely» to receive a proposal to launch a second «de-Europe» referendum and will discuss it.
Supporters of the second referendum argue that in the first referendum, the British did not have a special understanding of the so-called «de-Europeanism» and could not determine its consequences. The two-year hard process of «leaving Europe» has given us a deeper understanding of this and we can rationally determine our own choices.
However, the question raised by the second referendum is: is this still the proud «democracy» of the West? If someone disagrees with the result of the second referendum and asks for another referendum, what should be done? That is why British Prime Minister Teresa May firmly opposed the second referendum.
According to the original timetable, Britain should officially break up with the EU on March 29 this year. However, the government was forced to apply to the EU for an extension of the EU’s exit period because the agreement between Britain and the EU reached in November last year was repeatedly rejected by the House of Commons of the British Parliament.
Last week, the EU held an emergency summit, and the parties finally reached a compromise on the new terms and conditions for Britain’s exit from Europe, allowing Britain to implement a «flexible extension of the exit», i.e. the extension of the «exit from Europe» for up to six months, until October 31; during the extension period, the rights and interests of the EU member States of the UK are unrestricted, and they can leave ahead of time depending on the approval of the «exit from Europe» agreement.
The «Flexible Delayed Euro Delay» program gives the government a temporary breathing space. But at present, there are different opinions within government, and there are serious differences within the Conservative Party where Prime Minister Teresa May belongs. May completely lost control of the Conservative Party because of repeated vetoes by the British Parliament.
Unfortunately, the British government turned to the opposition Labour Party and sought to cooperate with it to break the deadlock of «breaking away from Europe». Labour is more inclined to the so-called «soft disengagement», that is, to maintain closer ties with the EU through a single market and customs union. However, these contents were opposed by the «hard-line de-Europeans» within the Conservative Party, so the bilateral consultation progressed slowly. British Cabinet Office Secretary David Liddington said recently that negotiations between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party are still ongoing, hoping to reach agreement on a range of options and provide Parliament with a preferred option rather than voting against everything.
So can Britain complete its «de-Europe» within six months? It is hard to predict, because the prospects for negotiations between the May’s government and the Labour Party are unpredictable. If the negotiations fail, considering that the British Parliament has voted to refuse an agreement to leave Europe, where will Britain go?
The EU is also anxious about this situation, complaining that it has consumed a lot of energy and time. British media say EU leaders «prefer to focus on their own future, rather than continuing internal discussions for a country trying to leave them.» In addition, the European Parliament elections will be held from 23 to 26 May. If Britain is still uncertain about whether and how to break away from Europe before then, it will theoretically have to participate in the European Parliament elections.
European Commission President Juncker will retire in November and European Council President Tusk will step down in December. At that time, EU leaders will nominate new candidates, which will be approved by the European Parliament. At the same time, the EU also needs to decide on the size of its budget from 2021 to 2027. According to British media, the EU does not want to be hindered by Britain in the future. Some EU delegates are even worried that «disgruntled British delegates may prevent the EU from making progress on a series of important issues in the European Parliament.»
It has been noted that Tusk, the President of the European Council, shouted to his British friends after announcing the new timetable for «leaving Europe»: «Please don’t waste this time».