May 2019 Brexit update

May 01, 2019
Cróna Clohisey give a run-down of the recent Brexit extension and what that means for Britain.

Following a nine-hour summit of the heads of state of the EU in Brussels last month, Brexit has been delayed until 31 October – seven months later than the original departure date of 29 March 2019. 

The UK Prime Minister had hoped to get a three-month extension and the result is shorter than the 12 months preferred by some EU leaders. 

Reports emerging from the summit suggest that the French President Emmanuel Macron was in favour of the Halloween extension. 

Emerging at 2:30am following extensive talks, European Council President Donald Tusk had a clear message to Britain: “This extension is as flexible as I expected, and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it’s still enough to find the best possible solution. Please do not waste this time.” 

The deadline can still be shortened if the UK Parliament passes a Brexit deal. Talks between the Conservative and Labour party continue, but this delay to 31 October does mean that the UK may very well have to contest the May European Parliament elections. Theresa May said she was hopeful of getting a Brexit deal before 22 May – meaning the UK wouldn’t have to partake in the elections. 

“I continue to believe we need to leave the EU, with a deal, as soon as possible… And vitally, the EU have agreed the extension can be terminated when the withdrawal agreement has been ratified… The choices we now face are stark, and the timetable is clear. We must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach a consensus,” she said.

The EU had a clear message emerging from the summit – the withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation.

The UK Parliament must agree on a way forward in the negotiations but the option to revoke Article 50 and effectively reverse Brexit remains on the table. 
Cróna Clohisey is a manager of tax and public policy at Chartered Accountants Ireland.