What Happened: EU leaders are reportedly ready to make small modifications to the Brexit deal if British legislators reject the agreement in Parliament, Reuters reported Dec. 5. In addition, it is rumored that the European Union is willing to extend its negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 of the EU Treaty to avoid a no-deal Brexit, The Telegraph reported Dec. 5. This comes as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has announced that it will issue its final ruling on whether the United Kingdom can unilaterally revoke its withdrawal process from the European Union on Dec. 10, one day before the scheduled vote in the British House of Commons, EUobserver reported Dec. 6.
Why It Matters: While a full renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement is unlikely, the European Union could offer modifications to the deal to make it more acceptable to British legislators. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that the agreement will not be renegotiated, but it is possible that she will change her position if the House of Commons rejects the deal. Since the ECJ will issue its ruling before the Dec. 11 vote in Parliament, legislators will decide on the agreement knowing whether the Brexit process can be aborted.
Background: On Nov. 13, the United Kingdom and the European Union reached agreement on a Brexit deal that includes plans to keep the United Kingdom in a customs arrangement with the European Union until the sides reach a better solution so as to prevent the establishment of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The British Parliament is scheduled to vote on the Brexit deal on Dec. 11.
- What's Next for the U.K. If Parliament Shoots Down the Brexit Deal? (Dec. 4, 2018)
- Brexit Negotiations Have Yielded An Agreement. What's Next? (Nov. 15, 2018)
- Banking After Brexit: Who Will Be the New London? (Oct. 30, 2018)