EU official says ‘no-deal’ vote will not halt Brexit

EU official says ‘no-deal’ vote will not halt Brexit

STRASBOURG, France – The Associated Press
EU official says ‘no-deal’ vote will not halt Brexit

The European Commission has warned Britain’s Parliament that voting against Brexit happening without a withdrawal deal in place isn’t enough and lawmakers must approve the deal, too.

Britain’s Parliament has voted to reject having the country leave the European Union without a divorce agreement, a decision that lessens but does not remove the chance of a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit.

The vote on March 13 also increases the chances that Britain’s exit from the bloc will be delayed.

British lawmakers voted 312 to 308 for a motion that “rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future relationship.”

An official from the EU’s executive branch noted on March 13 that the bloc already reached a divorce deal with Prime Minister Theresa May and the House of Commons rejected it - twice.

The official asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the unresolved situation.

Parliament voted on March 13 to reject leaving the EU as scheduled on March 29 if it hasn’t approved an agreement.

The EU official said: “There are only two ways to leave the EU: with or without a deal. The EU is prepared for both. To take no deal off the table, it is not enough to vote against no deal - you have to agree to a deal.”

British PM May said Parliament will vote on March 14 on whether to seek a delay to Britain’s March 29 departure from the European Union.

May said lawmakers are at the point where they must approve a withdrawal agreement in coming days and request a short postponement to Brexit day or request a “much longer” extension from the EU to negotiate a new arrangement.

The prime minister warned that a long extension would mean Britain would have to take part in European Parliament elections in late May.

She says this is not her preferred outcome and urged Parliament to “face up” to the consequences of the decisions it has made.

Macron: Regrettable

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said the British Parliament’s second rejection of May’s Brexit agreement with the European Union is “regrettable.”

Macron, who was in Kenya’s capital on March 13, said during a news conference that the EU spent months negotiating the deal and now only Britain can steer a course for leaving the bloc since “the solution to the current impasse is in London.”

The French leader said EU negotiators would look at any request from the U.K. to postpone Brexit, which is set for March 29.

But Macron warned that the 27 remaining member countries wouldn’t automatically agree to an extension.

He said the British government has “to explain to us what the point of it is, and in particular whether it adds anything.”