Amidst growing concerns about the possibility that an agreement on Brexit would not be reached between the UK and the EU, suggestions that the Brexit negotiations could be extended beyond 2019 was made by Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
The official deadline for the two parties to arrive at an agreement for Brexit is March 29, 2019. On that date, the UK would officially no more be recognized as a member of the EU. Both the parties are required finalize their future relationships in terms of trade, movement of people, migration etc. after the date as soon as possible. But that process has been hard to complete because of politics and complexity related to Brexit. M,any analysts are now predicting that there would be no deal at all before the cut off date.
Speaking to the BBC’s “Today” radio show, Coveney said a request for extension of Brexit negotiations would not be opposed by the Irish government.
“I don’t believe Britain crashing out of the EU without any agreed process is likely to happen … There is an obligation on me, and others, to instill some positivity into this negotiation process rather than political standoffs which is what we’ve seen to date,” he said.
Such an extension would however only be of value if there are good reason to conclude that both eth parties would be able to arrive at “a sensible agreement” within the extended period, said Coveney even while saying that the government being open to the extension.
“An extension of the Brexit talks beyond March 2019 is legally possible, but requires the agreement of all 27 remaining EU member states as well as the U.K.,” Roger Matthews, a senior international trade lawyer at law firm Dechert LLP, said.
“The U.K. has so far been against countenancing making any such request, and a change to this position would be politically awkward; but the government may come around to seeing it as the least bad option,” he added.
Right now, the target fore both the parties is to ensure that the Brexit talks are concluded within this year which would give some time to some of the EU member states to get the deal ratified with their respective parliaments for its official implementation.
Till now both the parties have come to an agreement to allow the continuance of the European law within the UK till the end of 2020. This would give a chance for businesses and citizens to adapt to a post-Brexit context. But this is also dependent on the ultimate result of the Brexit negotiations.
There was no comment available from the European Commission — the executive arm of the EU.
(Adapted from IrishTimes.com)