EU Court Throws Wrench Into Fraught Brexit Debate

A senior official of the European Union’s highest court opined on Tuesday that Britain could unilaterally change its mind about its block divorce, which boosted the hopes of pro-European activists in the UK that the process towards Brexit would be it can brake.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government insists it will never reverse the decision to leave, but May faces a tough battle to get Parliament’s support before lawmakers vote next week on whether to accept or reject the agreement. Divorce negotiated with the block.

The defeat would leave the United Kingdom in the face of a chaotic Brexit “without agreement” and could bring down the prime minister, her government, or both.

Attorney General Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona told the Court of Justice of the European Union that a possible decision of the British government to change its mind about the invocation of Article 50 would be legally valid. The assessment of the general counsel is often, but not always, followed by the Court.

The court is weighing the matter through an emergency procedure given that Britain will officially separate from the bloc on March 29, 2019. The final decision will be known in the coming weeks.

Given that Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which deals with the departure of countries from the bloc, is sparing in details _ mainly because it did not contemplate that any member state wanted to leave the EU _ a group of Scottish legislators wants to know to what extent Britain it can backtrack unilaterally in the process.

In a long-awaited opinion, the attorney general reported that Article 50 “allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to leave the EU”.

The consultation gives those in favor of staying in the EU the hope of being able to backtrack on the decision adopted in 2016.

“This makes the decision about our future back in the hands of our own elected representatives, where it belongs,” said Jo Maugham, one of the lawyers who presented the case.

The Commission and the Council of the European Union are against a unilateral revocation and requested an additional unanimous agreement of the remaining members.

While the court is studying the case, opponents of the Brexit increase the pressure to hold a second referendum on the decision to leave the bloc.

In London, Prime Minister Theresa May will put the fate of the Brexit agreement in the hands of Parliament, noting that the deputies must back it up to comply with the decision of the voters to leave the EU and “create a new role for our country in the world ”

May is expected to address the House of Commons on Tuesday to begin five days of debate that will culminate in the vote on the divorce agreement between London and Brussels on December 11.

If the document is not ratified, Britain would face a chaotic Brexit “without agreement” that could end up with the prime minister, her government or both.

Before the debate, the May executive faces another obstacle with lawmakers for legal advice for the Brexit agreement. The disputed vote a motion to declare the government in absentia for refusing to publish the full advice of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

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Supriya Bhor

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