Advice, published by the European Parliament’s legal service, addresses EU concerns that the assembly will be plunged into chaos if Britain remains a member state past July 2, the inauguration date of MEPs following elections in May. While diplomats and officials are expecting Mrs May to request an extension to the Article 50 exit clause, which allows for a two-year negotiation, before Britain leaves the bloc – deal or no deal. But member states remain divided over how long the Prime Minister should be allowed to afforded to conclude the Brexit negotiations.
British officials are yet to table a formal request to extend Article 50 but have discussed the possibility with their counterparts in Brussels as Mrs May holds cross-party talks to build a parliamentary consensus after MPs rejected her Brexit deal by 432 votes to 202.
Questions have been raised on an EU-level on the possible length of any extension because of the upcoming European elections and the selection process for Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor as Commission president.
Britain would be expected to organise its own European elections in order to send 73 MEPs to take up their seats in the EU Parliament if the country remains a member of the bloc.
“The possibility for the European Parliament to be validly constituted following the 2019 elections would not be affected by a potential failure by the UK to organise elections,” the EU Parliament’s legal paper states.
But if the Government fails to arrange the vote, it could potentially be sued by the EU Commission or by citizens for failing to meet its treaty obligations.
Without a vote, existing British MEPs would remain in place but unable to take their seats when the new assembly is brought together.
The remaining 27 member states would maintain the same number of MEPs as they currently have and then the chamber would finally be reorganised once Britain had left the EU.
Express.co.uk understands that the possibility of an army of British MEPs being an elected has split member states.
The Dutch are likely to push for any extension to only last to June, which would exclude the possibility of British participation in the EU elections.
But Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has publicly speculated that Mrs May will ask for an extension of Article 50 that could go beyond the elections.
He revealed that he expects the Prime Minister to tell other EU leaders that “we’re going to take some more time to renegotiate something”.
He added: “May be they will take more time and step over the European elections in order to find something else.”
Germany have also softened on the prospect of allowing Britain to prolong its membership if it lessens the prospect of a no-deal divorce.
Parliamentary sources believe the current crop of MEPs could also push back on Britain being allowed to participate in the EU elections.
They fear that “73 Nigel Farages” could be elected as furious Brexiteers vent their anger at Britain’s delayed divorce.
The potential delay has also prompted speculation that Mr Juncker could remain in a “caretaker” role as Commission president until the end of the Brexit process.
Mr Juncker’s successor will be decided once his fixed term as EU boss comes to an end on October 31.
Source : EXPRESS