the EU can’t easily be predicted.
The difficulty for the EU is that, long or short, any delay comes with complications. And this is where opinions in European capitals start to diverge.
If the UK hasn’t left the EU by May 22, it might have to take part in elections to the European Parli
amentary elections, which begin the following day. Not doing so could be a breach of the UK’s obligations as a
member state.And if that happens, there is a real concern in Brussels that hardline Euroskeptics could stand for elect
ion, in protest at Britain not yet having yet Brexited. They might find a receptive public, and in turn, join interesting new fr
iends in the European Parliament. Sound far fetched? An EU source recently told CNN of worries in Brussels that far-right figures like To
mmy Robinson could end up as Members of the European Parliament, with all the associated attention that brings.
So a short delay is the preferred option of many in Brussels, especially in the Parliament. But that brings its own set of issues. Fi
rst, there is no guarantee that by the end of it, the UK Parliament would have given a thumbs up to May’s deal. In reality, it cou
ld just mean a delay to a no-deal Brexit that almost everyone claims they want to avoid, but still remains the default legal position.