The United Kingdom can unilaterally decide to stop the Brexit and remain in the European Union. This is the opinion of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice.
The non-binding opinion was expressed by Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice. The court will make its final decision at a later date. The advice of the Advocate General is often followed. However, the question is to what extent it remains a theoretical discussion. For the time being, the British government does not intend to stop the brexit at all.
Some eight Scottish politicians wanted to know whether the UK also had the option to cancel the entire process and simply remain a member of the EU. The court in Scotland that will have to pass judgment has passed on the question to the European Court in Luxembourg.
Advocate General Campos Sanchez-Bordona now considers in his opinion that the United Kingdom can unilaterally withdraw the invocation of Article 50. Unanimous approval from the other EU countries is not necessary for this. That was, however, the position of the European institutions. According to these institutions, lawyers could abuse Article 50 to enforce better membership conditions under the threat of an exit from the EU.
But that reasoning does not follow the Advocate General of the Court of Justice. On the contrary, according to him, the decision of a Member State to reverse Article 50 can not be made dependent on unanimity within the remaining EU countries. In this way a country could be forced “against its will” to leave the EU. It would suffice for one EU country to oppose and that a Member State would thus disappear from the EU against its will.
The Advocate General does, however, attach a number of conditions to the unilateral repeal of Article 50. The withdrawal must therefore be officially announced to the European Council. And just as the intention to leave the EU, the withdrawal must also be approved by the British Parliament.
Set of crucial debates
The Advocate General’s advice comes just as the British House of Commons begins five days of debates about Prime Minister Theresa May’s brexit deal. A crucial vote should take place next Tuesday, 11 December.
Without plot twists, the United Kingdom will step out of the EU on March 29, 2019, exactly two years after May, by invoking Article 50, has informed the EU that its country wants to leave the EU.