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It’s Not Too Late to Scrap Brexit, E.U. Court Official Says

To critics, this means that Britain would be neither fully in the European Union nor out, and that it would have no say in making rules that it would be bound by, and no clear way to end the backstop.

Mrs. May’s one advantage is that her opponents are divided: Some actively want the country to leave the bloc without a deal — or at least appear ready to risk that — while others prefer maintaining a close relationship with the European Union, much as Norway does. A third group is pushing for a second referendum that could reverse the process completely.

Those who hope Britain might remain in the bloc will be encouraged by the court opinion by Mr. Campos Sánchez-Bordona. The document concluded that, if a country decided to leave the European Union, it should also have the power to change its mind during the two-year exit process defined by Article 50 of the bloc’s governing treaty. In Britain’s case, that period ends on March 29.

Moreover, the opinion said, the country should be able to do so without having to obtain the consent of the other 27 member nations.

While the advocate general’s views are not binding, most often the full court follows them in its final rulings. The opinion was written in connection with a case brought by a group of Scottish politicians.

Under the terms of Britain’s membership in the European Union, the country benefits from a rebate on its annual budget contributions to the bloc, a significant as well as symbolic concession won in 1984 by the prime minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher. The merits of the rebate have long been challenged by other countries, but all member nations have a veto on budget questions, and Britain has succeeded in protecting most of its rebate.

London also has the right to opt out of the European Union’s single currency, as well as the Schengen zone of passport-free travel. Were it to quit the European Union, and reapply for membership in the future, such concessions would be uncertain, and their loss would make it difficult to secure public support to rejoin the bloc.

Source: NYT > World

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