UK May Reverse Brexit Unilaterally by March 2019, EU’s Top Court Rules

UK May Reverse Brexit Unilaterally by March 2019, EU’s Top Court Rules

The ECJ delivered an emergency judgment on Brexit’s potential reversal at the request of a group of Scottish legislators.

The UK is entitled to unilaterally reverse its decision to leave the European Union, the so called Brexit, without having to consult the other member states, the EU’s highest court has ruled.

The ruling of the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice came on Monday, a day before the British Parliament is scheduled to vote on the embattled Brexit deal between the EU and the UK.

“The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU,” the ECJ stated in an emergency judgment.

The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. In their June 2016 referendum, a narrow majority of the British citizens voted in favor of Brexit (51.9% to 48.1%).

British Prime Minister Theresa May formally invoked Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in March 2017. The article on leaving the Union, however, contains few details.

The ECJ delivered its emergency judgment at the request of a group of Scottish legislators who asked if Britain could decide to reverse Brexit on its own even though the process had been triggered and under way.

“[The Brexit reversal option] exists for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that member state has not entered into force…[or] for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU,” the European Court of Justice declared.

The British government had attempted twice to stop the Brexit reversal question from being referred to the EU’s top court with the argument that the case was entirely hypothetical, AFP reminds.

Monday’s emergency judgement by the ECJ comes in the wake of last week’s recommendation by an ECJ advocate general that Britain should have the option of reversing its decision to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on leaving the EU.

The announcement of the EU’s top court comes amid reports that Tuesday’s British Parliament vote on May’s Brexit deal might be delayed as well as overall expectations that the embattled deal will be rejected.

British Prime Minister Theresay May is due to head to Brussels on Thursday for an European Council summit of the EU state leaders where further Brexit developments will depend on the result of the parliamentary vote in the UK.

(Banner image: Flickr)

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