Dear Partners in thought,
I would have gone for a one year delay like most EU member states wished but for France and a small minority of others only as I hoped (very naively as there is still no indication for it) that a well-prepared second referendum could eventually be organised more easily. Obviously no UK plan was on offer yesterday against granting any extension as it was requested and France believed six months would give enough time and, based on past experience, also needed focus for the UK to finalise the Brexit process. I am sad that this French stance was driven by the feeling that the UK will indeed leave and that the political will to organise a second referendum is not there, the latter against the mood of the country and facts and reality. May’s request for an extension until 30 June was unrealistic based on what she and Parliament have achieved to date. A six month “flextension” under close watch to avoid any EU disruption should give the UK time to focus and finalise. However as the UK will participate in the EU parliamentary elections (unless there is a deal before 25 May and knowing the EU will not renegotiate the agreed withdrawal agreement), let’s hope that this EU electoral process should give the strong impetus at the people’s level to organise a confirmatory referendum on the eventually chosen exit and staying in the Union even it time will be tight. And when all is said and done, any delay is better than none at all levels. And everything is still possible.