The Slovenia Times

Slovenia regrets UK parliament's rejection of Brexit deal

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A statement from the prime minister's office on Wednesday said that the divorce deal was a fair compromise, a balanced document, that allowed a regulated and controlled exit for the UK.

Slovenia will continue to support the approval of the deal in the EU, as the document is the best solution for the future and a necessary foundation on which to build relations after 2021.

Similar to the rest of the EU, Slovenia expects the UK government to present a plan on future steps as soon as possible. The statement also expresses hope that "the coming weeks and months will see enough political wisdom to avoid the worst outcome".

Slovenia's key wish is to preserve constructive and comprehensive cooperation even after Brexit, which must in no way infringe on the rights of citizens of Slovenia and other EU countries living in the UK. On the other hand, Slovenia will guarantee "an appropriate level of rights for UK citizens" living in the country.

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar also expressed regret over the vote. He tweeted last night that the EU had negotiated in good faith and with the wish to preserve constructive cooperation in the future.

Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee chair MatjaĆŸ Nemec commented on the situation for the press, saying that the process was "a good lesson for us" and that he hoped that "this will sober up the global political arena".

"When politicians become politicasters, when personal and party interests are put before those of the state and its citizens, there is populism that diverts attention from the real picture."

"All those who caused this in the UK have remained well hidden and no longer expose themselves, while regular people will start feeling immediately what it's like to be a third country citizen in relation to the EU," said Nemec.

He added it was hard to predict what would happen next. It is also hard to say whether the country will hold another referendum.

The House of Commons turned down the divorce deal with 432 votes against and 202 in favour last night. Subsequently, the opposition Labour Party requested a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Theresa May.

The motion will be put to a vote this evening and if May is ousted and a government coalition cannot be formed within a fortnight, the UK will face an early election.

However, this is not a very likely scenario, according to Jure Vidmar, a professor of public international law at the University of Maastricht.

While the divorce deal was voted down due to infighting in the Conservative party, "bringing down the deal is one thing and bringing down one's own party is a different matter altogether," he told the STA.

If she survives the vote, May has said she will present an alternative plan by Monday. But at least in the short term the EU will not be able to offer anything but some sort of a political declaration, said Vidmar.

These have already been offered and did not convince the sceptics. This could only be done by abolishing the Irish safeguard, which is impossible for the EU, he believes.

"Northern Ireland is the main issue of Brexit and it is practically impossible to resolve. The reintroduction of border controls in Ireland would undermine the peace treaty," said Vidmar.

A no-deal Brexit or an extension of the deadline are the two possible scenarios. The extension could lead to a new deal under which the UK would remain a part of the single market and the customs union, he believes.

The other possibility is a new referendum in which voters would decide between May's divorce deal and remaining in the EU, said Vidmar. An early election is not very likely but cannot be excluded.

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