The major problem with extending the March 29 Brexit date is the possible effect on European Parliament elections. EU treaties require member states to vote for a new parliament on the same day, which is May 3 this year. Any extension of Brexit beyond that without a UK election would violate the treaties. And the European Parliament has already reallocated the UK seats to other EU countries (FT.com, March 1).

A solution would be to accept March 29 as the Brexit date but for both the UK and the EU to delay its execution until June 29, just before the new parliament sits. Britain would not be required to elect new MEPs and it would still have time to adjust its exit plans for one last time.

Clifford Hackett
Washington, DC, US

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