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    Europe Faces 'Perennial Crises' Amid 'Irritation' of Brexit - Expert

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    As UK Prime Minister Theresa May awaits the outcome of her legal battle over who has the power to trigger Brexit - her government or the UK parliament - a leading expert in European affairs has told Sputnik that Brexit is just one more "irritation" in the EU's "perennial crises."

    Prime Minister May has made it clear that she will use her prerogative powers to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which formally begins the process of Britain and Brussels negotiating Britain's withdrawal from the EU and its new post-EU relationship with the remaining 27 countries.

    However, she is facing a legal challenge based on the argument that her government alone cannot invoke Article 50. Campaigner say it should go through parliament, which has ultimate sovereignty — a view upheld by the High Court in London, which has led to May's government appealing to the Supreme Court — the judgement of which is due mid-January.

    Professor Anand Menon, Director of UK in a Changing Europe and Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at Kings College London, has told Sputnik, that the legal challenge will likely go against May, but that will still not affect the path to Brexit.

    Members of the pro-European movement Britain for Europe pose on a double decker bus dressed as judges outside the Supreme court building in London on the first day of a four-day hearing on December 5, 2016.
    © AFP 2019 / Ben Stansall
    Members of the pro-European movement Britain for Europe pose on a double decker bus dressed as judges outside the Supreme court building in London on the first day of a four-day hearing on December 5, 2016.

    ​"There will be uncertainty until early January. Most legal experts I know seem to think that the Supreme Court will uphold what the High Court said. If they do that, then the UK Government has to go to Parliament with some sort of document.

    "It might be that the Supreme Court specifies what that document has to be and the Government has to get this document voted on. I still think that [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May will still manage to trigger Article 50 before the end of March, nevertheless," Prof. Menon told Sputnik.

    Unresolved Issues

    However, Menon says that Brexit is merely one of the many problems facing the EU, saying "Brexit is an irritation to our partners" who are facing 2017 with the same major unresolved issues as they did in 2016.

    "Europe is facing its perennial crises. There's the crisis in Ukraine and the uncertainty about Russia in the east. There's a crisis in the south, with the migration issue, which will get worse again as the weather improves and we move into Spring," Menon told Sputnik.

    ​"And, of course, there's a looming crisis in the Eurozone, because Greece is struggling to make its repayment on its loan and the Italian banking system is an absolute mess. So there's plenty to occupy people.

    "Brexit is an irritation to our partners who already have so much on their plate. We've given them another crisis to deal with on top of all that," Prof. Menon told Sputnik.

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    Article 50, refugee crisis, bailout package, migrant crisis, Brexit, eurozone, European Commission, European Parliament, European Council, European Union, Theresa May, Europe, United Kingdom
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