German legislature passes Brexit bill, ponders Britain's next move

Berlin - Germany's legislature managed to get its Brexit bill through parliament on Thursday, even as leaders questioned whether Brexit will go as scheduled and whether negotiations have to be given more time amid disarray in British politics.

The bill the Bundestag approved would govern relations with Britain once the country leaves the EU - which is scheduled to happen on March 29 - and through a transitional phase expected to last until the end of 2020.
The measure will only go into effect if Britain actually leaves the EU and the transitional phase begins, both of which are in doubt after the British Parliament rejected this week a deal hammered out between the EU and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pointed out that much was still unclear.
"The likelihood that there will be a disorderly Brexit has risen significantly," he said during the debate. He used the speech to appeal to other EU member countries to stick together, highlighting how a no-deal Brexit would harm all members, Britain worst of all.
He did not rule out giving Britain past March 29 to work out a deal. But he said an extension could only be given if Britain made a clear offer. He said talk about a new Brexit referendum or a reversal of the decision to leave the EU was "pure speculation."
The main purpose of the bill that went through the Bundestag was to clarify the rights for individuals and companies during the 2019-20 transition phase.

Thursday, January 17th 2019

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