British Brexit campaigners want Poland to oppose extension of Article 50

Pro-Brexit campaigners from Britain are attempting to persuade the Polish and other governments to stop any extension to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides for member states to leave the EU. Britain activated Article 50 nearly two years ago and is meant to be leaving the EU on 29 March. It now appears that the British government will be filing for an extension of that date as Parliament has voted against leaving without an agreement but has also rejected the agreement reached between the EU and the British government.

Leading Eurosceptics are now lobbying right-of-centre governments in Europe to see if they would veto a British extension of article 50 and so ensure the UK leaves the EU on 29 March without a deal.

According to the Lisbon Treaty, only one country is required to wield its veto for any British request to extend Article 50 proceedings to be rejected.

Speaking in the European parliament, the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage told MEPs: “The solution to avoid hordes of new Brexit party MEPs being elected is for the European council to veto any extension of article 50 and ensure we leave on 29 March.” He has also said that he is actively attempting to persuade governments that might be sympathetic to the Brexit cause to block any extension to Article 50 proceedings for Britain.

Feelers put out to Poland unlikely to succeed

Several Conservative MPs were in Warsaw last Thursday for a meeting of the Belvedere Forum, a joint British -Polish platform for progressing British-Polish relations in the future. Some Conservative MPs are reported to have met members of the Polish governing party to discuss the Brexit crisis.

According to “The Guardian” they met Anna Maria Anders, the Polish minister for international dialogue in the prime minister’s office and a senator. She told the paper: “I am definitely against deferment and another referendum. We have had two years to get this together. I do not see an extension is going to make any difference. We want to see some agreement because a delay is a case for concern.”

Referring to the extensive British internal debate, she said: “It’s good to have these discussions, but I get the feeling they are going nowhere. Sometimes you just have to make a decision, and if someone disagrees, that is the price. You cannot please everyone. I am also against a second referendum. If there is a small majority to remain, there is no progress, and if there is a majority to leave, what was the point?”

However the overall view of the Polish government – traditionally seen as one of the UK’s closest allies in Europe – is likely to be to support an extension, especially if there is pressure from France and Germany to make such a move. Poland has been in dispute with the EU over judicial reform and migration and is unlikely to wish to be blamed for a no-deal Brexit that would damage the entire European economy.