This is a follow-up of this question: Suppose EU27 grants the UK the extension May has asked for till 2019-06-30. That would mean that the UK would not take part in the 2019 EU parliament elections.

But the UK could still unilaterally revoked A50; in theory as late as 2019-06-30.

What would this mean for the EU parliament?

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    It seems that this problem will be solved by not allowing this possibility: twitter.com/SpiegelPeter/status/1108346983587217408 either the extension expires before the elections, or the UK participates to the elections and the extension is much longer.
    – Federico
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:15
  • @Federico although it should be noted that the group suggesting those alternatives is the European Commission, whereas the group which has to unanimously agree to extend is the European Council.
    – origimbo
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:27
  • @Federico Well, then you could have a revocation on the eve of the election. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:39
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    "2019-06-30. That would mean that the UK would not take part in the 2019 EU parliament elections." Not true. In fact, that means that by EU law the UK must be part of the elections. And this is a BIG problem for the EU because if the UK does not participate in elections that they are allowed to participate in, the entire election could be declared invalid (for example by a group of disgruntled defeated candidates who take the case to the EJC). It could even be questioned internationally. The EU does not want this, nor should they.
    – ouflak
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:49
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    @Federico Elections are a lot easier to organise than a referendum under UK law, since there's no difficulties with coming up with an acceptable question. For example a general election can happen in as little as 6 weeks, which would correspond to a mid-April go/no go date. The UK Electoral Commission has also spent a certain amount of time war-gaming what is/would be required. telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/06/02/…
    – origimbo
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


It would cause the EU to waste time trying to fix the situation. Either the UK's MEPs would be forever elected out of step with the rest of the EU, which would be annoying and costly (due to having to do two lots of inductions), or rules would have to be changed to shorten that one term for British MEPs to re-sync.

The EU is strongly against not participating in the elections but remaining in the EU past that date for other reasons too, mainly that it would be undemocratic and unfair to British EU citizens who would be unrepresented.

Also note that while the elections take place in May, the UK would have to indicate if it will take part by April 12th to allow for enough time to organize things.

Update: According to legal advice by EU lawyers the failure of the UK to elect MEPs but still be a member by June 2nd could cause "paralysis" of the European Parliament. It seems that legally it would be difficult to proceed with one member state being unrepresented.

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    "the UK's MEPs would be forever elected out of step with the rest of the EU,". I'd argue that it's more likely that if UK MEPs were elected late this time, they'd just serve slightly shorter terms than normal, and be up for re-election at the same time as everyone else next time. This is effectively what happens to countries which join the EU part-way through a parliamentary session. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 18:04
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    "British EU citizens." Do you mean "all EU citizens living in the UK", as these are the people (whether British or not) who would be affected by this. Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 18:07

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