Debate in the news (and here) seems to center on UK domestic politics and possible procedural shenanigans. But any extension of the negotiating period would require the unanimous consent of the EU27, and a retraction of the Article 50 notification would have to be unequivocal and unconditional and in accordance with national constitutional requirements.

When there is talk about breaks in the EU27 unified negotiating position, it tends to be speculation (or wishful thinking) that one of the governments might give in to UK demands, but that is not the only way the EU27 unity could unravel.

I do recall news reports in March that Farage and other Brexiteers were lobbying some EU27 governments for a veto on any extension. Hungary and Italy were mentioned.

Are there recent statements by EU or individual government representatives that they might block an extension, or that they would attach conditions?

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    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 15:46
  • Clarification request: how can a single government out of the EU27 give in to UK demands? Giving in is not a power possessed by any single government of the EU27.
    – MSalters
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 22:37
  • @MSalters, a single government would be the first sign that the EU27 negotiating position is crumbling. It also depends which government it is. Some Brexiteers seem to believe that they just have to convince Paris and Berlin and that those would make the rest fall into line.
    – o.m.
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


To the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been any indication of any of the EU governments breaking unity on Brexit. Reacting to recent events in the UK, the Irish Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee said:

Referring to Mr Johnson's meetings with EU leaders last week, Minister McEntee said while there are suggestions that the EU is close to a deal and close to changing its mind to the backstop, everyone who met with him has continuously repeated the EU is not going to change its position on the backstop.

In the same article she also mentions what might be the main reason why no EU government is moving one way or another:

"Because throughout all this and throughout all the change we have been flexible and we have adapted as much as we can and there has always been give and take, and we cannot change any further, we cannot change and allow the legal guarantees that we have been given to essentially be wiped clean and replaced with nothing."

Ms McEnteee said the UK has been asked to put forward proposals that could replace the backstop, but it has not presented any practical alternative.

Essentially, EU governments have nothing new to say because nothing new has been proposed. It's also worth mentioning that Brexit is the number 1 topic in the UK news and politics, but it's not in the rest of the EU: EU leaders have other priorities to deal with and no particular reason to get involved.

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