BREXIT FEVER: When does Article 7 (The Suspension Clause) of the EU Treaty Come into Play

Here is the problem we face today with this never-ending BREXIT saga; 

  1. An utterly broken political system that cannot provide any solution for BREXIT because as mentioned in many of my previous posts – a policy that starts with a flawed process cannot provide nothing but a temporary/flawed solution.
  2. The EU cannot/should not allow the UK to continue undermining the integrity of the organisation by asking for multiple extensions to article 50 – as an uncommitted member – merely to sort out the internal/national jigsaw of a mess the UK government has engineered. It was actually a mistake for the EU to  continue multiple rounds of negotiation without some sort of valuation/validation of the legitimacy of the negotiating partner – Theresa May’s government. Even if there are what would be considered as legitimate reasons to extend article 50 in my personal opinion these should not translate to extending membership in its current form as I mentioned in this post.

So now what may be another option out of this pickle is a suspension of UK membership in the organisation for a period of time until we get our house in order. In fact article 7 of the EU treaty itself defines scenarios when suspension can be imposed on a member which in my opinion applies to our situation as it relates among others to the current government (and the majority of political establishment for that matter) who are doing all possible prevent a People’s Vote on the deal thereby undermining the basic principles of Democratic governance as a foundational principle for the EU. Here is the definition of article 7 taken off the EU website;

Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union  allows for the possibility of suspending EU membership rights (such as voting rights in the Council) if a country seriously and persistently breaches the principles on which the EU is founded (liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law). Nevertheless, that country’s membership obligations remain binding.

According to Article  7, on the proposal of one third of EU countries, or of the Commission or of the European Parliament, the Council, acting by a majority of four fifths of its members, having obtained the European Parliament’s consent, may determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of these fundamental principles by an EU country, and address appropriate recommendations to it.

The take away from this post is that a temporary suspension of UK membership may be on balance the best option moving forward for both sides because I strongly believe that continued EU membership for the UK for a prolonged period of time as another political “backstop”– by an uncommitted member – undermines the organisation and the values it stands for. On the other hand it may provide the UK a lifeline to sort the internal self-inflicted mess we have on our hands -without having to consider participating in the EU election – while giving us a bit of reality check on where we stand in terms of Democratic values as a country and to seriously reflect on the single most consequential partnership we have with the EU.

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