Today, the Irish prime minister warned that Ireland would be required to hold a referendum after a Brexit extension if the United Kingdom decided not to elect representatives to the European Parliament.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is in Brussels to attend a summit of European leaders, during which she will make a case for an extension to Brexit until the 30th of June.
However, the European Union has warned that any extension that goes beyond the date of European elections set on the 23rd of May would mean that the United Kingdom would be forced to elect new members to the parliament of the bloc.
Varadkar said that if the United Kingdom decides not to elect these members despite still being a full member of the European Union, the bloc would be compelled to change its treaties.
Talking in Brussels, Varadkar stated: “We all know how complicated that is. It would even require a referendum in Ireland.”
Treaty changes in the European Union will require the approval of every single member state, each of which has different procedures.
In Ireland, the procedure involves a referendum. In most other nations, the changes can be approved by national parliaments.
The Irish PM stated: “The treaties that established the European Union say that European citizens have a right to be represented in the European Parliament.”
He added: “So if the United Kingdom is still a member state, and British citizens are still European citizens, they have a right to representatives in the European Parliament. It can’t be taken away from them.”
The government of Ireland famously held two votes on the approval of the Lisbon treaty of the European Union, after 53 percent of the voters rejected it in a referendum that was held way back in 2008. It was approved by more than 67 percent of votes a year later.