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Phil Hogan, Ireland’s EU commissioner in Brussels, said on Monday that EU leaders do not expect any substantive change in the U.K.’s position before article 50 of the Lisbon treaty is invoked in March 2019, even if there is a vote on the Brexit deal in parliament before that deadline.
In a speech at a Dublin City University Brexit Institute seminar in Brussels marking half-time in the article 50 negotiations, Hogan says: “I for one, cannot imagine any circumstances in which the U.K. will change its mind on the desirability of EU membership — not for many years, if ever.”
Hogan, who has served as the commissioner for agriculture and rural affairs since 2014 and is close to the Brexit negotiating team, predicts that the uncertainty over what Britain wants in the deal will continue past the autumn, when the initial deal is due to be struck.
“Given the U.K.’s preference for the long game, we should not expect any rush to clarity on its part. One result is that we can expect the uncertainties that characterise the U.K.’s position to continue. This will make it useful for the EU to keep remind itself of the one thing that is completely certain — the U.K. is not going to change is mind on EU membership,” Hogan says.
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