Brexit chaos drags European Parliament elections into legal confusion

UK’s departure from the European Union could paralyse law-making in Brussels for several years.

Brexit may now not happen before October 31st, after European leaders agreed last week to allow more time for Prime Minister Theresa May and the U.K.’s parliament to sort out the country’s exit from the EU. But if current divergences in London over Brexit are not solved by May 22, then Britain will have to take part in European Parliamentary elections — opening unprecedented legal and political challenges to the EU.

The EU decided to allocate further seats to certain countries and keep some of the other seats empty for when new countries join the Union. This decision stated that the upcoming parliament would be formed by 705 members, from the 751 today; and it would award 27 extra-seats to 14 member states.

However, with the possibility that the U.K. will remain a member until October 31st, the European Parliament is yet to agree what to do with the seat allocation.

“It’s not easy to explain to EU citizens that again the country who is leaving the EU will have a major say in the future decision-making process of the EU. That is a political challenge ahead,” Manfred Weber, said at the European Parliament in Straatsburg.