It may well be a trap, but not for this reason.
The “Council of Europe” is a body of 47 countries, founded before the European Economic Community (forerunner of the EU) project began, and it oversees the European Court of Human Rights. I think that whoever wrote this must have meant the “European Council” which is the Council of Ministers of the EU member states.
Moreover if you read subsection 3 of article 50, linked below, and the note, it is pretty obvious that once the notice to leave is delivered, as happened today, then two years later, either an agreement with the other 27 countries has been reached – and the terms of any such agreement can be vetoed by the European Council – OR the two-year period can be extended by agreement of all concerned, OR, if no such agreement has been reached, the withdrawing State is out anyway. This is quite clear from the text linked below.
So let us stop barking up the wrong tree. Two years from today, Britain will be OUT of the EU, one way or another. Unless of course our own government/Parliament decides to prolong the negotiating period. Or unless our own government/Parliament decides to withdraw the notice to leave. The EU by itself cannot stop us.
The reason why article 50 may be a trap is that during those two years, we remain inside and subject to all the EU rules. And they can make new rules which we cannot veto but must obey. So they retain their enormous powers over us for this period. If they wanted to play rough, they could strip us of all our assets so in the end we would be out, but naked and impoverished. Or they might so influence our political processes that we would have a new government that would withdraw the notice to leave. Or exert other forms of pressure on us.
Our present government has neglected to include any reform of the European Arrest Warrant. On the contrary, Amber Rudd the current Home Secretary told Parliament that they want to keep it even AFTER Brexit. As things stand, EU judiciaries could, if they felt so inclined, have any of our politicians, journalists, or any other opponents, arrested and transported to jails in Europe… (think Erdogan, Putin – that sort of thing has not happened in Britain for centuries, but has happened in all of continental Europe within living memory.) No need to show any evidence for long months, so the accusations can be quite groundless.
Of course if we had a reliable government, it would be ready in this sort of case to repeal the ECA72 at once, and make a unilateral declaration of independence, disregarding article 50.
But do we have such a government? In June 2012, T. May, Home Secretary, said to Parliament that she would “of course” call on “special intervention units” from our EU “allies” to set foot on British soil “if needed”. She seemed not to realise that they would not leave if asked, owing allegiance only to Brussels, so in effect this would turn into a military occupation of Britain by foreign troops. That does not bode well for her firmness of resolve nor her clarity of vision.
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