Foreign Policy Digital

Brussels Bets a Delay Until Halloween Will Spook Britons into Staying

With support for Brexit eroding, EU leaders hope the long postponement will kill the plan for good.

By postponing Brexit until Halloween, European Union leaders are hoping to spook a majority of Britons into remaining in the EU.  

After British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed for more time to persuade Parliament to back her unloved withdrawal agreement, European leaders handed down the new date of Oct. 31 on Wednesday following a long evening of negotiations—from which May herself was largely excluded—ignoring her pleas for a short extension until June 30.

Eroding public support for Brexit—as well as a massive pro-EU march in London last month and a dramatic “SOS” message projected on the white cliffs of Dover against a background of an EU flag—were key factors in the EU’s decision to delay Britain’s departure in the hope that the United Kingdom will change its mind. And some British officials say the six-month postponement could well work.

“I have always said that if

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