"No second chance for Brits'"

Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium, has warned that Belgium's Walloon parliament will scupper any attempt to grant the United Kingdom a treaty opt out from ever closer European Union. The Belgian leader was speaking in an interview with The Times of London in which he also made clear that any 'Leave' result in the UK's in/out referendum would be final and that Britain could not hope to improve its deal after the outcome of a first referendum and put a renegotiated deal to the people of the UK in a second referendum.

In the interview conducted by The Times' Bruno Waterfield Mr Michel makes it clear that the UK would have to exit the EU within two years of a 'Leave' result. During these two years the UK will not have a seat at the EU decision-making table, apart from in negotiations affecting its departure.

Charles Michel, who we learn regularly texts the British PM David Cameron, says that a 'Leave' vote will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that requires the UK to exit the organisation within two years. The Times writes that the article is deliberately designed to be punitive to discourage countries from leaving.

During the talks that led to Britain's new EU deal Mr Michel also warned that promises of treaty change e.g. to secure a UK opt-out from ever closer union and safeguards for the City of London, Britain's financial industry, were not irreversible as future treaty change would require the approval of national and even regional parliaments. Belgium has a total of six parliaments and The Times writes that Belgium's Walloon region has vowed to block a British opt-out from 'ever closer union'.


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