itdoesntaddup 5pts It is quite clear that under Article 50 (as quoted by Denis Cooper) the EU Council is in the driving seat for negotiations for the agreement under it, and such agreement only requires a majority in Europarl and QMV approval in Council. There is a strong incentive for them to take advantage of that rather than relinquish control of e.g. trade negotiations to the Commission operating on Article 207 terms that require unanimity down to the level of "Wallonia" - and likewise for the many other issues that may be dear to their hearts, such as energy, environment, intelligence, defence, education, international relations, IMF bailout support etc.. There is room for them to apply the Humpty Dumpty principle - "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less" to wrap all the issues they care about into the negotiation. If the EU really would prefer a hard EUxit, with no cooperation on any issues they fail to agree with the UK, I'm sure they can have it. But it would be the Council giving in to the hardliners in the Commission, who seem to think that negotiations need to be shortened and only cover the bill to be presented to the UK for exit. The Juncker/Barnier plan is that such a "Project Fear" would have the UK scuttling for the safety of extending membership under 50(3) - but it ignores the fact that agreement cannot be imposed in such a one-sided fashion. For a start, they would be in breach of their obligation to negotiate, let alone conclude an agreement - an obligation which remains with them whether the UK is still a member or not, since there is no time deadline imposed on reaching agreement. Of course, they are in a hurry, because a 50(3) extension of membership is only valid if approved by all 28 before the guillotine falls. They are the ones under extreme time pressure - most particularly if they waste time on the gambit and it fails. The UK can simply fall back on the obligation for the EU to reach an agreement <i>sine die</i>, and wait for them to come to their senses (a new Commission and Europarl in 2019 may help significantly - the present ones were selected in a very different world, and perhaps have too much invested in avoiding the blame for Brexit).The best plan for the Council is to take control, and appoint their own negotiator in accordance with 50(2) and 218(3) after the UK submits notice, relegating Barnier and his crew to a civil servant supporting analysis role.