After a series of twists and turns, the British Parliament has voted to postpone the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union (EU). The move will force the British government to ask the EU to delay the date of Brexit, currently scheduled for March 29.
If the EU accepts the request, a no-deal Brexit that would throw the economy and society into a state of confusion will be averted for the time being. Postponement will be an inevitable choice for the EU as Britain has been meandering over the issue.
However, how long Britain's withdrawal will be delayed has not yet been determined. The government will refer its proposal to withdraw from the EU to the House of Commons for the third time as early as next week. If approved, the British government will ask the EU to delay Brexit until the end of June. If voted down, the executive branch will ask for a longer-term postponement.
The fundamental problems, however, have not yet been solved. It remains unclear how Britain intends to withdraw from the EU or whether the country wants to reconsider leaving the union.
The British House of Commons' voting on the Brexit plan, which lasted for three days, raised concerns about the prospects of Britain's exit from the EU.
On the first day of the voting session, Prime Minister Theresa May submitted to the chamber a modified agreement proposal that had drawn some concessions from the EU, but it was voted down. This is because hard-liners were sticking to their attempt to gain conditions favorable to Britain.
On the second day, more than 40 percent of members of the house displayed their acceptance of Brexit without a deal. Considering the fact that foreign companies and the international community have expressed concerns about the situation, the legislators' stance demonstrated a lack of their sense of responsibility.
On the third day, most legislators from the opposition Labor Party voted for the government's proposal to delay the exit, while approximately 60 percent of lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party voted against the plan.
In other words, the British Parliament remains split between hard-liners who are sticking to their calls for withdrawal from the EU, moderates, and those in favor of staying with the union, and there is no sign that they will reach any compromise. The Conservative Party is divided and the Labor Party is demanding that a general election be brought forward, while legislators who have broken away from both parties are calling for another referendum on the issue.
Such political instability and uncertainty over future relations between Britain and the EU have undoubtedly prompted automobile giants and other companies to leave Britain.
Donald Franciszek Tusk, president of the European Council, has suggested that a long delay surpassing at least one year is inevitable. Taking time to consider the matter is indeed an option, but it could lead to arguments going around in circles. A long delay will therefore not necessarily dispel businesses and neighboring countries' concerns about the issue.
Progress cannot be made simply by saying "no" to every suggestion. The British government and Parliament should fulfill their responsibility to set the direction that the country should pursue and find a solution.