Publications 2017

Brexit: the launch of Article 50

9 February 2017
Andrew Duff (Visiting Fellow at the European Policy Centre and President of the Spinelli Group; former MEP)



At the European Council of 9-10 March, Theresa May will, In all likelihood, at last invoke Article 50, setting into motion a process that will result in the withdrawal of the UK out of the EU and, hopefully, a new agreement between the UK and the EU on their long-term relation. In this Discussion Paper Andrew Duff gives an outline of what will follow after the launch of Article 50 based on what we know so far (the content of Article 50, Theresa May’s speech at Lancaster House and the Brexit white paper), and discusses the points of ambiguity and contention that will need to be resolved. Negotiations will not be easy: there are already tensions between London and Brussels on their timing and sequencing. The most difficult issue will, as always, be money and the UK’s contribution to the EU budget. Other points of discussion will be the transition from the Article 50 treaty to a new agreement; what this new agreement will look like; the process of repealing EU law within the UK; and finally, the European Court of Justice. Duff furthermore argues that the negotiations cannot succeed unless the framework of Britain’s future relationship with the EU is more clearly articulated by the British government, something which the recently published white paper failed to do. On the EU side, the imminent guidelines of the European Council must work hard to install some semblance of clarity into the business of Brexit. The goal must be to expedite the departure of the British without wrecking the EU.

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