Britain’s exit from the EU will be far more complicated than most British politicians realiseby Charles Grant / July 28, 2016 / Leave a comment
Negotiations and more negotiations, year after year. That will be the main business of Theresa May’s government for the foreseeable future. Britain’s exit from the EU will require at least six interlocking sets of negotiations, and they will take much longer and be far more complicated than most British politicians realise. One negotiation will cover Britain’s exit from the EU, the second a free trade agreement (FTA) on future economic ties, the third interim cover for the British economy before the FTA enters into force, the fourth accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the fifth a set of deals to replace the 53 FTAs that bind the EU and other countries, and the sixth an agreement on co-operation in foreign, defence and security policies.
The first deal will tackle the UK’s separation from the EU, as prescribed by Article 50. This “divorce settlement” will divide up the properties, institutions and pension rights, deal with budget payments, and decide on the rights of UK citizens in the EU and vice versa. Article 50 sets out a two year period for this negotiation, extendable by unanimity. However, the other 27 want Britain out before the June 2019 European elections and the imminent cycle of EU budget talks so will not extend the deadline.