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Brexit - Article 50 to be triggered on 29 March 2017


King's experts comment on Brexit and the triggering of Article 50:


Professor Jonathan Portes
Economics and Public Policy and Senior Fellow,
The UK in a Changing Europe

‘Not the beginning of the end of the Brexit process - but definitely the end of the beginning.

'Despite the fixation in the UK on the precise data and legal niceties of the Article 50 process, the most important event of the weeks to come will not be the notification itself but the EU response to it; and the political and economic dynamics that that sets into motion.

'If things go according to plan, we're headed for the usual EU negotiating scenario: long interludes of tedium and small print, interspersed with episodes of late-night brinkmanship, ending eventually in a compromise no-one likes, but everyone will describe as a victory.  But if politics - either here or on the continent - derails the process, we could soon find that far from "taking back control", we have done precisely the opposite.’


Professor Christoph Meyer
European & International Politics

‘After the triggering of Article 50 some might hope for the internal UK debate to subside.

'This is unlikely for three reasons: First, the negotiations are unlikely to stay behind closed doors given the considerable number of participants and the high level of media interest.

'Secondly, if the government is serious about making preparations for exiting the EU without a deal, it will have to make the case for significant spending on measures to mitigate the consequences, such as hiring new civil servants, commissioning new IT systems and building physical infrastructure in Dover.

'Thirdly, opposition to “hard” or indeed any Brexit is unlikely to subside substantially, not least given the Scottish First Minister’s intention to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. As the UK remains free to revoke its intention to leave until the two years are over or it has actually ceased to be a member, some of the Brexit opponents will refuse the choice between “no deal” or a “bad deal”.’


Dr Andrew Blick
Centre for British Politics and Government

'Triggering Article 50 is only the beginning of a complex process. Not only is the outcome impossible to predict, but we do not yet know the precise pattern that negotiations will follow.

'An important point to look out for initially will be the extent to which the other 27 member states are willing collectively to discuss the future relationship between the EU and UK from the outset, or whether they will insist on dealing with the withdrawal terms first.

'All of these events will play out against wider political developments in the UK, Europe and globally which could make the picture look very different over the next two years.'


Professor Vernon Bogdanor
Centre for British Politics and Government

'Article 50 triggers a notification agreement, not a withdrawal agreement, still less a trade agreement.

'In my view, Parliament will have to approve withdrawal once the negotiations are complete.

'The EU clearly cannot sign a trade agreement with a country while it is still a member of the EU! There is some possibility, of course, of discussions towards a trade agreement while the withdrawal negotiations proceed. But it is unlikely that such trade negotiations would be completed within two years.

'There is some talk of a transitional or interim agreement. It is not clear to me that there is provision for such an agreement in the EU treaties; and it is not clear what procedure is needed to ratify such an agreement - whether a qualified majority in the Council, as with the withdrawal agreement, or, as with `mixed' trade agreements, i.e. agreements involving national competences, unanimity in the Council, together with ratification by 27 national parliaments and 11 regional or provincial parliaments.'


Professor Anand Menon
Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs
Director of UK in a Changing Europe

'On Wednesday, the Prime Minister will inform her European partners that Britain intends to leave the EU. Thereafter, negotiations will commence with these partners over the form that departure will take. This much is common knowledge. Less discussed, less understood, though no less important is the to-do list that confronts the government at home. A successful Brexit depends as much on dealing with the challenges at home as it does on the negotiations in Brussels.'

The full article was featured in Prospect.


Dr Benedict Wilkinson
Senior Research Fellow, The Policy Institute at King's

In this podcast, Dr Wilkinson discusses the defence and security implications of Brexit and explains the context for a potential 'global arms marathon' driven by wider uncertainty.

With the UK likely to find itself relying more heavily on NATO and bilateral agreements for security in a post-Brexit world, could Trump's actions on the other side of the Atlantic also have an impact for the UK?

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