Withdrawal from the European Union

Withdrawal from the European Union is the legal and political process whereby an EU member state ceases to be a member of the Union. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that "Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements".[1]

As of February 2019, no member state has withdrawn from the EU (or the EC); however, the Government of the United Kingdom triggered Article 50 to begin the UK's withdrawal from the EU in March 2017 following a referendum, and the withdrawal is scheduled in law to occur on 29 March 2019.

Three territories of EU member states have withdrawn: French Algeria (in 1962, upon independence),[2] Greenland (in 1985, following a referendum)[3] and Saint Barthélemy (in 2012),[4] the latter two becoming Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union.

Background

Article 50, which allows a member state to withdraw, was originally drafted by Scottish cross-bench peer and former diplomat Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, the secretary-general of the European Convention, which drafted the Constitutional Treaty for the European Union.[5] Following the failure of the ratification process for the European Constitution, the clause was incorporated into the Treaty of Lisbon which entered into force in 2009.[6]

Prior to this, no provision in the treaties or law of the EU outlined the ability of a state to voluntarily withdraw from the EU. The absence of such a provision made withdrawal technically difficult but not impossible.[7] Legally there were two interpretations of whether a state could leave. The first, that sovereign states have a right to withdraw from their international commitments;[8] and the second, the treaties are for an unlimited period, with no provision for withdrawal and calling for an "ever closer union" – such commitment to unification is incompatible with a unilateral withdrawal. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states where a party wants to withdraw unilaterally from a treaty that is silent on secession, there are only two cases where withdrawal is allowed: where all parties recognise an informal right to do so and where the situation has changed so drastically, that the obligations of a signatory have been radically transformed.[7]

Procedure

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, enacted by the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009, introduced for the first time a procedure for a member state to withdraw voluntarily from the EU.[7] The article states that:[9]

  1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
  2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3)[10] of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council [of the European Union], acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
  3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
  4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

    A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

  5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

This provision does not cover certain overseas territories which under TFEU Article 355 do not require a full treaty revision.[11]

Invocation

Thus, once a member state has notified the European Council of its intention to leave, a period begins during which a withdrawal agreement is negotiated, setting out the arrangements for the withdrawal and outlining the country's future relationship with the Union. Commencing the process is up to the member state that intends to leave.

The article allows for a negotiated withdrawal, due to the complexities of leaving the EU. However, it does include in it a strong implication of a unilateral right to withdraw. This is through the fact that a state would decide to withdraw "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements" and that the end of the treaties' application in a member state that intends to withdraw is not dependent on any agreement being reached (it would occur after two years regardless).[7]

Negotiation

The treaties cease to apply to the member state concerned on the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, in the absence of such an agreement, two years after the member state notified the European Council of its intention to leave, although this period can be extended by unanimous agreement of the European Council.[12]

The leaving agreement is negotiated on behalf of the EU by the European Commission on the basis of a mandate given by the remaining Member States, meeting in the Council of the European Union. It must set out the arrangements for withdrawal, taking account of the framework for the member state's future relationship with the EU, though without itself settling that framework. The agreement is to be approved on the EU side by the Council of the EU, acting by qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. For the agreement to pass the Council of the EU it needs to be approved by at least 72 percent of the continuing member states representing at least 65 percent of their population.[13]

The agreement is concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council and must set out the arrangements for withdrawal, including a framework for the State's future relationship with the Union, negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The agreement is to be approved by the Council, acting by qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. Should a former Member State seek to rejoin the European Union, it would be subject to the same conditions as any other applicant country.[14]

Remaining members of the EU would need to manage consequential changes over the EU's budgets, voting allocations and policies brought about by the withdrawal of any member state.[15]

Failure of negotiations

This system gives a negotiated withdrawal, due to the complexities of leaving the EU (particularly concerning the euro). However it does include in it a strong implication of a unilateral right to withdraw. This is through the fact the state would decide "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements" and that the end of the treaties' application in said state is not dependent on any agreement being reached (it would occur after two years regardless).[7]

If negotiations do not result in a ratified agreement, the seceding country leaves without an agreement, and the EU Treaties shall cease to apply to the seceding country, without any substitute or transitional arrangements being put in place. As regards trade, the parties would likely follow World Trade Organization rules on tariffs.[16]

Re-entry or unilateral revocation

Article 50 does not spell out whether Member States can rescind their notification of their intention to withdraw during the negotiation period while their country is still a Member of the European Union. However, the President of the European Council said to the European Parliament on 24 October 2017 that “deal, no deal or no Brexit” is up to Britain. Indeed, the prevailing legal opinion among EU law experts and the EU institutions themselves is that a member state intending to leave may change its mind, as an “intention” is not yet a deed and intentions can change before the deed is done. [17] Until the Scottish Government did so in late 2018, the issue had been untested in court. On 10 Dec 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that it would be “inconsistent with the EU treaties’ purpose of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe to force the withdrawal of a member state” against its wishes, and that consequently an Article 50 notification may be revoked unilaterally by the notifying member without the permission of the other EU members, provided the state has not already left the EU, and provided the revocation is decided “following a democratic process in accordance with national constitutional requirements”.[18][19][20]

The European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2017 on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union states, "a revocation of notification needs to be subject to conditions set by all EU-27, so that it cannot be used as a procedural device or abused in an attempt to improve on the current terms of the United Kingdom’s membership."[21] The European Union Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs has stated that a hypothetical right of revocation can only be examined and confirmed or infirmed by the EU institution competent to this purpose, namely the CJEU.[22] In addition the European Commission considers that Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of the notification.[23]

Lord Kerr, the British author of Article 50, also considers the process is reversible[24] as does Jens Dammann.[25] Professor Stephen Weatherill disagrees.[26]. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has stated that the British Government "does not know for sure" whether Article 50 is revocable; the British prime minister "does not intend" to reverse it.[24]

Should a former member state seek to rejoin the European Union after having actually left, it would be subject to the same conditions as any other applicant country and need to negotiate a Treaty of Accession, ratified by every Member State.[27]

Outermost regions

TFEU Article 355(6), introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon allows the status of French, Dutch and Danish overseas territories to be changed more easily, by no longer requiring a full treaty revision. Instead, the European Council may, on the initiative of the member state concerned, change the status of an overseas country or territory (OCT) to an outermost region (OMR) or vice versa.[28]

Withdrawals

Some former territories of European Union members broke formal links with the EU when they gained independence from their ruling country or were transferred to an EU non-member state. Most of these territories were not classed as part of the EU, but were at most associated with OCT status, and EC laws were generally not in force in these countries.

Some current territories changed or are in the process of changing their status so that, instead of EU law applying fully or with limited exceptions, EU law mostly will not apply. The process also occurs in the opposite direction, as formal enlargements of the union occur. The procedure for implementing such changes was made easier by the Treaty of Lisbon.

Past withdrawals

Algeria

French Algeria had joined the European Communities as part of France (since legally it was not a colony of France, but rather one of its overseas departments). Upon independence in 1962, Algeria left France and thus left the European Communities.

Greenland

Greenland chose to leave the EU predecessor without also seceding from a member state. It initially voted against joining the EEC when Denmark joined in 1973, but because Denmark as a whole voted to join, Greenland, as a county of Denmark, joined too. When home rule for Greenland began in 1979, it held a new referendum and voted to leave the EEC. After wrangling over fishing rights, the territory left the EEC in 1985,[29] but remains subject to the EU treaties through association of Overseas Countries and Territories with the EU. This was permitted by the Greenland Treaty, a special treaty signed in 1984 to allow its withdrawal.[30]

Saint Barthélemy

Saint Martin and Saint-Barthélemy in 2007 seceded from Guadeloupe (overseas department of France and outermost region (OMR) of the EU) and became overseas collectivities of France, but at the same time remained OMRs of the European Union. Later, the elected representatives of the island of Saint-Barthélemy expressed a desire to "obtain a European status which would be better suited to its status under domestic law, particularly given its remoteness from the mainland, its small insular economy largely devoted to tourism and subject to difficulties in obtaining supplies which hamper the application of some European Union standards." France, reflecting this desire, requested at the European Council to change the status of Saint Barthélemy to an overseas country or territory (OCT) associated with the European Union.[31] The status change came into effect from 1 January 2012.[31]

United Kingdom

Prime Ministers letter to European Council President Donald Tusk.pdf
Letter from Theresa May invoking Article 50

As of January 2019, Brexit is the first and only invocation of Article 50. [32]

The British government led by David Cameron held a referendum on the issue in 2016; a majority voted to leave the European Union. On 29 March 2017, Theresa May's administration invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union in a letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. The UK is due to cease being a member at 00:00, 30 March 2019 Brussels time (UTC+1), which would be 23:00 on 29 March British time.[33]

The terms of withdrawal have not yet been negotiated, and the UK remains a full member of the European Union.[34] May said that the UK government would not seek permanent single market membership,[35] and promised a Great Repeal Bill that would repeal the European Communities Act and would incorporate existing European Union law into the domestic law of the UK.[36]

Until the withdrawal from the European Union is effected, the UK remains a member of the EU continuing to fulfil all EU-related treaties and must legally be treated as a member.[37][38]

Potential future withdrawals

Several states have political parties and individuals advocating and seeking withdrawal from the EU.[39] In member states, there are political movements of varying significance campaigning for withdrawal.

Parties in the EU advocating or considering withdrawal

While no country other than the United Kingdom has voted on whether to withdraw from the EU, political parties criticizing the federative trend of the European Union and advocating its reshaping into a looser cooperation framework have gained prominence in several member states since the last European Parliament election in 2014, similarly to the rise of UKIP in the United Kingdom.

The main parties are:

The European Parliament currently includes two official groups of Eurosceptic members opposing the EU institutions: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy and Europe of Nations and Freedom.

Secession from a member state

There are no clear agreements, treaties or precedents covering the scenario of an existing EU member state breaking into two or more states. The question is whether one state is a successor rump state which remains a member of the EU and the other is a new state which must reapply and be accepted by all other member states to remain in the EU, or alternatively whether both states retain their EU membership following succession.[40][41]

In some cases, a region leaving its state would leave the EU - for example, if any of the various proposals for the enlargement of Switzerland from surrounding countries were to be implemented at a future date.

During the failed Scottish independence referendum of 2014 it was clarified by the European commission that any newly independent country would be considered as a new state which would have to negotiate with the EU to rejoin.[42] Such considerations also apply to the likes of Catalonia where even if the independence movement is in favor of rejoining the EU, other states may have an interest in blocking membership to deter independence movements within their own borders.[43]

Legal effect on EU citizenship

Citizenship of the European Union is dependent on citizenship (nationality) of a member state, and citizenship remains a competence entirely vested with the member states. Citizenship of the EU can therefore only be acquired or lost by the acquisition or loss of citizenship of a member state. A probable but untested consequence of a country withdrawing from the EU is that, without otherwise negotiated and then legally implemented, its citizens are no longer citizens of the EU.[44] But the automatic loss of EU citizenship as a result of a member state withdrawing from the EU is the subject of debate.[45]

Expulsion

While a state can leave, there is no provision for a state to be expelled. But TEU Article 7 provides for the suspension of certain rights of a member state if a member persistently breaches the EU's founding values.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Article 50". Eurostep. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. ^ Ziller, Jacques. "The European Union and the Territorial Scope of European Territories" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  3. ^ "What is Greenland's relationship with the EU?". Folketing. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ Hay, Iain (2013). "Geographies of the superrich". Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 196. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Article 50 was designed for European dictators, not the UK, says man who wrote it". The Independent. 29 March 2017. Article 50 was designed to be used by a dictatorial regime, not the UK government, the man who wrote it has said. ... As Secretary General of the European Convention in the early 2000s, Lord Kerr played a key role in drafting a constitutional treaty for the EU that included laws on the process by which states can leave the bloc.
  6. ^ "Article 50 author Lord Kerr says Brexit not inevitable". BBC News. 3 November 2016. After leaving the foreign office, he was secretary-general of the European [C]onvention, which drafted what became the Lisbon treaty. It included Article 50 which sets out the process by which any member state can leave the EU.
  7. ^ a b c d e Athanassiou, Phoebus (December 2009). "Withdrawal and Expulsion from the EU and EMU: Some Reflections" (PDF). Legal Working Paper Series. European Central Bank (10): 9. ISSN 1830-2696. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  8. ^ Hurd, Ian (2013). International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice. Cambridge University Press. p. 10. ISBN 9781107040977.
  9. ^ "Consolidated Version of the Treaty on European Union" (PDF). HM Government.
  10. ^ page 99 of 344
  11. ^ Instead, the European Council may, on the initiative of the member state concerned, change the status of an overseas country or territory (OCT) to an outermost region (OMR) or vice versa.
  12. ^ Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union.
  13. ^ Renwick, Alan (19 January 2016). "What happens if we vote for Brexit?". The Constitution Unit Blog. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  14. ^ Article 50(4) of Lisbon Treaty which cites Article 49 Accession process
  15. ^ Oliver, Tim. "Europe without Britain: Assessing the Impact on the European Union of a British Withdrawal". Stiftung Wissenshaft und Politik. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  16. ^ "What will Brexit mean for British trade?". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  17. ^ "We have not passed the point of no return – Richard Corbett". 26 April 2017.
  18. ^ UK can cancel Brexit by unilaterally revoking Article 50, European Court of Justice rules, The Independent, 10 December 2018. "The court said any revocation must be decided “following a democratic process in accordance with national constitutional requirements”.
  19. ^ Patrick Smyth (10 December 2018). "Brexit: UK can revoke Article 50, European court rules". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 January 2019. In Monday’s judgment, the full court has ruled that when a member state has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, that member state is free to revoke unilaterally that notification. That possibility exists for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that member state has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, and any possible extension, has not expired.
  20. ^ "Judgment in Case C-621/18 Press and Information Wightman and Others v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union(press release)" (PDF). Court of Justice of the European Union. 10 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018. The United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU
  21. ^ "European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2017 on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union, paragraph L". European Parliament. 5 April 2017.
  22. ^ "The (ir-)revocability of the withdrawal notification under Article 50 TEU – Conclusions" (PDF). The European Union Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs. March 2018.
  23. ^ "State of play of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom". The European Commission. 12 July 2017.
  24. ^ a b "Chief EU negotiator pushing to ensure Britain can't pull back from two-year Brexit process". 8 April 2017.
  25. ^ Dammann, Jens (Spring 2017). "Revoking Brexit: Can member states rescind their declaration of withdrawal from the European Union?". Columbia Journal of European Law. Columbia Law School. 23 (2): 265–304. SSRN 2947276. Retrieved 5 April 2017. Preview.
  26. ^ "EU Law Analysis - Expert insight into EU law developments - Can an Article 50 notice of withdrawal from the EU be unilaterally revoked?". University of Essex. 16 January 2018.
  27. ^ Article 50(4) of Lisbon Treaty, which cites Article 49 accession process.
  28. ^ The provision reads:

    "6. The European Council may, on the initiative of the Member State concerned, adopt a decision amending the status, with regard to the Union, of a Danish, French or Netherlands country or territory referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2. The European Council shall act unanimously after consulting the Commission."

    — Treaty of Lisbon Article 2, point 293
  29. ^ "Greenland Out of E.E.C.," New York Times (4 February 1985)
  30. ^ "European law mentioning Greenland Treaty".
  31. ^ a b "Draft European Council Decision on amendment of the European status of the island of Saint-Barthélemy – adoption" (PDF).
  32. ^ Hunt, Alex; Wheeler, Brian (3 November 2016). "Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU". BBC News.
  33. ^ "House of Commons Briefing Paper 7960, summary". House of Commons. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  34. ^ "Advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe". British Government Website. The U.K. Government. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  35. ^ Wilkinson, Michael (17 January 2017). "Theresa May confirms Britain will leave Single Market as she sets out 12-point Brexit plan". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  36. ^ "Brexit: PM to trigger Article 50 by end of March". BBC News. 2 October 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  37. ^ "George Osborne: Only the UK can trigger Article 50". Al Jazeera.
  38. ^ Henley, Jon (26 June 2016). "Will article 50 ever be triggered?". The Guardian.
  39. ^ "Brussels' Fear of the True Finns: Rise of Populist Parties Pushes Europe to the Right," Spiegel (25 April 2011).
  40. ^ Edward, David, "Scotland's Position in the European Union", Scottish Parliamentary Review, Vol. I, No. 2 (Jan 2014) [Edinburgh: Blacket Avenue Press]
  41. ^ "Scottish independence: Irish minister says EU application 'would take time'". BBC. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  42. ^ Carrell, Jennifer Rankin Severin (14 March 2017). "Independent Scotland 'would have to apply to join EU' – Brussels official" – via www.theguardian.com.
  43. ^ The Catalan independence movement is pro-EU – but will the EU accept it?, London School of Economics 10/OCT/17
  44. ^ http://www.ilecproject.eu/sites/default/files/GUIDELINES%20INVOLUNTARY%20LOSS%20OF%20EUROPEAN%20CITIZENSHIP%20.pdf
  45. ^ http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2324&context=ilj

External links

1962 Algerian independence referendum

An independence referendum was held in French Algeria on 1 July 1962. It followed French approval of the Évian Accords in an April referendum. The results in Algeria were 99.72% in favour and just 0.28% against. Voter turnout was 91.88%. As a result of the vote in favour, France declared Algeria to be independent on 3 July.

When Algeria ceased being part of France it also ceased being part of the European Communities.

1982 Greenlandic European Communities membership referendum

The Greenlandic European Communities membership referendum, 1982 was a referendum over whether Greenland should continue to be a member of the European Economic Community which took place on 23 February 1982.

Greenland joined the European Communities in 1973 when Denmark joined, even though a majority of 70% of the Greenlandic votes had been against membership in the Danish EC referendum held in 1972. In the spring of 1981, after the Greenlandic home-rule had been established in 1979 and the eurosceptic Siumut won the 1979 election, the Parliament of Greenland agreed to hold a referendum on their continued membership. The result of the referendum was a majority in favour of leaving the EC, and this was enacted by the Greenland Treaty, which allowed the EC to keep its fishing rights. Greenland continues to be considered an Overseas Countries and Territory of the EU, giving it a special relationship with the Union.

2014 European Parliament election in Gibraltar

The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is a part of the European Parliament constituency combined region of South West England and Gibraltar. For elections to the European Parliament in 2014, the vote in the region took place on 22 May 2014, with the results announced on 25 May 2014. On the previous two occasions Gibraltar has participated in European elections, the Conservative Party had topped the poll. The Liberal Democrats won the popular vote in the territory for the first time. They opposed British withdrawal from the European Union and were the only party to include a Gibraltar resident on their list of candidates, Lyana Armstrong-Emery of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar.The result was notable as one of only four counting areas in which the Liberal Democrats topped the poll, the others being South Lakeland in Cumbria and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland.

Despite the result in Gibraltar, the Liberal Democrat vote fell across the South West region (and the whole of the UK), and the sitting Liberal Democrat MEP, Graham Watson, described as a "stalwart" and "advocate" of Gibraltar, lost his seat.

2019 European Parliament election in Estonia

The 2019 European Parliament election in Estonia for the election of the delegation from Estonia to the European Parliament will take place on May 26, 2019. Due to the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union and the redistribution of its European Parliament seats, the amount of elected MEPs from Estonia is increased by one to seven.

Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union

Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union is a procedure in the treaties of the European Union (EU) to suspend certain rights from a member state. While rights can be suspended, there is no mechanism to expel a member.

The procedure is covered by TEU Article 7. It would be enacted where the EU identifies a member persistently breaching the EU's founding values (respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities), as outlined in TEU Article 2.

The European Council can vote to suspend any rights of membership, such as voting and representation as outlined above. Identifying the breach requires unanimity (excluding the state concerned), but sanctions require only a qualified majority. The state in question would still be bound by the obligations treaties, and the Council acting by majority may alter or lift such sanctions.

Better Off Out

Better Off Out (BOO) is the name of a non party campaign which called for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. It is run by The Freedom Association, a pressure group that describes itself as non-partisan, centre-right and libertarian, and which has links to the Conservative Party and UK Independence Party (UKIP). The campaign was formed in 2006, and is based in Cheltenham, England.

Brexit

Brexit ( or ; Irish: Breatamach), a portmanteau of "British" and "exit", is the impending withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). It follows the referendum of 23 June 2016 when 51.9 per cent of voters chose to leave the EU. Withdrawal has been advocated by Eurosceptics, both left-wing and right-wing, while pro-Europeanists, who also span the political spectrum, have advocated continued membership.

The UK joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath, with continued membership endorsed by a referendum in 1975. In the 1970s and 1980s, withdrawal from the European Communities was advocated mainly by the political left, with the Labour Party's 1983 election manifesto advocating full withdrawal. In the late 1980s, opposition to the development of the EC into an increasingly political union grew on the right, with Margaret Thatcher – despite being a key proponent of the European single market – becoming increasingly ambivalent towards the EC. From the 1990s, opposition to further European integration came mainly from the right, and divisions within the Conservative Party led to rebellion over the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

The new UK Independence Party (UKIP) was a major advocate of a further referendum on continued membership of what had now become the European Union, and the party's growing popularity in the early 2010s resulted in UKIP being the most successful UK party in the 2014 European Parliament election. The cross-party People's Pledge campaign was also influential in bringing about a referendum. The Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron pledged during the campaign for the 2015 UK General Election to hold a new referendum—a promise which he fulfilled in 2016 following the pressure from the Eurosceptic wing of his party. Cameron, who had campaigned to remain, resigned after the result and was succeeded by Theresa May, his former Home Secretary. She called a snap general election less than a year later, but lost her overall majority. Her minority government is supported in key votes by the Democratic Unionist Party.

On 29 March 2017, the Government of the United Kingdom invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 at 11 pm UK time, when the period for negotiating a Withdrawal Agreement will end unless an extension is agreed. May announced the government's intention not to seek permanent membership of the European single market or the EU customs union after leaving the EU and promised to repeal the European Communities Act of 1972 and incorporate existing European Union law into UK domestic law. A new government department, the Department for Exiting the European Union, was created in July 2016. Negotiations with the EU officially started in June 2017, aiming to complete the withdrawal agreement by October 2018. In June 2018, the UK and the EU published a joint progress report outlining agreement on issues including customs, VAT and Euratom. In July 2018, Cabinet agreed to the Chequers plan, an outline of proposals by the UK Government. In November 2018, the Draft Withdrawal Agreement and Outline Political Declaration, agreed between the UK Government and the EU, was published. On 15 January 2019, the House of Commons voted 432 to 202 against the deal, the largest parliamentary defeat in history for a sitting UK government.The broad consensus among economists is that Brexit will likely reduce the UK's real per capita income in the medium term and long term, and that the Brexit referendum itself had damaged the economy. Studies on effects since the referendum show annual losses of £404 for the average UK household from increased inflation, and losses between 2 and 2.5 per cent of UK GDP. Brexit is likely to reduce immigration from European Economic Area (EEA) countries to the UK, and poses challenges for UK higher education and academic research. As of November 2018, the size of the "divorce bill"—the UK's inheritance of existing EU trade agreements—and relations with Ireland and other EU member states remains uncertain. The precise impact on the UK depends on whether the process will be a "hard" or "soft" Brexit. Analysis by HM Treasury has found that there is no Brexit scenario that is expected to improve the UK economic condition. A November 2018 Treasury publication regarding the potential impact of the Chequers proposal estimated that within 15 years the UK economy will be 3.9% worse off compared with staying in the EU.

Campaign for an Independent Britain

The Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB) is a cross-party UK Eurosceptic campaign group which calls for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

Dutch withdrawal from the European Union

The Dutch withdrawal from the European Union, colloquially also labeled "Nexit", a term composed of "Netherlands" and "exit," refers to the case of The Netherlands leaving the European Union.

European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public Vote) Bill 2017–19

The European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Public Vote) Bill 2017–19 is a private member's bill of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make provision for the holding of a “public vote” (referendum) in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar following the conclusion of negotiations by Her Majesty's Government and the European Union on whether to support the proposed exit deal for the United Kingdom's Withdrawal from the European Union or to remain a member state of the EU. The bill is sponsored by English Labour Co-operative MP Gareth Thomas.

For our Future's Sake

For our Future's Sake (FFS) is a student-led pressure group supporting a people's vote on the Brexit deal. It represents at least 60 student unions, and 980,000 students, across the UK.

Frexit

"Frexit" is a portmanteau word for a hypothetical French withdrawal from the European Union (EU). The term was mostly used during the campaign leading to the French presidential election of 2017.

A poll by the Pew Research Center in June 2016, before the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, found France to have a 61% unfavourable view of the EU, second only to Greece's 71%, with the United Kingdom on 48%. However, when asked about an actual departure from the EU, 45% of French wanted to stay at the heart of the bloc while 33% expressed a desire to leave.The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum held on 23 June 2016, which resulted in 51.9% of votes being cast in favour of exiting the EU, occurred during the electoral campaign leading to the French presidential election of 2017. Following the referendum result, Front National leader Marine Le Pen promised a French referendum on EU membership if she were to win the presidential election. Former President François Hollande met with politicians including Le Pen in the aftermath of the vote and rejected her proposal for a referendum. Fellow 2017 candidate Nicolas Dupont-Aignan of France Arise also advocated for a referendum. François Asselineau's Popular Republican Union instead advocate a unilateral withdrawal of the EU using article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon.In an early use of the term Frexit, Le Pen said "Just call me Madame Frexit" in a Bloomberg Television interview she gave journalist Caroline Connan on 23 June 2015, one year before the Brexit referendum in June 2016. In turn, the terms Grexit and Brexit had gained prominence as early as February 2012 and May 2012, respectively, in the context of the Greek government-debt crisis.

In a January 2018 interview with the BBC, President of France Emmanuel Macron agreed with Andrew Marr that the French people were equally disenchanted with globalisation and if presented with a simple yes / no response to such a complex question, they would "probably" have voted for Frexit in the same circumstances.

Operation Yellowhammer

Operation Yellowhammer is the codename used by the UK Treasury for cross-government "no-deal" contingency planning for the possibility that Brexit negotiations for the withdrawal from the European Union fail to reach an agreement or an extension by 29 March 2019.Should there fail to be a negotiated settlement by that date, the UK would leave the European Union, leaving a hiatus impacting on many aspects of the relationship between the UK and European Union. The areas affected would include money, citizens, trade, customs and a range of regulations.On 6 September 2018, a press photographer captured a snapshot of a "no-deal" planning document revealing some details of then-current preparations and the HM Treasury codename for those plans. The document appeared to indicate the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, a department of the Cabinet Office responsible for emergency planning, had been used in anticipation of government policy. No further details were revealed.

On 2 February 2019, a journalist of the London Times provided leaked documents about preparations by the Department for Transport using this codename. The documents are detailing command and control structures.

Our Future Our Choice

Our Future Our Choice (OFOC) is a British pro-European Union advocacy group for young people.

People's Vote

People's Vote is a British campaign group calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The group was launched in April 2018 at an event at which four Members of Parliament spoke, along with the actor Patrick Stewart and other public figures.

Remainiacs

Remainiacs is a British hour-long weekly political podcast about Brexit, speaking from the remaining in the European Union point of view. It was started on 26 May 2017 after the European Union membership referendum as a no-holds-barred podcast for everyone who won't shut up about Brexit".

Results of the 1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum

The United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum was a public vote that took place on 5 June 1975, on whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Communities which was principally the European Economic Community (the Common Market) as it was known at the time. At the time the UK had already been a member of the EC for two and a half years since joining back on 1 January 1973 and was the first ever national referendum of its kind to be held in the country.

This article lists, by voting area, all the results of the referendum, each ordered into national sections.

Under the provisions of the Referendum Act 1975 there was a total of 68 counting areas across the United Kingdom in which counting took place locally. Once the counting areas had officially declared, their results were then relayed by the returning officers to the Chief counting officer Sir Philip Allen who later declared the final result, In England there was a total of 47 counting areas which were made up of the then county council areas of England along with Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. In Wales there was just 8 counting areas which were also made up by the then county council areas. In Scotland the then 12 administrative regions were used as the counting areas with Northern Ireland acting as a single counting area. This meant that of the counting areas the Isles of Silly with 1,447 eligible voters had the smallest electorate and was also the smallest geographically and Greater London with 5,250,343 eligible voters had the largest electorate and Highland in northern Scotland was the largest geographically with 127,925 eligible voters.

This made for a highly centralised national count with local authorities (district councils) in England and Wales verifying votes locally after polls closed but counting of all totals were only permitted to be held and declared at county council or Scottish regional council level apart from the Isles of Silly and was not overseen by any independent public body.

Counting took place on Friday 6 June from 09:00 BST, the day after the poll took place and presented unique challenges as large venues were required as there had been no previous experience of counting on such a large and centralised scale and took almost fourteen hours to complete.

UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill

The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill 2018, colloquially known as Continuity Bill within the Scottish Parliament or the EU Continuity Bill within Scotland, provided for all matters devolved under the Scotland Act 1998 and subsequent legislation that are currently under the control of the European Union, to be repatriated to the Scottish Parliament upon 'exit day'. It was referred to as the Scottish EU Continuity Bill outwith Scotland, was a passed legislative bill by the Scottish Parliament with a stated view to prepare devolved elements of Scots law in view of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

This bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament amid failing negotiations between the Scottish Government and the Government of the United Kingdom on where key powers, which would ordinarily be devolved, should lie on the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.The Bill was referred to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom under section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998 by the Attorney General for England and Wales (on behalf of the UK Government) and the Advocate General for Scotland. The case summary according to the court in UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill 2018 – A Reference by the Attorney General and the Advocate General for Scotland (UKSC 2018/0080) stated:

On 17 April 2018, the UK Government's Law Officers, the Attorney General and the Advocate General, referred EU exit legislation passed in the Scottish Parliament – the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill – to the Supreme Court. The Law Officers asked the Supreme Court for a ruling on whether this legislation is within devolved legislative powers.

On 13 December 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that section 17 of the Bill to be outwith the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament under the Scotland Act 1998, due to the passage and enactment of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 while the Bill was under review, and that the bill as far as that section is concerned is therefore 'not law'. The Governments of Scotland and of the United Kingdom differed sharply on the outcome. The (UK) Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said the court had "provided much-needed legal clarity" that the bill "goes beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament". But Scotland's Brexit Secretary Michael Russell argued that the UK government had "changed the rules of the game midway through the match" in an "act of constitutional vandalism".

Withdrawal of Greenland from the European Communities

The withdrawal of Greenland from the European Communities took place in 1985. This followed a referendum in 1982 in which 53% voted to leave.

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