BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF BREXIT

This short article will give you just the basic overview of this very actual and complex topic. We plan to follow up on Brexit daily and keep you informed. But first, let us cover some basic terms, as well as timeline of the events.

What does the word “BREXIT” really mean? It simply means the British (“BR”) exit (“EXIT”) from the European Union. When we say Britain, we mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain). By the public vote (referendum), held on 23 June 2016, 52% of people voted Britain should leave the European Union. If we are talking about the numbers, more than 30 million people voted, 17.4 million of them opting for Brexit. Following such development, David Cameron resigned as prime minister the following day. Then home secretary Theresa May won the Conservative Party leadership and took over the role of the prime minister.

On 29 March 2017, Britain notified the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union, formally triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and starting a two-year countdown to exiting. Leaving European Union can be done in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which states the following: “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”.

Originally, Brexit was planned on 29 March 2019, exactly two years after Britain notified the European Council about its intention, but it has been delayed three times since then. Regarding conditions of exiting the European Union, Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union prescribes the following: “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.”

On 29 April 2017, the European Council adopted guidelines setting the framework for the negotiations and European Union’s position and principles. European Union is represented by Michael Barnier (Chief Negotiator for European Union countries).

One of the biggest issues and a key part of the Brexit negotiations has been, so called “backstop”. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, after Brexit, will be the only border between Britain and European Union. Right now, Britain and Ireland are part of the European Union’s single market and customs union, but after the Brexit everything could change. The two parts of Ireland could be in different customs and regulatory regimes. The goal from both sides, Britain and European Union, is to prevent this happening through a deep and comprehensive trade deal. The problem is the Britain’s ambition to leave the customs union and the single market. So, the backstop was pretty much an insurance plan negotiated by former Prime Minister Theresa May to avoid checks along the Irish border. Boris Johnson, the new prime minister, removed the backstop and replaced it with a new customs plan. This new plan creates a customs and regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The vote in the Parliament did not go ahead and Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to ask for another Brexit delay from European Union.

On 28 October 2019, European Union agreed to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020. What happens next is the question? Early elections, no-deal or the final agreement will be achieved? We will keep you informed about further developments regarding Brexit. Make sure to check our news in the section “KEEP UP”.

 

Kind regards,

AP team