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Brexit - what next?

After the Brexit vote, what happens next? Does the European Parliament have a role in the Brexit negotiations? What is Article 50? In this section of our website we have been collecting information, studies, and articles from different sources in order to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments related to Brexit.


On the 23 June 2016, the British government held an in / out referendum on UK membership of the EU. The UK electorate voted to leave the EU by 51.9% to 48.1% with a national turnout of 72.2%.

The legal basis for the UK withdrawal from the EU is set out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (TEU). Accordingly, the EU and the UK government have 2 years to come to a withdrawal agreement from the start of the Article 50 negotiations. The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has said that the government will start the withdrawal negotiations before the end of March 2017.  

Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU

Brexit & the European Parliament

On the 29 March the European Parliament presented a draft resolution on the Brexit negotiations. The text sets out the conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the United Kingdom. The draft resolution will be debated and voted on by the full house next on Wednesday 5 April.


Since the UK referendum on EU membership, the European Parliament has held several debates on the impact and potential consequences of Brexit. Watch our playlist to see the reactions of the European Parliament President, political group leaders and other MEPs.


Next steps

The European Parliamentary Research Service have set out a step by step guide to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The Brexit negotiations will begin as soon as the UK gives a formal notice of intention to the European Council.


What is the European Parliament's role in Brexit negotiations?

The European Parliament will be important in determining the final withdrawal agreement. Whilst it has no formal role within the Brexit negotiation process, other than the right to receive regular information on its progress, the Council needs to obtain the European Parliament’s consent (Article 50 (2) TEU), voting by a simple majority of the votes cast, before it can conclude the withdrawal agreement.

Therefore, the European Parliament's right to withhold consent to the final agreement offers it political leverage to influence the agreement and effectively makes it a veto player.

Who is the lead European Parliament negotiator on Brexit?

The European Parliament appointed Guy Verhofstadt MEP (@GuyVerhofstadt) as its lead representative on Brexit matters on the 8th September 2016. He will keep the Conference of Presidents (comprising the EP President and political group leaders) fully informed of developments and will help prepare the European Parliament position in the negotiations, in close consultation with the Conference of Presidents.

Guy Verhofstadt MEP is President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE Group) in the European Parliament and was first elected as a Member of the European Parliament in June 2009.

Constitutional Affairs committee

Once Article 50 of the EU Treaty has been triggered by the UK authorities and the European Council has adopted the negotiation guidelines, Mr Verhofstadt will also work closely with the Chair of the Constitutional Affairs committee, Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL), and other committees wherever necessary to shape the European Parliament’s negotiating position.

Brexit Steering Group

The Brexit Steering Group's purpose is to coordinate and prepare Parliament's deliberations, considerations and resolutions on the UK's withdrawal from the EU.



Catch up on all the latest news and press releases regarding Brexit from the European Parliament via the "Top story" on the main European Parliament website.

Top story: Brexit


We have hosted various events relating to Brexit since the referendum and have several more coming up. Join us for events in November, including "Brexit and the European Parliament: what does it mean for science and research?" in London and "Brexit and the European Parliament: what it means for agriculture" in York. Please register via the event webpages.


Further information

Some useful documents and links of the main institutions involved in Brexit.

The Article 50 negotiation process (European Commission)Department for Exiting the European Union ( UK Government)Exiting the European Union Committee (House of Commons)UK's negotiating objectives for withdrawal from EU inquiryEuropean Parliament Think Tank

Brexit literature: