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Brexit

How will Brexit work? What is the European Parliament’s role in the Brexit negotiations under 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.

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Background Information

On 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’s 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 sent a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk on 29 March 2017, which notified him of the UK’s intention to leave the EU and thereby started the formal process of withdrawal.  

Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU
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What is the European Parliament's role in Brexit?

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.

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Brexit & the European Parliament

On 5 April 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution, which sets out the European Parliament’s conditions for its final approval of any UK-EU withdrawal agreement.

European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2017 on negotiations with the UK
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The European Parliament adopted further resolutions on the state of play of the first phase of Brexit negotiations.

European Parliament resolution of 3 October 2017 on the state of play of negotiations with the UK
European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2017 on the state of play of negotiations with the UK

The European Council decided on 15 December 2017 that there was sufficient progress on the priority issues of the first phase of Brexit negotiations, and that the second phase of negotiations - on transitional arrangements and the future EU-UK relationship - could begin, provided that the commitments from the joint report are fully translated into the draft withdrawal agreement.

Joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the UK's orderly withdrawal from the EU
The Brexit process: Moving to the second phase of negotiations
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On 14 March 2018, the European Parliament endorsed a resolution laying out a possible association agreement framework for future EU-UK relations after Brexit. This resolution sets out the European Parliament’s input ahead of the 22-23 March summit of EU heads of state or government, which is expected to approve the Council’s guidelines for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

European Parliament resolution of 14 March 2018 on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship (provisional edition)
 
 

Brexit Impact Studies

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The European Parliament’s Committees have been organising various public hearings exploring the impact of Brexit on their policy areas. In the hearings, the committee chair first invites the panels of experts to deliver presentations on the subject, and then to participate in a Q & A session with the committee's MEPs.
Read more
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Step-by-step guide

The European Parliamentary Research Service have set out a step-by-step guide to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

 

Who is the European Parliament's lead negotiator on Brexit?

Guy Verhofstadt MEP (@GuyVerhofstadt) is the European Parliament's lead representative on Brexit matters. As Brexit Coordinator, he keeps the Conference of Presidents (made up of the EP President and political group leaders) fully informed of developments and helps prepare the European Parliament position in the negotiations, in close consultation with the Conference of Presidents.

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Constitutional Affairs Committee

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Mr Verhofstadt also works closely with the Chair of the Constitutional Affairs committee, Danuta Hübner MEP, and other committees wherever necessary to shape the European Parliament’s negotiating position.

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Brexit Steering Group

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

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Latest

Catch up on all the latest news and press releases regarding Brexit and the European Parliament on the main European Parliament website.

Brexit News
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Further information

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

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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 inquiry
European Parliament Think Tank
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Brexit literature:

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