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.
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.
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.
European Parliamentary Research Service
NEW! House of Lords European Union Committee Reports
House of Commons Library Research Briefings
House of Lords Library Research Briefings
Exiting the European Union Committee (House of Commons)
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.
We have hosted several events relating to Brexit since the referendum and have several more coming up. Join us for the event "Brexit and Parliaments" in London and "Meet your MEP - Alyn Smith at The Gathering" in February 2017. Please register via the event webpages listed below.
Watch the video of our recent #EURefMedia event.
Brexit & the European Parliament
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.