Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the The University of Edinburgh's online course, Towards Brexit? The UK's EU Referendum. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds The UK has voted to end its membership of the European Union. As a result, the UK will negotiate both its withdrawal from the EU and the new relationship that will replace it. The EU has an official process for an existing Member State to withdraw, which was introduced with the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009. This procedure is set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. It begins with the UK government notifying the European Council of its intention to leave. At some point afterwards, negotiations will begin to agree the withdrawal and the new relationship. The negotiations can last for up to two years.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds If a deal is not reached by then, then the UK would leave the EU with no agreement. This two-year period can be extended if the UK and all the remaining Member States agree. Once complete, the agreement will be voted on by the Council of the European Union. It will also need the support of the European Parliament. It is unclear if or how the agreement will be approved in the UK - for instance, through a vote in Parliament or through another referendum. The UK will not take part in any Council meetings that discuss the EU’s side of the negotiations. The UK’s EU membership covers many different aspects, all of which will presumably need to be addressed in some way.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds As with any negotiation, political agreement and compromise will be essential. It is currently unclear what kind of relationship the UK will seek to replace its EU membership, or what the remaining EU members will be willing to agree. There is no precedent, so it is difficult to foresee how the process will run. Similarly, it’s not known how long the negotiations will take. The question has been raised of when the announcement to trigger Article 50 will be made, or even if this process will be followed at all. However, it is relatively likely that the UK will follow the Article 50 procedure. Beyond these points, we know very little about the negotiations that will take place.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds The UK government, in representing the UK, will have an essential role in the process. It’s not clear whether or to what extent the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be involved in the negotiations. Since the UK has voted to leave, the renegotiation of its EU membership from before is now void. As it stands, none of the provisions in the renegotiation will be implemented. We’ll have a better sense of the way forward once it becomes clear what sort of relationship the UK will look to establish with the EU instead of membership.

Basics: Next steps after the vote

Anthony Salamone sets out the process for the UK to withdraw from the the European Union.

(Videographer: Kara Johnston)

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Towards Brexit? The UK's EU Referendum

The University of Edinburgh