Article 50 and a divorce after 40 years of marriage

It is very likely that no important decision will be made just yet, as they might want to wait for the results of the French presidential election in April and the German parliamentary election in September, this is because these two countries are the most important member states of the EU. Only after knowing who the leaders of these two countries are, then the real negotiations will begin.


 United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, wrote a letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, invoking the Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty while calling for the negotiation of a trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, immediately rejected the plans for negotiation arguing that the top priority of the European Union is the negotiation of the UK’s withdrawal. Would the UK gett a good deal leaving the EU? Who wins and who loses with Brexit?

If Merkel conducts the negotiations as she said, that would mean that the UK might be forced to fulfill its financial obligations to Brussels, which would account up to 60 billion euros, before even beginning to talk about a trade deal. The preoccupation that May endures is understandable, as having a trade deal with the EU would definitely help the UK secure a good part of the country’s economic future, given the fact that 44% of the UK’s exports go to the EU. If all the negotiations develop without an agreement, the UK would have to leave the EU and would not be part of the EU current agreements, such as the internal free trade and free migration. Back in January, May argued in a Lancaster House speech that the UK would leave the EU with no deal if the UK did not get what it wanted. Now at least, she seems to have understood that it is better to leave as a “friend”, instead of getting a horrible divorce. Nevertheless, May’s letter also stated that the fight against crime and terrorism would be affected if there is no future agreement. Is this the right way to go?

The UK’s contribution to this fight against crime and terrorism is at this moment consists of cooperation with the European Arrest Warrant and shared databases, contributions to the Pan-European crime fighting agency Europol, intelligence sharing between agencies and military aid that is channeled through Nato to Eastern Europe. May’s threat to withdraw also this type of cooperation can be seen as arrogant and insensitive, because their lack of cooperation would not only affect the EU, but also the UK eventually. In addition, there are about 3.5 million EU citizens currently living in the UK, and they would not know whether they can legally remain there.

In about a month, the UK and the EU will formally begin the negotiations in order to find an agreement on how the negotiations would go. However, it is very likely that no important decision will be made just yet, as they might want to wait for the results of the French presidential election in April and the German parliamentary election in September, this is because these two countries are the most important member states of the EU. Only after knowing who the leaders of these two countries are, then the real negotiations will begin.

A divorce without a deal would certainly be a bad thing for both parts, but it undoubtedly would be worse for the UK. For example, the UK products are built according to the EU regulations and it must be discussed how they would do this in the future. Another key point is the UK’s financial services that are vital for both parts and that currently operate without any type of restrictions in the continent. All these issues (that can be summarized to migration, trade and sovereignty) must be solved within a two-year-limit, but given the nature and the complexity of the issues, it is reasonable to think that this divorce negotiations might take longer. And the possibility of this being a long painful divorce being part of the strategy of the EU is very real, as it is in their interest to discourage other EU members of getting out of the EU demanding good deals. It only rests to wait and see how the pull-push will develop.

 

Dott.ssa Ana Figueroa

 

 

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