Sunday, 6 March 2016

The PROCESS for withdrawing from the European Union

It has been quite a week with the publication by the Government of a paper entitled 'The Process of Withdrawing from the European Union'

This states, as EUReferendum has been arguing for years, that "a vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process".


The report states that Article 50 "is the only lawful way to withdraw from the EU". It would, it says, "be a breach of international and EU law to withdraw unilaterally from the EU (for example, by simply repealing the domestic legislation that gives the EU law effect in the UK)". 

The vote on 23rd June is just the switch which is the start of a process. 

The first step of the process after the 'Leave' switch is activated is for the Civil Service to formulate a plan of what the United Kingdom will look like after it leaves the European Union. Since Mr Cameron refuses to allow the Civil Service to have a contingency plan now in the event of a 'Leave' vote, one will have to be drawn up after the vote is cast.

Although David Cameron states that the British people would expect the Government to start an Article 50 process 'straight away', I do not see that this is the case. A contingency plan would take a while to be drawn up and agreed. The plan would need to be debated. That would take, say, a year.

The second step in the process is the Article 50 notification. This would start a 2 year negotiation window to achieve the first part of the Civil Service contingency plan. 

At the same time as negotiating with the European Union, the United Kingdom would start negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) to join EFTA. 

In order for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union with as soft a landing as possible, it means, in the short term, joining the European Free Trade Association (the EEA/EFTA option) so that we maintain access to the single market. In order to retain access to the single market means that we need to accept the pillars of the single market, one of which is the free movement of people. 

We would thus leave the the European Union and join EFTA at the same time, maintaining access to the single market and all the trade deals to which we currently subscribe. Relying on the accepted principle in international law, of presumption of continuity, we can continue with existing trade deals. There is no need and no great pressure to renegotiate them. 

Current European Law would be repatriated to the United Kingdom and over the following few years, members of the House of Commons and Lords could actually earn their salary by discussing those laws which are essential or necessary to keep and those that can be repealed.

As outlined in THE exit plan Flexcit (The Market Solution) 
leaving the European Union is the risk averse thing to do if we do it in a series of ordered steps.

"A vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process". 

It is quite possible that a vote to Leave the European Union would mean that we did not ACTUALLY leave until, say, June  2018 at the earliest (if an Article 50 notice was issued straight away) or possibly not until May 2020 if the Government chose not to issue an Article 50 notice until May 2018 so that any deal would be subject to a General Election.

A vote to Leave the European Union on 23rd June 2016 is a process to regain governance of the United Kingdom so that it becomes an Independent Sovereign State at the top table in the Global Governance bodies. Places such as the United Nations where instead of having a 28th of a voice we would have (like Norway)  our own National voice.

This vote is in our hands. A vote to leave the European Union is not a leap in the dark or even a leap of faith. Leaving the European Union is essential if the United Kingdom is ever to stop being part of the drive to 'ever closer (European Union) union'

It is a process. It can be achieved through negotiation. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Vote to Leave the European Union.


Thanks to John Blake for pointing out my error in the original post which is corrected above. The United Kingdom is already in the EEA (European Economic Area). We would need to join the inter-Governmental European Free Trade Association (EFTA)


  1. "At the same time as negotiating with the European Union, the United Kingdom would start negotiations with the European Economic Area (EEA) to join the EEA."

    I thought we were already a member of the EEA (the Single Market)?

    I think what you meant to say is "start negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)"

  2. John: Thank you: I will amend immediately