The members of the European Union have the right to withdraw from the union under the Treaty on European Union. According to Article 50 of this Treaty of European Union, any member country of the European Union has the right to withdraw from it in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. Recently, the United Kingdom has applied to withdraw from the European Union. On March 29th, 2017, the United Kingdom gave formal notice to the European Union about its intent to withdraw from it. This process will be in accordance with the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Procedure Of Exit from European Union
The Treaty of Lisbon has an exit clause. According to this clause, which is mentioned in Article 50, any member country has the right to withdraw from the European Union. The terms on which the said country is allowed to withdraw from the European Union are negotiated between the Union and the country. Once notification is given to the European Council then there is a sunset period of 2 years in which the terms & conditions for the withdrawal of the country are negotiated. All existing agreements and treaties between the withdrawing country and the rest of the countries of the European Union will cease to exist once the agreement has been signed. If the terms of negotiations have not been set even after 2 years then there is a special provision under which the European Parliament can extend the sunset period for negotiations. However this can only be done by a unanimous decision. These negotiations are made in accordance with the Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
These negotiations are concluded by the European council on behalf of the European Union and must be approved by the European Council by a qualified majority through the consent of the European parliament. If the withdrawing country wishes to rejoin the European Union at any time in the future then it will be subject to the same terms as any new country which wants to join.
United Kingdom situation with regards to BREXIT
The United Kingdom conducted a poll in June 2016. These polls were conducted to know the opinion of the general public as to whether the United Kingdom should or should not withdraw from the European Union. The results made it clear that the opinion of the public was in favor of withdrawal from the union. Heeding to the voice of the public, the Prime Minister of the country, Mrs. Theresa May, formally notified the European Union of its intent to withdraw. In 2015 the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron announced that the government shall conduct a referendum on the European Union membership before the end of 2017. David Cameron campaigned in the favor of remaining a member of the union but as the results showed that 51% of the total electorate wanted to withdraw, he had no choice but to resign.
On 29th March 2017, after a formal letter by the current British Prime Minister Mrs. Theresa May, the negotiation process has been triggered. Although the country has triggered the withdrawal but it can still take part in some of the discussions except on matters in which the terms of withdrawal are considered. There are a total of 28 members in the European Union and the negotiation terms will have to be approved by each country as every member has a veto power.