On March 29, 2017, United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May provided written notification to the European Council of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union (EU) under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Written notification marks the opening of withdrawal negotiations between the UK and the EU, with withdrawal itself scheduled to take effect the earlier of either (1) the date a withdrawal agreement enters into force or (2) two years after the UK’s notification under Article 50 (unless the negotiations are extended). However, because there is no precedent for the departure of an EU-member state from the EU, other significant aspects of the Article 50 process are less clear, including:
- Whether and, if so, how a notification of intention to withdraw from the EU could be revoked.
- The precise steps (at both the EU and the individual-member-state level) to be followed before withdrawal of the UK from the EU would take effect.
- What the outcome of the negotiations will be in terms of the prospective agreements and relationship between the UK and EU.
- What transitional provisions or transitional periods might be agreed to.