What's next in Britain's divorce from the EU

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 17, 2017 10:18 AM
What's next in Britain's divorce from the EU

LONDON (AP) — A look at the next steps in Britain's exit from the European Union, and when they can be expected:

___

ARTICLE 50

To kick off the formal process of pulling out of the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May will have to trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty, which will give both sides up to two years to agree to the terms of the divorce.

May has said that she will start the process by the end of March — meaning that Britain can expect to be out of the EU by mid-2019. But many uncertainties about the withdrawal process remain because Article 50 has never been used before.

The negotiations could be extended at the end of two years, but only if Britain and all the other 27 EU countries agree.

___

BREXIT COURT DECISION

Britain's Supreme Court is expected later this month to rule on whether May must get the backing of Parliament before she can begin the legal process of leaving the EU.

The implications of that ruling are still uncertain. Should the government lose, it will have only weeks to introduce legislation to trigger the Brexit process before its self-imposed March deadline.

Many lawmakers have indicated they will not seek to overturn June's referendum result, so May should get her green light to trigger Article 50. However, lawmakers could delay the bill, or seek to change the terms.

___

FINAL PARLIAMENT VOTE

Once a final Brexit deal has been agreed on — presumably in late 2018 to early 2019 — both houses of Parliament will get to vote on it and have their say before it comes into force, May confirmed Tuesday. It is unclear how exactly the vote will be put to Parliament, or what would happen if lawmakers voted down that deal.

___

TRANSITION PERIOD

Addressing worries of economic chaos upon Britain's exit at the end of the two-year talks, May said she wanted a "phased process of implementation" to give businesses time to prepare to avoid a "disruptive cliff-edge."

May said this doesn't mean an unlimited transitional period, which she said would mean Britain would be stuck in a kind of "permanent political purgatory."

She said that by the end of the two-year period, when the exit process has finished, both sides should have agreed on what their future partnership would look like and have a set time period to implement it. The time needed to introduce new arrangements would depend on the issue, from immigration to financial regulations, she said.