Article 50 TEU in practice: How the EU has applied the ‘exit’ clause

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Series Details PE 659.349
Publication Date November 2020
ISBN 978-92-846-7479-4
EC QA-03-20-774-EN-N
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The United Kingdom's 2016 referendum on EU membership triggered the first ever application of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the withdrawal clause. However, as Article 50 TEU had never been tested, some aspects of the procedure had to be defined in real time, a process that was not without controversy.

This EPRS In-depth Analysis looks at how the EU has applied the 'exit clause' that sets out the conditions and procedure to be followed in the event of a Member State wishing to leave the Union. Looking first at the origins and the main features of the withdrawal clause, the paper then emphasises the way in which the Union filled in certain gaps left open in the drafting of Article 50 TEU and took the lead in establishing the main parameters for the withdrawal negotiations with the UK. It also analyses the European Parliament's success in forging a more substantial role in the withdrawal negotiations than that originally assigned to it by the Treaties.

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