Is Great Britain going to exit the European Union?

This is a question many people ask themselves these days. Although the people on the island voted out, there are still debates wheather or not it is a good decision. By the end of the month, the british prime minister Theresa May will enact Article 50 which will start the procedure for exiting the Union. A month later the other nations in the European Union have to meet and discuss the withdraw. The meeting will be used to reach an agreement for the guidelines the EU's negotiating team, headed by Michel Barnier, has to follow. European Council president Donald Tusk said the priority would be giving "clarity" to EU residents, business and member states about the talks ahead.

The negotiations for the divorce bill may take two years or even more and the UK has to be really carefull about the decisions they make regarding it. An EU leak of its negotiating strategy says that the EU will take Britain to the International Court of Justice if it tries to walk away without paying an estimated £50bn divorce bill. The draft plan – obtained by a Dutch newspaper – threatens a long legal battle at The Hague to grab back what the EU regards as the UK’s liabilities for its 43-year membership. “In that case it is: see you in The Hague!” it quotes an EU official – in response to Theresa May’s threat to leave with “no deal” if the Brexit talks cut up rough. A second ex-Cabinet minister, Iain Duncan Smith, said: “It’s nonsense the UK owes the EU any money. The EU Commission has to calculate the value of its assets because, when it does, it will be clear that, contrary to what some are trying to claim, the EU owes the UK money - not the other way round.” Jacob Rees Mogg dismissed the idea of any case reaching The Hague, which simply existed for arbitration and was “not a court as we know it”. “This is one of those things said by people who have not bothered to read the legal situation,” he said. A lengthy battle at the International Court would hold up attempts to reach a new trade agreement with the EU, if it insists on settling the controversy over money owed first.

       The leak, published by the respected de Volkskrant newspaper, said the EU strategy would also:

* Insist access to the EU single market depends upon the UK accepting the "four freedoms" – including, crucially, freedom of movement.

* Propose a deal guaranteeing both the future rights of EU nationals in the UK and Britons in EU countries.

* Demand that the UK loses some of its existing trade advantages, as the price of leaving.

The newspaper billed its story as “the secret EU Strategy for separation from the British”, based on information provided by key EU insiders.

So the British people want to end freedom of movement but want to keep the benefits of the single market after Brexit, according to a new survey - despite the fact Theresa May has admitted this is not going to happen. The poll of more than 2,000 adults by NatCen Social Research shows that on the whole, voters would like to keep the benefits of EU membership, but also want to curb immigration. Overall, 68 per cent of participants want to abolish freedom of movement, but at the same time 88 per cent are keen to maintain free trade with the EU. Other findings include:

  • 86% of Leave and 54% of Remain voters think prospective British migrants to the EU should have to go through the same hoops as non-EU migrants
  • 55% of Leave and 67% of Remain voters think the UK should make a financial contribution to EU programmes it takes part in
  • 67% of Leave and 83% of Remain voters think Britain should retain EU water quality and clean beach standards
  • 67% of Leave and 80% of Remain voters want to keep EU limits on mobile phone roaming charges

The EU has been adamant that to access the single market Britain would have to accept freedom of movement. The European Parliament's point man for the Brexit negotiations, Guy Verhofstadt, said the United Kingdom would not be allowed to “cherry pick” the benefits of the EU. “I think this will not happen. We shall never accept a situation in which it is better to be outside the single market than be a member of the European union,” Mr Verhofstadt said. Theresa May had previously said that Britain would pull out of the single market when it leaves the EU. Ms May pointed to the EU's demand that all members comply with ‘four freedoms’ – including, crucially, freedom of movement of EU citizens. Professor John Curtice, who wrote the report, said the results of the survey are a clear reflection of the “pick-and-mix attitude” of the electorate.  “Many Remain voters would like to see an end to the less popular parts of Britain’s current membership of the EU, while many Leave voters would like to retain the seemingly more desirable parts, such as free trade, cheap mobile phone calls, and clean beaches,” he told the Press and Journal

Since the EU referendum result Theresa May has revealed that she will take Britain through a so-called “hard Brexit” – introducing border controls and leaving the single market. This has lead to calls for a second vote on the terms of leaving the EU. The Liberal Democrats and Green Party leaderships are backing a 10 minute rule bill in the House of Commons that would require a second vote to be held. Mr Farron is expected to say: “We believe in giving the people the final say on the deal. We have not given up the fight. It is not about blocking Brexit, we simply want to hold Theresa May to account for the decisions she has made, including to take Britain out of the single market and the customs union. On Friday Members of the Parliament (MP) will also vote on a private members bill by Labour MP Geraint Davies, the Terms of Withdrawal from EU (Referendum) Bill 2016-17.This bill would require the Prime Minister to hold a referendum on her specific Brexit proposals before triggering Article 50, which she is expected to do within days.

     What happens between March 2017 and March 2019?

April 2017: The EU-27 nations meet to agree on Brexit guidelines, outlining the broad strokes of their response to Britain's decision to withdraw from the EU.

May-June 2017: Member states will get together behind the scenes to draw up more detailed negotiating instructions to be passed on to the European Commission, which will act as the union's chief negotiator.

At the same time, lawyers in Whitehall will be working flat-out on the great repeal bill for the Queen's Speech in May. This will smooth the legal transition of Brexit and incorporate most existing EU legislation into domestic law, where they can be amended or repealed at a more convenient time.

Christmas 2017: By now, UK and EU negotiators should have come to an agreement on the broader principles of Brexit, including the status of EU nationals living in the UK, and outstanding payments to be made. Detailed discussions of the UK's future relationship with the bloc can now begin.

However, says the New Statesman, these talks are still likely to focus on "a transitional arrangement".

"The real deal that will shape Britain's future outside the EU is the trade deal," it says. "And there's no deadline on that."

October 2018: Brexit could be decided by now. Michel Barnier, the EU Commission's lead negotiator, said last year that "it is clear that the period of actual negotiations will be shorter than two years".

In order for the UK and EU parliaments to ratify a final agreement by March 2019, a deal must be on the table by October 2018, he added.

No one can predict how negotiations will develop over the next 18 months, but leading Leave campaigner Daniel Hannan writes in the Daily Telegraph that despite the sabre-rattling in London and Brussels, "it is in the interests of both sides to reach a deal".

March 2019: If all EU member states and the UK have formally agreed the terms, Brexit can be completed on schedule in March 2019.

 Although most British citizens complain that Bulgarian and Romanian workers take their jobs, net long-term international migration from EU citizens was estimated to be 165,000, down from 189,000 in the previous quarter. There have been reports of labour shortages from sectors such as farming and road haulage, which are particularly reliant on EU workers. The latest report from the Bank of England's network of regional agents this week said there was "little evidence" yet of EU migrants leaving due to Brexit. But it added that some had left due to the 13 per cent trade weighted slump in sterling since the referendum vote, which had reduced the value of their repatriated earnings. And the agents related reports from firms of difficulties recruiting new EU workers "due to a shrinking pool of candidates". Ms May has interpreted the Brexit vote as a mandate to end EU freedom of movement. In January she said that the UK would have to leave the single market because the rest of the European Union had made it clear that it would not negotiate over freedom of movement for EU workers. The Prime Minister has said she will invoke Article 50 on 29 March.

So for us, as members of the European Union, is left to see if Great Britain is going to close it's borders, or they will reach an understanding with the other 27 countries and we will still be able to travel and stay in UK without a visa.

 

Source: Independent UK