UK Votes in Favour of Brexit: What Happens Now?
More than three years after David Cameron unveiled his strategy to reform Europe and put it to a referendum, Britain has voted to leave and the Prime Minister has resigned.
How long would it take to leave the EU?
It would take a minimum of two years for the UK to leave the EU. During that time Britain would continue to abide by EU treaties and laws but will not partake in any decision making. However leading European Union law professor Michael Dougan stated "the overwhelming consensus is that these things do not take two years to negotiate, the rough guide that we are all talking about in the field is around 10 years".
What will happen during that time?
The UK would have to thrash out the terms of its departure. Issues would include what financial regulations would still apply to the City of London, trade tariffs and movement rights of EU citizens and UK nationals. The agreement would have to be ratified both by the European council and the parliament in Strasbourg.
How would Brexit impact the EU?
Some people in the EU community believe that Britain quitting its membership could encourage other nations to follow suit with referendums of their own - or demand tailor-made deals of their own.
Freedom of movement, long-enshrined as a key pillar of the EU, will soon be a thing of the past for UK citizens. But what, if anything, will replace it? And how will the referendum result affect the three million EU citizens who currently live and work in the UK?
Article 50 – What is it?
The EU's leadership has demanded Britain activate Article 50 exit talks "as soon as possible" as they attempt to end the uncertainty over the bloc, "however painful that process may be".
The Lisbon Treaty became law in December 2009, eight years after European leaders launched a process to make the EU "more democratic, more transparent and more efficient". It's an agreement signed by the heads of state and government of countries that are part of the EU. Part of that law was Article 50. A very basic five-point plan should any country wish to leave the European Union
Six years later and here we are, Vote Leave have won in the EU referendum but it will be a long time until we actually leave. The UK's exit has to be negotiated with the remaining 27 members of the EU and ultimately approved by them.
Once the UK tells the EU that it is withdrawing under Article 50, "the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it," the rule says.
However, the UK will carry on taking part in other EU business as normal, but it won't participate in internal EU discussions or decisions about its own withdrawal.
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