The British people have voted for their country to leave the European Union. So leave it will. As Prime Minister Theresa May so lucidly puts it, “Brexit means Brexit”. That much isclear. Yet the scale of risk for the British state and its people is still unclear. For the rest of Europe the strategic rift with Britain will have major long-term consequences.
Luckily, although Brexit is a huge reversal of fortune for the European Union, it has a constitutional device for dealing with the rift – Article 50 – about which much has been said and written, not all of it accurate.
This essay looks at the situation in more detail from both the British and European angles. First, it examines why the EU allows one of its member states to leave it and how Article 50 will work in practice. Second, it explores the options for a new relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU, and make a recommendation on what this should be. Third, it argues that Brexit offers the chance of a fresh start for both Britain and Europe.
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