The UK triggers Article 50: what to expect next?

Wednesday, 8th March 2017 5:30 to 7:00 pm (BST) Brussels, Belgium

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Event co-hosted by Open Europe and the Joint Law Society Brussels Office

Ahead of the British government’s triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, Open Europe and the Joint Law Society Brussels Office are bringing together prominent speakers from both Britain and the EU27 to discuss what to expect next, both for the EU and for the UK.

Some of the issues to be addressed include: What could the European Commission’s negotiation mandate look like? When precisely will the negotiations start and how long will the effective period of negotiation be? What will be the main challenges to overcome? Will the EU agree to start discussing Britain’s post-Brexit status alongside exit negotiations in order to avoid an economically damaging cliff-edge in Spring 2019? Will Britain begin discussing new trade deals while EU negotiations are ongoing, and will the EU challenge this? Finally, what role will the European Parliament play?  


Daniel Dalton
Member of European Parliament for the UK (Conservatives, ECR Group)

Danuta Hübner
Member of European Parliament for Poland, Chair of the AFCO – Committee (PO, EPP Group)

Michael-James Clifton
Chef de Cabinet to the President of the EFTA Court

Stephen Booth
Director of Policy and Research, Open Europe

Moderator: Bojan Pancevski, EU-correspondent of the Sunday Times

A drinks reception will be hosted afterwards, from 6:30pm.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Some research on the issue:

Published before the Referendum result was known, Open Europe’s liberal free-market guide to Brexit offered practical recommendations and case studies to show how the UK and EU can minimise trade friction after Brexit.

Open Europe’s landmark financial services report sets out how UK and EU policy-makers and practitioners can preserve the vital links and regulatory frameworks that connect the EU to the UK financial services industry, its most significant source of capital and expertise.

The Law Society of England and Wales, Brexit and the Law report,

The Law Society of Scotland, Negotiation priorities on leaving the EU: Proposals by the Law Society of Scotland

For any queries please contact:
Pieter Cleppe
Head of Open Europe Brussels Office
+32 2 540 86 25    

Helena Raulus
Joint Law Society Brussels Office

Event Summary

At a panel debate in Brussels hosted by Open Europe and the Joint Law Society Brussels Office, British Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton said that, “There’s no way the UK can stay in the EU single market because then it would need to take over EU rules without being able to vote on it”. On the European Parliament’s stance, he predicted that “Their political parties back home will dictate the position of MEPs on Brexit.”

Polish MEP Danuta Hübner, who’s the chair of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) committee, said that, “It’s now inevitable to have fragmentation and different speeds in the EU”, warning the UK that “Compromise on Brexit should not be seen as a failure.” She stressed that “In any case we will need transitional arrangements for the UK.”

Michael-James Clifton, the British Chef de Cabinet to the President of the EFTA Court, stated that, “The UK could unilaterally withdraw its request to exit the EU, given that the EU isn’t able to expel member state under this particular Treaty article.” He urged the UK to look at Switzerland’s relationship with the EU, saying, “Switzerland really is in a position similar to what the UK will find itself in,” specifically mentioning how Switzerland has so far refused to accept a dispute resolution authority as “Switzerland has rejected the EU’s idea to install an EFTA surveillance authority which would include a Swiss judge in order to sort out disputes between Switzerland and the EU over their bilateral relationship.”

Also speaking at the event, Stephen Booth, Open Europe’s Director of Policy and Research, said that, “The EU should aim to keep UK as a friend. How many more friends can it afford to lose? It’s already getting on less friendly with the US, Russia and Turkey.” He added that, “It’s unfortunate that the EU Commission want to discuss money first. That’s always tricky and may upset good relations,” referring to how the EU Commission has floated a 60bn euro figure as an estimate of the UK’s “exit bill,” noting that “this €60bn figure an example of what happens when there is unclarity about who’s responsible to negotiate.” The event was moderated by Bojan Pancevski, EU-correspondent of the Sunday Times, who pointed out that “the €60bn figure was floated by the Commission but hasn’t been endorsed by EU leaders.”

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