On Wednesday 29 March 2017, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, gave notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) ("Article 50") of the UK’s intention to leave the EU. This means, almost certainly, that two years from now the UK will leave the European Union, some 46 years after becoming a Member State of the then "European Common Market" on 1st January 1973.
This is a decision of huge economic and political significance following the June 2016 Referendum in which voters in the UK by 52% to 48% voted to leave the EU. The impact on the future of the UK and of the rest of the EU cannot yet be known, and the notice is given early in a year of very significant political upheaval:
- at least three of the original six Member States (Netherlands, France and Germany) have general elections;
- the EU as a whole continues to face difficulties in dealing with the inflow of refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East and North Africa;
- Greece and some other countries struggle with their participation in the Euro-zone;
- there is a background of continued war in Syria and Iraq; and
- there is a new US administration with radical policies.
Click here to read the briefing which contains analysis of today's notice. We have also produced a handy two page guide which summarises the key issues that are likely to arise following the triggering of Article 50.