Leaving the EU

Posted by on September 10, 2019 in European Union, The Euro | Comments Off on Leaving the EU

It is fair to say that nothing substantial comes with advantages only. Same applies to the EU. While when it comes to world economy, the political stability of the region and better cooperation of countries in general, the EU is a truly useful and beneficial structure, when it comes to individual gain and prosperity, it can have a different effect on member states depending on how powerful their economies or governing structures are. Thus, whenever the union starts causing issues for a country’s individual development and improvement, it is natural that the country can start actively considering exiting the EU and freeing itself from the EU’s treaties and regulations.


The states that were to join the EU starting 2004 were very insistent on a right to leave in case the EU membership proved to work against their development and pushed for that right eagerly in 2002-2003 European Convention. Article 50, which was designed to allow a member state to withdraw from the EU, was first drafted by Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who was an influential Scottish diplomat. After thorough considerations, it became a part of the Treaty of Lisbon, put into effect in 2009.

What Happens?

According to Article 50, a member state needs to follow a number of pre-established steps in order to ensure smooth and successful transition for both the state and the union. The article allows any state to withdraw from the union with the possibility of rejoining it, in which case the process would be governed in accordance with Article 49. The state has to submit its request to withdraw to the European Council and the two parties take it from there and negotiate a withdrawal agreement, which involves the country’s further relationship with the union. If no agreement can be reached, the treaties of the EU would cease to apply to the withdrawing state after 2 years after its request had been submitted to the European Council. In that case, the EU treaties would simply cease to apply and there would be no structures put in place to ease the transition. When it comes to trade, it can be speculated that the countries would cooperate based on the tariffs established by World Trade Organization.

Past, Present and Future Withdrawals

French Algeria joined the European Communities as a French overseas department and left in 1962, after declaring independence. Greenland is another example of a territory that is not fully subjected to the governance of the EU. It withdrew in 1984, upon signing a special treaty (Greenland Treaty), which allowed it to leave European Economic Community but kept it under the rule of EU treaties. Brexit is a well-known, the first and the only invocation of Article 50 in the modern day. A leaving deal has not been negotiated yet and the UK for now remains a member state with all its legal obligations. Some countries that for various reasons have politically or otherwise motivated groups within them that are pushing to leave the EU include France, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and others.