Once triggered, Article 50 will usher in up to two years of negotiation resulting in Brexit and a Treaty on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
These negotiations are complex. The UK will have to determine what it wants; this will require domestic political leadership and clarity that is not currently in evidence. Furthermore, every member state will have to determine its priorities and bring these together in a common EU vision. In this, weighted votes will be used so that more powerful states have a louder voice than smaller states, although in practice consensus is preferred. If the Treaty goes beyond matters of trade (which it likely will), it will have to be ratified by every other member state before finalisation. The European Parliament also has a veto option. That’s 28 potential vetoes on this new, post-Brexit arrangement, and all held by parties with less at stake than the UK (with the possible exception of Ireland.)
Thus, while the Leave campaign made much of its desire to ‘take back control’, the UK may well find itself with remarkably little “control” over the final agreement and its future relationship with the EU.
Professor Fiona de Londras