In this master’s thesis I discuss the legal implications of United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (i.e. Brexit).
The right of a Member State to withdraw from the EU is enshrined in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which also regulates the procedure under which it may do so. One significant question relating to this procedure is whether the notification of withdrawal given under Article 50(2) is unilaterally revocable. Opinions on this issue differ.
In the procedure under Article 50 TEU, the role of individual European institutions should not be neglected. I also pay particular attention to the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
In the second part, I focus on two key issues in the negotiations, the fate of EU-27 and British citizens after Brexit and the Irish question. There are many citizens from both sides, in the EU-27 and in the UK, whose status and rights are supposed to be mutually protected after Brexit. Nevertheless, citizens of the UK are threatened with the loss of EU citizenship and related rights. Therefore, in this section, I analyse their chances of keeping EU citizenship after Brexit.
One of the most burning issues in the withdrawal process is the border on the Irish Island shared by two countries, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Currently, this border is invisible, but upon the UK’s withdrawal the border controls would be re-established, which neither of the parties desires.
In the third part of the thesis, I explore existing alternatives to EU membership and which would be most suitable for the UK. Given the UK’s specific requirements and red lines, none of them is appropriate as a form of the future relationship between UK and EU. Therefore, a new special relationship will have to be formed.
In the last part I outline the consequences of Brexit for the future operation of the EU.