What is Brexit? The UK’s departure from the European Union explained – The Sun
THE UK will no longer be a member of the European Union after 11pm on January 31 2020.
Britain's exit is a complicated process. Here is our simple guide to what it's all about.
What is Brexit?
Brexit is the merging of the words "Britain" and "exit" and refers to the country's exit from the European Union.
The term has been widely used ever since the idea of a referendum on the UK leaving the trading bloc was put forward.
More than 30 million people voted in the June 2016 referendum with a turnout of 71.8 per cent. Leave won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
People now talk about “soft” and “hard” Brexit in reference to how close the UK will be to the EU post separation.
A soft Brexit means Britain will keep strong economic ties with the EU, with a hard Brexit meaning the UK leaves the single market entirely.
Article 50: What it says
- Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
- A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
- The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
- For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
- If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.
What is the European Union?
The European Union is an economic and political partnership.
There are currently 28 members states including the United Kingdom.
It began as a trade group of six nations in the 1950s.
The UK first applied to join what was then the European Economic Community in 1961 and finally became a member in 1973.
Now called the European Union, it has grown to include former Soviet bloc states and has at its heart a "single market" allowing goods and people to move freely.
It has its own parliament, central bank and the euro currency used by 19 countries, though some members including Britain opted to keep their own money.
Eurocrats have been pushing for ever closer political and financial union, which could include a European Army separate from the Nato alliance.
When will Brexit happen?
The UK will leave the European Union on January 31, 2020 at 11pm.
This comes after Brexit Day was delayed three times.
Why does the UK want to leave the EU?
A referendum was held on Thursday 23 June 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain?
Leave won by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
The referendum turnout was very high at 72 per cent, with more than 30 million people voting — 17.4 million people opting for Brexit.
Those in favour of leaving said Britain was being held back by EU red tape with too many rules on business.
Another key issue was sovereignty and a desire for Britain to take back full control of its borders.
What was Theresa May's Brexit deal?
Theresa May’s deal was to leave the EU but have an Irish backstop to ensure there would be no border posts or barriers between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.
This would have kept the UK in a close trading relationship with the EU and avoid a hard border between the North and the Republic.
But many MPs hated it.
It was argued the UK could be trapped in the backstop for years, preventing the country from striking trade deals.
Parliament's continued opposition to the deal eventually led to May's resignation.
What is Boris Johnson's Brexit deal?
Boris Johnson adapted a deal agreed by Theresa May with the EU in November 2018.
It replaces the controversial Irish backstop aspect of the plan in May's deal with new customs arrangements.
It effectively creates a customs and regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
This means some goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain would have to pay EU tariffs.
These would be refunded if goods remain in Northern Ireland — that is if they are not moved to the Republic of Ireland.
What happens after Brexit?
Leaving the EU on January 31, 2020 will just be one step on in a very fiddly process.
There is still a lot to talk about and months of negotiation will follow.
Although the UK has agreed to the terms of its departure from the European Union, both the UK and the EU still need to decide what their future relationship will look like.
This will be sorted during the transition period, which starts immediately after Brexit Day and is due to end on December 31 2020.
During this 11-month period, the UK will continue to follow all of the EU's rules and its trading relationship will continue to be the same.
What still needs to be arranged?
The transition period will give both sides time to negotiate a new free trade agreement.
This is needed as the UK will leave the single market and customs union at the end of the 11-month period.
A free trade agreement allows goods to move around the bloc without checks or extra charges.
If a new free trade agreement can't be agreed in time, then the UK could have to trade with no deal in place.
This would mean tariffs (taxes) on UK goods traveling to the EU.
As well as trade, many other aspects of the future UK-EU relationship will also need to be decided. For example:
- Aviation standards and safety
- Licensing and regulation of medicines
- Supplies of electricity and gas
- Law enforcement, data sharing and security
- Access to fishing waters
Boris Johnson has said the transition period will not be extended.
However, the European Commission has warned the timetable will be challenging.
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