Publications 2017

Brexit: time for Plan B

30 May 2017
Andrew Duff (Visiting Fellow at the European Policy Centre and President of the Spinelli Group; former MEP)

Listening to the nationalistic rhetoric of the Tory campaign ahead of the 8 June general election while reading the negotiation guidelines set by the EU, one can easily see how the Article 50 talks will fail. If we take him at his word, Mr Davis will have no choice but to reject the Commission’s opening sally. He opposes the sequencing of the negotiations that the EU 27 seeks unilaterally to impose, preferring not to agree the money until there’s a trade deal in sight. Pragmatism should prevail on both sides and help avoid a fiasco. But it seems unlikely. The Commission is already thinking about Plan B, and it is right to do so. If there is no Article 50 withdrawal agreement, the UK and the EU will have to start again from scratch. The options range from a mere commercial pact under Article 207 TFEU to a full-blown association agreement under Article 217 TFEU, including intensive intergovernmental cooperation on matters of security and defence. The door to a new membership application under Article 49 TEU will always remain open.

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