Prime Minister Theresa May, officially signed the letter on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, to formally start the end of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union.
Brexit was triggered in the summer of 2016 when voters decided the referendum to leave the European Union. It was upon the activation of Article 50, however, that the angst of Brexit on the U.K. became reality.
In June 2016, demonstrators sailed down and up River Thames. Flotillas of boats showcasing signs shouting in, as well as ones with signage stating leave, before the Brexit vote.
With no member state departing from the union before Brexit, Article 50 had never had a reason to be implemented. During the short time since it was signed by the prime minister, the U.K. is experiencing repercussions due to the anxiety this formal move caused.
Brexit Needs Article 50 to Officially Leave The EU
Although the EU began its formation after WWII in 1945, it was not formally recognized until the Maastricht Treaty, or Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union was signed on Nov. 1, 1993, in Maastricht, Netherlands. In line with the agreement, the euro replaced 12 of the member states’ currency in 2002.
The U.K. never changed switched to the euro, opting to continue to use their own currency. In line with that, the U.K. will not have to change their currency with the implementation of Brexit.
Before the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007 and its official start in 2009, none of the countries had the option to legally divorce themselves from the union. The treaty allowed methods that were needed for the EU to work as a democracy in a more efficient manner. Included in the treaty is Article 50, which allows for an exit strategy from the EU for a country that wishes to do so, hence U.K.’s Brexit.
To be put into action the U.K. is required to sign Article 50 to formally begin the required two-year process of negotiating an agreement deal to leave the union. An authorized majority of member states must approve Brexit. However, the European Parliament has the authority to veto any deal.
Once P.M. May signed the papers and they were delivered, Article 50 was triggered allowing for the two-year timer to begin, with Britain officially to be leaving the EU by April 2019. Although the procedure is supposed to take two years, it could be extended by unanimous agreement of all member states in the union. Brexit is going to be a long and arduous journey that requires arbitrations among its own U.K. members, along with negotiations with the EU. Thus, activating Article 50 creating angst in the U.K.
Brexit Means Making Numerous Agreements
To avoid harmful economic ramifications, Brexit means the necessity of creating new trade agreements. In an effort to streamline the process, May proposes to write existing EU regulations into British laws. The Prime Minister is referring to the process in the Great Repeal Bill. This method will allow the British government to review the laws at a later date, in order to reevaluate what is needed and what can be removed.
The laborious Brexit passage requires numerous deals that will allow Britain to move on as its own entity. Tasks include forging an agreement with Brussels to protect financial markets, and several deals relating to global trade. The U.K. will also need to hire experts and lawyers to manage aspects of government such as health, safety, employment, and financial services.
Brexit Rocks Its First Upset
Within just a few days of signing Article 50 to start the Brexit process, a bolder-sized dispute is already forming between countries. In a massive fail to mention Gibralter in her letter officially requesting to sever ties, the EU drafted a statement that seemingly gave Spain the right to seek the right to govern Gibralter, famously known as “The Rock.”
After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.
The small island of Gibralter has been a British territory since 1713. Although governed by Britain, the territory is claimed by the Spanish government for its proximity sitting in the Iberian Peninsula by the bottom tip of Spain. The island is an important piece of real estate, as it is the perfect place for Mediterranean shipping concerns to be controlled. For that purpose, as a major player in NATO, the U.K. currently has a navy and military base on Gibralter.
The dispute between countries is centuries old, but Brexit may be the beginning of an all-out war. For now, the battle is manifesting on Twitter. The people are speaking and demonstrating the angst that Brexit has created upon the activation of Article 50.
One tweet cited Gibralter as the never wanted wedding gift that is suddenly wanted by the two divorcing. Yet another tweet spoke up for the islands approximately 30,000 inhabitants, “Both journalists and politicians talk about #gibraltar as if it’s people didn’t exist. As if we [were] an asset that could be traded!” Upon activating article 50 Brexit is starting turmoil in the U.K. and the EU.
By Carol Ruth Weber
Edited by Cathy Milne
Metro: Theresa May has signed Article 50 letter – here’s what happens next
European Union: The history of the European Union
The Telegraph: What is Article 50? The only explanation you need to read
France 24: A rock in a hard place: UK-Spain tensions flare over Gibraltar as Brexit talks begin
Featured and Top Image by Bernard Sharp Courtesy of Geograph – Creative Commons License