Daniel Gueguen

Three months on from 23 June, we are seeing incredible and enduring improvisation. We are barely starting to realise the huge complexity presented by the three phases of Brexit.

The first phase, involving the triggering of Article 50, poses countless questions: does the UK Parliament need to vote? Would this vote be binding or advisory? Could there be a general election? How and when will the assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland give their opinion? And what about the negotiating framework, which the UK must propose since it is the departing Member State?

Once triggered, Article 50 will give rise to a tapestry of preliminary talks: the European Council (Heads of State or Government) will have to set down ‘guidelines’, on which basis the Commission will draw up ‘recommendations’, while it is up to the Council of Ministers to open negotiations and select the chief negotiator and his team.

This leaves the real negotiations which we imagine will not begin before the end of 2017. We may call it ‘technical hell’. How will the UK leave the CAP, and what will it be replaced with? How will it re-negotiate every trade agreement, whether WTO or bilateral? Within the Commission, nobody wants to give an answer to these questions – on orders, obviously – but equally, nobody would be able to give a pertinent answer.

In the same way that a big country cannot leave the Euro, a big country cannot leave the European Union. That is our conviction.

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