As mentioned, the United Kingdom also wants to avoid the creation of an external border with physical checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland, which will continue to be part of the EUas defined on timedictionary.com. This is important for economic reasons, as much trade takes place across this border, but also politically and security-wise, as it may challenge the peace agreement negotiated between Northern Ireland, Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1998. The EU has agreed to allow Northern Ireland be part of the single market and the customs union until a new withdrawal agreement is in place, but Brexit supporters fear that this will mean that the UK remains closely linked to the EU.
5: What does Brexit mean for cooperation in Europe?
Brexit is challenging for the EU:
- European co-operation is negatively affected as the EU loses a large and central member state.
- It will have economic consequences when the UK no longer contributes to the EU budget or will be part of the internal market.
- The EU will be weakened as a defense and security policy player since Britain, together with France, is the EU’s largest military power.
Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that the consequences will be greatest for the UK – at least in the first instance. At present, we know little about the relationship Britain will have with the EU after the withdrawal. There is reason to believe that co-operation will be close to areas where there are common interests, such as security policy. But so far no negotiations have taken place on future co-operation schemes. Before they can start with that, one must agree on the “divorce agreement”.
We do not yet know whether the EU will emerge weakened or strengthened from the Brexit process. It is of course a major setback that a central member state chooses to opt out. But at the same time, it has also led to an increased awareness in many countries about what membership actually means. And perhaps also that there are some benefits of membership that are important to preserve. The fact that turnout in this year’s European elections was higher than expected may indicate this. Another example is that the Eurosceptic parties, to a lesser extent than before, have withdrawal as a goal, but instead want to try to reform the EU from within.
It is also interesting to note that the remaining 27 members have stood surprisingly united in these negotiations. They have agreed to avoid Brexit undermining European cooperation in general, and the internal market in particular.
On the other hand, it has also been seen that Brexit has led to the underlying causes of the growing EU skepticism in many countries being put on the agenda. This is also the reason why French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken out in favor of “establishing a Europe that protects” ( une Europe qui protège ). With this, he wants the EU to place more emphasis on cooperation that contributes to increased welfare, less inequality and protection against threats of various kinds. Together with Germany, France wants to achieve this by creating a more flexible EU, without diluting the value of the internal market. Exactly what form this will take, and whether they will succeed, is still unclear.
6: Possible consequences for Norway
It is too early to say what significance Brexit will have for Norway and other third countries. While some argue that a more flexible EU will lead to a clearer distinction between members and non-members, others believe that it will open the door to more flexibility and thus closer cooperation between the EU and various groups of third countries. We will only get the answer to this after the Brexit negotiations on withdrawal have been completed. Only then will the EU be able to discuss possible forms of affiliation and agreements with the United Kingdom – which in theory will also be able to influence Norway’s relations with the EU.
EU Treaty and Article 50
A treaty is an agreement under international law between two or more states.
The EU acquis is formed by two treaties: the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEUV).
TEU is about the EU’s basic principles and rules. Criteria for membership and withdrawal from the EU are part of this.
The rules for withdrawal can be found in Article 50 of the TEU. The article is only about the rules for opting out, and not about the future agreements between the EU and the country that will opt out. The parties must negotiate on this.
According to Article 50, the parties have two years to agree. For the United Kingdom, this deadline expired on 29 March 2019. The British have now been postponed until 31 October 2019.