Stefano Fugazzi (ABC Economics) – Having previously discussed the legal implications of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, we now turn our attention to some additional considerations arising from the EU exit.
As noted by Adam Łazowski, a prominent law academic at the University of Westminster, Brexit could require the revision or renegotiation of three treaties: one to allow the departing State to withdraw; another to amend the EU Treaties to remove references to the departing State; and possibly a third to allow the departing State to join EFTA and remain in the EEA.
According to Lazowski: “unlike accession treaties, withdrawal agreements do not form part of EU primary law. Thus, unless a special formula is developed, they cannot amend the treaties on which the EU is based. This implies that alongside an international treaty regulating withdrawal, the remaining member states would have to negotiate between themselves a treaty amending the founding treaties in order to repeal all provisions touching upon the departing country”.
Additionally, Lazowski notes that “further complexities may be added if a departing country chooses to make a rapid move from the EU to the European Economic Area (EEA) instead. That would necessitate a third treaty regulating the terms of accession to EFTA and a fourth to deal with the accession to the EEA. The latter would require the approval of the EU and its member states, the EEA-EFTA countries and the departing/joining country”.
Departure does not necessarily imply that Britain will suddenly withdraw from existing EU policies but rather transitional arrangements for an alternative regime to be put in place. This is due to the fact that Article 50, paragraph 2 of the Lisbon Treaty clearly states that the leaving country will need to consider “the framework for [a State’s] future relationship with the Union”.
With regard to the ‘life after Brexit’, we previously identified five possible scenarios:
Option 1 – A European Free Trade Area (EFTA) deal.
Option 2 – A European Economic Area (EEA) deal.
Option 3 – A limited customs union, similar to that held with Turkey.
Option 4 – A standard WTO-style relationship with the EU.
Option 5 – An entirely different type of relationship which could set a new model for relations with the EU.
Out of those five scenarios listed above, ABC Economics believes that the two most likely options consist in (i) re-joining the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) alongside Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, or (ii) negotiating a similar deal within the European Economic Area (EEA) to that of Switzerland (also a member of EFTA but with different arrangements).