Brexit: EU Divorce Negotiations Imminent as ‘Brexit Bill’ Clears Final Hurdle.
UK – EU divorce negotiations imminent as ‘Brexit bill’ hours away from becoming law.
The UK could begin the formal process of leaving the European Union as early as Tuesday, following a victory for the British government’s Brexit bill in the House of Commons Monday night.
Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly to overturn amendments to the bill made by the House of Lords last week on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and on parliament having a final say following exit negotiations.
Following the vote in the House of Commons, the ‘EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill’, was approved by the House of Lords without further challenge. This paves the way for Royal Assent – the signing into law of the bill by the Queen – and the subsequent triggering of the EU exit mechanism, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, as early as tomorrow. Downing Street is reported, however, to be citing the end of March as the likely start date for exit proceedings following complications arising from Scottish government demands for their own independence referendum – to leave the UK in order to re-join the EU.
Tonight’s defeat of pro-EU forces in the Commons and the House of Lords allows British Prime Minister, Theresa May, to make formal notification to Brussels of the intent to leave the 28 nation bloc. Next would follow two years of divorce negotiations, with the UK likely to regain full sovereignty by 2019.
The historic result of last year’s Brexit referendum, announced in the early hours of June 24th, was a political earthquake, confounding pollsters and sending shock waves across the European political landscape. In the intervening months, those opposed to the referendum result have launched numerous attempts to overturn the result, from short-lived street protests to advertising campaigns and legal challenges.
The passage of the Brexit bill comes during what could be another difficult week for the EU. Dutch voters go to the polls on Wednesday, with eurosceptic Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom likely to make significant gains. Wilders has promised to hold a referendum on Holland’s membership of the EU if he becomes prime minister.
Populist and eurosceptic candidates are gaining ground across Europe against a backdrop of economic instability, social tensions and mass migrations from the Middle East and Africa. Further exit referenda are likely before the UK makes it out the door, with Holland, Denmark, Italy and France tipped as likely candidates for the next departure.