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Brexit How?
Publication date: 2016-09-16

Sample Notice to Terminate Membership of the EU

On 24 June 2016, it was announced that the people of the UK voted in a referendum for the UK to leave the EU. But this decision, in itself, is not the act of leaving the EU, but an instruction to the British government to perform the necessary steps which will result in Britain becoming independent of the European Union.

To leave the European Union the British Government has to give to the European Council a formal notice of its intention to leave the EU.

Here is a sample of the text of the letter of Notice of Termination of the EU Membership of the EU.

We, the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), inform you herewith of our decision to terminate our country's membership of the European Union (EU).

We propose the following arrangements to be agreed between our country and the European Union:
  1. All the currently active treaties of the European Union shall continue to be applicable to all interactions between the UK and the EU to which the treaties are applicable and which started before the Date of the Cessation of the UK Membership of the EU (DoCoM) for a period of two years from DoCoM.

    This is necessary so that the parties affected would be able to make any necessary arrangements to effect a smooth transition to the new status of the parties.

  2. If the EU accepts the proposal in (1) above, then no further negotiations between the UK and the EU are necessary and the EU shall notify the UK of their acceptance of the UK termination of the EU membership within 3 months of the receipt of this notice. And the date of this notification will become the Date of the Cessation of the UK Membership of the EU.

  3. If no notification of acceptance of this notice by the EU is received within three months of the date of this notification, the UK Government shall be free from all the obligations arising out of the EU Treaties, and this date will become the DoCoM.

This notice should be sent to the European Council by post with proof of delivery to avoid any future arguments about the date and time of its delivery.

As far as the act of leaving the EU, the UK need not do anything else than sending to the European Council a notification based on the above sample.

The offer is reasonable, and the EU cannot expect from a leaving state anything more than allowing a period of time to finalize any ongoing relationships. And the period of 2 years is sufficient for such purpose.

On their part the EU needs (1) to obtain the consent of the European Parliament and (2) approve it by a qualified majority of the European Council. And three months should be sufficient for this procedure.

As far as any agreements about the relationships between the UK and the EU after the UK becomes independent, they are not part of the leave procedure and can be negotiated at any time after the UK becomes independent of he EU.

Apart for sending to the Council of Europe a written notification based on the above sample there is no need for any meetings or negotiations about the UK leaving the EU. All the talks about some “Super Deal” which needs to be negotiated for the UK to leave the EU arose out of the pre‐referendum arguments and misunderstanding of the process of terminating agreements.

Leaving the EU is just as simple as terminating any agreement: send a written notice and wait for a response or the time limit (here: 3 months).

For more articles to make sense of Brexit see:

The Earliest Date of the UK Leaving the EU

Brexit Deal and the Life After

Brexit Mess — How to Sort It Out

Brexit Uncertainties and How to Remove Them

The Practical Consequences of UK Leaving the EU

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