UCL European Institute


Working Paper Launch: Brexit and Article 50

10 January 2017



The European Institute has released a new working paper on Article 50. The paper, 'Brexit and Article 50 TEU: A Constitutional Reading', is co-authored by Piet Eeckhout and Eleni Frantziou.

'Brexit and Article 50 TEU: A Constitutional Reading' is the first in a series of UCL European Institute working papers which critically analyse significant features of Brexit and the related withdrawal process.The report has been authored by Professor Piet Eeckhout, Academic Director of the European Institute, and Dr Eleni Frantziou, Lecturer in the Faculty of Laws at the University of Westminster. In the paper they argue that British withdrawal will need to be fully compliant with EU constitutional law.

Their report details the many important consequences that follow, including:

  • Article 50 cannot be just interpreted in line with international law, but must be read within the contours of a more demanding EU constitutional interpretation.
  • The decision to withdraw from the EU can be taken only by the British Parliament, and not by the government under the Royal Prerogative, since the decision will have important consequences for UK domestic law.
  • The Court of Justice of the EU will maintain the right to review and oversee the process of British withdrawal.
  • Attempts to compel EU citizens to leave the UK may breach the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, leaving the UK open to litigation.
  • The use of citizens as 'bargaining chips' and the uncertainty this creates is also contrary to both the Charter and the Convention.
  • It is not adequate for the British Parliament to get its say at the end of the negotiating process on any deal reached, since the only alternative to the one negotiated by the government will be no deal at all.   Parliament needs to be involved throughout the process.
  • It is possible to lay down the terms for both the UK's withdrawal and for the future relationship with the EU in a single agreement.
  • Although Article 50 is seen as irreversible, the EU would have a duty to act upon any bona fide decision to remain in the EU.

Read the full report here.

Brexit and Article 50


Title: Brexit and Article 50 TEU: A Constitutionalist Reading
Authors: Professor Piet Eeckhout & Dr Eleni Frantziou
Date: 10 January 2017

The European Institute is grateful for the support of UCL's Global Engagement Office in commissioning the working paper series.

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