European Union / United Kingdom: back on 47 years together until Brexit



Brexit will be legally effective on January 31, 2020, an opportunity to review the key dates that marked the eventful union of Europe and the United Kingdom.

January 1960: Three years after the Treaty of Rome and the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC), the United Kingdom, hostile to the logic of a common policy, created a competing entity, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

August 1961: The UK’s first application for membership of the EEC, submitted by Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

January 1963: General de Gaulle’s first veto on the entry of the United Kingdom into the EEC, seeing the British as the “Trojan horse of the United States”, and preferring to deepen the common market rather than widen it. A second French veto will intervene in November 1967.

January 1973: The UK eventually joined the EEC at the same time as Ireland. This is the very first European enlargement.

– June 1975: In a referendum on keeping their country in the EEC, the British vote “yes” by more than 67%.

→ THE FACTS. Brexit: European Union and United Kingdom sign historic agreement

November 1979: “I want my money back”, proclaims British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Guardian, after a disastrous European summit. One way of saying that London does not find its way into its participation in the European budget, mainly marked on the common agricultural policy (CAP).

June 1984: After five years of negotiations, an agreement was signed at Fontainebleau to grant Margaret Thatcher a “British rebate” on the financial contribution of the United Kingdom to the European budget. After this episode, other Member States will also ask for and obtain a discount, starting with Germany (1985), then Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands (2002).

September 1988: Speech from Bruges, where Margaret Thatcher declares: “We have failed to successfully push state boundaries in Britain only to see them re-imposed at the European level, with a European superstate exerting new dominance from Brussels. “

February 1992: Signature of the Maastricht Treaty, the second fundamental act of European construction after the 1957 Treaty of Rome. The United Kingdom benefits from an exemption clause (“opt-out”) allowing it not to join the single currency.

→ MAINTENANCE. Nathalie Loiseau: “British history will be linked to the European Union”

July 1993: Conservative Prime Minister John Major snatches ratification of the Maastricht Treaty from parliament after threatening to resign. Parallel emergence of a powerful sovereignist current in Europe and the United Kingdom. This is the year of the baptism of the Europhobic movement Ukip, with 27% of the votes in European women in 2014, instigator of Brexit in 2016.

May 2004: The EU is expanding to include Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the Baltic States. Thinking it’s “A good thing for growth”, Prime Minister Tony Blair does not activate (unlike 14 other Member States) the safeguard clause allowing the freedom of access of workers from these countries to be delayed by seven years to the British market. In 2016, their presence in the UK will be at the heart of the pro-Brexit camp campaign.

June 2014: David Cameron is unsuccessfully opposed to the appointment of Luxembourgish Jean-Claude Juncker, denounced as the ” bad person “ to lead the European Commission because he was too federalist for his taste and risked provoking a Europhobic push in the United Kingdom – “This risks weakening national governments”.

→ EDITORIAL. Post-Brexit agreement, a lesson from Europe

June 23, 2016: At the request of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, a referendum is held. At the question “Should the UK remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” “, 51.89% of voters answered “Leave the European Union”. David Cameron, a supporter of staying in the Union, resigns.

From the victory of the “leave” to Brexit

March 29, 2017: The President of the European Council Donald Tusk receives the letter from British Prime Minister Theresa May activating Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. Almost a year after the victory of the “leave” in the referendum of June 2016 where a majority of Britons voted for the United Kingdom’s exit from the Union, Brexit has officially started and set for March 29, 2019.

November 22, 2018: EU and UK reach provisional deal on post-Brexit relationship after agreeing on ‘withdrawal treaty’. In mid-January 2019, British MPs vote against the deal, the first in a series of three rejections, in March and then in April. The EU accepts each time a postponement to end up setting an exit deadline of October 31.

July 24, 2019: Conservative Boris Johnson, supporter of a Brexit on October 31 with or without an agreement, replaces Theresa May, who has resigned, as prime minister. On October 17, he reached a new agreement with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. British MPs push back the text, forcing the head of government to ask for a further postponement of Brexit set for January 31, 2020.

→ ANALYSIS. Post-Brexit agreement, undeniable political success for Boris Johnson

December 12, 2019: Early elections give a large parliamentary majority to Boris Johnson (365 deputies out of 650), renamed prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II. On January 9, 2020, the British parliament adopted the “Brexit Act” which enacted the divorce agreement negotiated with Brussels. The agreement is ratified by the European Parliament on the following January 29.

Timothy Radcliffe: “Brexit won, but keep us a place in your hearts”

January 31, 2020: The UK leaves the European Union at 11:00 p.m. London time, midnight Paris time. A transitional phase begins during which relations will remain unchanged with the 27 Member States. This period should allow both parties to form a new relationship.

1er March 2020: Likely launch of negotiations after validation of the mandate given to Michel Barnier by the EU. In addition to a potential future trade agreement, the movement of people, fishing, energy and security are among the priority themes to be addressed.

1er July 2020: Deadline for the UK to ask the EU to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020 from one to two years. Boris Johnson has already announced that he will not ask for an extension .

– October 15, 2020 : The 27 ask London to make concessions to reach a trade agreement. Boris Johnson, who had made this deadline a deadline, declares the negotiations over and asks the British to prepare for a “No deal”.

– October 22, 2020 : After a week of deadlock, discussions are resuming intensively. Supposed to end before November in order to be able to apply a possible text in time, they are constantly being extended.

– December 24, 2020 : After ten months of exhausting negotiations, the European Union and the United Kingdom have announced a historic agreement on their future trade relationship, which will allow them to avoid a “No deal” devastating to their savings at the end of the year.

December 31, 2020: End of the transition period. Brexit becomes legally effective. The agreement reached on December 24 should be ratified before that date.

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