purposes of Article 50(2), a “qualified majority” means a bloc of nations
comprising (1) “at least 55% of the members of the Council” (2) whose inhabitants
represent “at least 65%” of the EU’s approximate population of five hundred
million people. 
Article 50(5) stipulates that a member state that seeks to rejoin the EU after
triggering the Article 50 exit clause must follow the procedures for new-member
admission proscribed in Article 49.
50’s first and most important feature is that of timing. The Treaty provides
that a nation invoking Article 50 shall cease to be an EU member state after
the passage of two years or a withdrawal agreement has been approved, unless
the remaining member states unanimously acquiesce to an extension.
timing problem not explicitly addressed in the Treaty is the possibility of rescinding
a withdrawal notification. Since Article 50(1) makes a withdrawal subject to a
member state’s Constitutional requirements, it could be argued that the Treaty leaves it to the State’s judiciary to decide. On the other hand, the more
plausible interpretation appears to be that Article 50 only provides two
alternatives to delay withdrawal once notification has been given: an extension
of the two year time limit by unanimous vote or a different date stipulated in
the withdrawal agreement. Article 50(2) clearly states that negotiations shall discuss the terms for
“withdrawal,” not about Treaty amendments or changes to other forms of EU law. While it is highly probable the remaining member states of the EU will agree to
separate treaty amendments if the UK does in fact withdraw (at the least, to
delete Great Britain’s name), the plain language of the Treaty indicates
Article 50 was meant for the sole purpose of withdrawal and not renegotiation
of EU membership or bargaining leverage to amend treaties.
a political standpoint, triggering Article 50 for the purposes of renegotiation
would put the UK in an even more difficult predicament. Because Article 50(2)
specifies that a withdrawing nation only has two years to agree to exit terms unless
all remaining nations vote to extend, the remaining countries would have all
the leverage in a negotiation setting to force Great Britain to sign an
agreement in their favor. Therefore, pro-Brexiters who suggest employing Article 50 as a tactical weapon
to gain bargaining power over the EU “must actually have the objective of
ensuring the UK leaves the EU.”
other key aspect of Article 50 regards the content of the negotiated withdrawal
agreement. The plain language of Article 50(2) indicates a withdrawal
agreement, rather than a deal on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, will
be negotiated after the exit clause is triggered. Practically speaking, however, the specifics of a withdrawal agreement and
treaty establishing a future relationship will likely be closely connected.
Yet, although Article 50(2) specifies negotiations will take “account of the
framework for [Britain’s] future relationship with the Union,” there is no
legal obligation for the remaining EU member states to sign a free trade
agreement with the UK. This raises the politically and legally significant point that a new treaty
between the UK and the EU would require unanimous approval by the remaining EU
member states, even though the withdrawal agreement itself would require only
the “qualified majority”. The unanimity requirement would certainly impose additional complications on
Britain’s desire to retain their access to the EU’s single market will
suspending some elements of the Union’s freedom of movement policy.
 In this article,
the term “British” refers to all United Kingdom citizens, including residents of both Great Britain and Northern Ireland. See, e.g., John Darby, Scorpions in a Bottle: Conflicting Cultures in Northern Ireland 135 (1997) (citing a poll of national identity showing protestants in Northern
Ireland are more likely to consider themselves “British” than their Catholic
See Id. at para. 3 (listing pro-Brexit
cabinet members Michael Gove, the justice secretary; Iain Duncan Smith, the
work and pensions minister; and Chris Grayling, the leader of the House of
 “Eurosceptic” is
often used as shorthand for Brits now in favor of leaving the EU, but it has
also referred to those who have opposed the successive stages of EU integration
since the 1950s.
 The UK sends
approximately £18 billion to the EU annually. A background guide, supra note 3, at para. 5.
 Sarah O’Connor, Brexit debate unnerves continent’s service
workers in UK, Fin. Times para. 4 (Mar. 7, 2016), http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5db877f2-d0a9-11e5-831d-09f7778e7377.html [https://perma.cc/Z8G3-WFU6]; see Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family
members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States
amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC,
68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC,
90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC (Text with EEA relevance), Celex No. 304L0038, available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2004:158:0077:0123:en:PDF [https://perma.cc/DR77-MWDQ].
The Real Danger of Brexit, supra note 15, at para. 3.
 O’Connor, supra note 16, at para. 2.
 O’Connor, supra note 16, at para. 17.
See The Real Danger of Brexit, supra note 15, at para. 6.
The Brexit Delusion, supra note 14, at para. 12 (noting that
50% of the UK’s exports go to EU countries).
The Brexit Delusion, supra note 14, at para. 25.
Id.; The Real Danger of Brexit, supra note 15.
The Brexit Delusion, supra note 14, at para. 7, see Treaty of Lisbon, Amending the
Treaty on the European Union, Dec. 13, 2007, 2007 O.J. (C306) art. 50(1).
See Treaty of Lisbon, supra note 33, at art. 50(1).
Versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of
the European Union, 2012 O.J. (C326) at Article 238(3)(a), available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12012E/TXT&from=EN [https://perma.cc/5SVM-CMTP] (indicating a blocking minority must include at
least four Council members “representing more than 35% of the population of the
participating Member States). See also Living
in the EU, Eur. Union para. 2, http://europa.eu/about-eu/facts-figures/living/index_en.htm [https://perma.cc/88KD-FTFP] (showing that the populations of Germany, France,
Italy,and Spain, the four largest remaining member states, would be able to
prevent a “qualified majority”).
Treaty of Lisbon, supra note 33, at art. 50(3).
 Steve Peers, Article 50 TEU: The uses and abuses of the
process of withdrawing from the EU, EU
L. Analysis para. 11 (Dec. 8, 2014), http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/12/article-50-teu-uses-and-abuses-of.html [https://perma.cc/TV7A-474H].
Treaty of Lisbon, supra note 33, at art. 50(2).
See Peers, Article 50 TEU, supra note 40, at para. 13.
See Treaty of Lisbon, supra note 33, at art. 50(2).
 Peers, Article 50 TEU, supra note 40, at paras. 14–15.
Treaty of Lisbon, supra note 33, at art. 50(2).
50 TEU, supra note 33, at paras. 17–18.
See Peers, Article 50 TEU, supra note 40, at paras. 19–20.