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Too late! UK will not be able to leave European Union, yet still stay in Euratom

FT 11th July 2017, There are reports that MPs will insist on the UK government reversing its
intention to leave Euratom, the pan-European nuclear regulator.

If so, this creates a fascinating legal and political problem. How would the UK
government go about pulling back from leaving Euratom?

For the reasons set out below, I cannot see how the UK can do this without either revoking or
amending the Article 50 notification sent in March, and even that route may
not be possible.

The overall position is peculiar but many EU lawyers would
say Euratom is part of the EU, so if a member state leaves one then it
leaves both. No countries are members of the EU and not of Euratom (in
contrast to, say, non-EU members Norway being in the single market and
Turkey in part being in the customs union).

So when the UK sent its Article 50 letter in March, there was a view that leaving Euratom was a necessary
implication of leaving the EU. But the notification put the matter beyond
any doubt: the third paragraph of the letter, in the sort of legalistic
language that no normal person uses by accident, provided: ” In addition,
in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the
Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify
the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from
the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the
European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the
European Atomic Energy Community.”

Parliament can vote as much as it likes against parts of Brexit, but it is too late. The bag, the lamp, the
coop and the stable are now all empty. The country lost control of the
process the moment it made the Article 50 notification (which was cheered
on by a sizable majority of MPs). The EU may not not even notice, still
less care, what hesitant MPs now think and fear. The UK is on course for
getting the Brexit the EU decides it will have.


July 14, 2017 - Posted by | politics, UK

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