E.U. REFERENDUM

How to Make a Graceful Brexit

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What would Brussels do if there's a Brexit?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Britain chooses a unilateral withdrawal, the European Union could retaliate by denying London access to the common market, creating economic volatility.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Under Article 50 of the E.U. Lisbon Treaty, a member state and Brussels are given two years to negotiate a treaty to leave the union.
    • It’s unclear how long E.U. competition law, financial regulations and rulings by the European Court of Justice would still apply to Britain.
    • After leaving the European Union, Britain may then seek to negotiate a new partnership agreement with Brussels. Negotiations could take a decade or more.
  • Audio

    Audio

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If Britain votes to leave the European Union on Thursday, its relationship with Brussels will still be far from decided, as that will hinge on years of contentious negotiations.

In the event of Brexit, London would have two paths to choose from: An orderly exit governed by E.U. treaties or a messy unilateral withdrawal that could trigger a cycle of tit-for-tat political retaliation.

A weekend poll by the newspaper Mail on Sunday put the ‘Remain’ camp at 45 support and the ‘Leave’ camp at 42 percent support, others surveys have come out even closer.

Much depends on the domestic political situation in the United Kingdom following a Brexit. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will stay on even if the voters choose to leave the 28-member bloc.

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