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Armin Cuyvers: UK can still get out of Brexit

What are the scenarios now the draft Brexit Agreement is on the table? And if the United Kingdom actually proceeds to leave the European Union, what is the time frame? Associate Professor of European Law Armin Cuyvers sheds light on the current state of affairs.

In particular lawyers specialized in European Law couldn’t be happier about this agreement, Cuyvers says in an interview (in Dutch) with BNR Nieuwsradio. 'But apart from them, there are only losers in this whole process. Prime Minister May has lost out on all points, she can’t deliver what was promised. There are no winners.'

Armin Cuyvers

So what now? Cuyvers believes there are three options. 'If this draft agreement is not accepted, there will be a hard Brexit with all the related chaos in its wake. The second possibility is that this agreement will be pushed through.’ The third option, according to Cuyvers, is the most delicate: the United Kingdom could opt to turn back the plans for Brexit. 'This is the most juicy option for legal scholars. A Scottish judge has asked the Court of Justice of the European Union whether the official letter with the request to withdraw from the EU, of 29 March 2017, could in theory be revoked. The Court will consider this issue in December.'

Cuyvers thinks it is still possible from a legal perspective that the United Kingdom could withdraw from the Brexit. 'Especially if such a withdrawal is supported by the outcome of a second referendum. I think that the European Union is legally and morally obliged to respect the democratic will of the British people.’

If the United Kingdom still proceeds to actually leave the EU, then Cuyvers believes the whole process will take years. 'In any case, the UK can only leave the customs union once a solution has been found for Northern Ireland. Until that point, the UK cannot leave.’

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