September 20| UK
The exit of Britain, known as ‘Brexit’ has been debated and discussed for some time now. Pro-EU campaigners filed a legal bid to pressurize government to consult parliamentary before dismissing article 127.
The bid was rejected by the High court on the grounds that the process of the UK leaving the single market had not even begun properly. They believed that it was too early to talk about it.
However, the issue was far from done. Little did they know that the ghost of article 127 will come back to spook the Brexit. Experts believe that article 127 may be the most difficult hurdle to cross. This has led to shift in the debate by changing its direction towards the issue of leaving the single market. Article 127 is related to the separation from the single market.
About Article 127
This clause of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement 1993 includes the rules governing the single market and explains the process for a country leaving the single market.
According to the Article 127, members of the EEA should explicitly discuss their plan of leaving the single market. Many lawyers believe that article 127 which is believed to be the cousin of article 50 states that it is necessary to legally separate from single market in order to confirm separation from EU.
It states that each Contracting Party have to give at least twelve months’ notice period in writing to the other contracting parties if it wishes to withdraw or discontinue withdraw. It says, “After the notification, the concerned parties convene a meeting to envisage on the future plans and development.”
Debate on article 127
Some of the experts believe that this small and obscure article may prove to be strong enough to stop the proceeding of Brexit. In March, Theresa May wrote to Donald Tusk, the European Council President, notifying the European council about its UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union.
Some of the lawyers believe that this notification is in accordance to article 50(2) as mention by Ms. May. However, it does not state the intention of discontinuing from the single market and therefore, the proceedings of Brexit may be affected.
Jo Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, made it clear to The Independent: “There is a debate where one side believes that leaving the EU automatically ensures the departure from EAA and the other side argues that that it doesn’t, and you have to trigger your departure from the EEA separately.”
The supporters of the former argument are the ministers who believe that article 127 is irrelevant. A number 10 spokesperson said, “The UK is a party to EEA agreement only till it is a member of EU. Once the UK exits the EU, the EEA agreement will itself cease to apply to the UK.”
David Davis pointed out that ministers might try to discuss Article 127 to prevent any doubt about Britain’s legal position.
The Brexit has been in controversy for a long time. A division in the cabinet of Theresa May was the result of Brexit. In such circumstances, such a barrier may cause heavy damage to the Brexit proceedings.
Albeit, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party in supports leaving the EEA, it has maintained an ambiguous stand and presented the possibility that the UK could remain in the EEA and customs union after Brexit.
Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, said that his party is “flexible” to negotiate for the single market