Wednesday

24th Jan 2018

Magazine

Brexit timeline - 'The clock is ticking'

  • The UK has been dragging its feet when it comes to clarifying its financial commitments, which is a key issue in Brexit talks. (Photo: European Commission)

23 January 2013 – Prime minister David Cameron in a speech at Bloomberg declares that he is in favour of an in-out referendum on the basis of a new settlement for the UK in the EU.

23 June 2016 – UK holds referendum on EU membership with a slim majority of voters, 51.9 percent, choosing to leave the bloc, while 48.1 percent vote to remain.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

24 June 2016 – Prime minister David Cameron announces his resignation.

13 July 2016 – Theresa May becomes UK prime minister.

27 July 2016 – EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker appoints Michel Barnier as the EU's chief Brexit negotiator.

8 September 2016 – The European Parliament, which needs to back the divorce agreement, appoints liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt as its top Brexit representative.

3 January 2017 – Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK ambassador to the EU, resigns. In a letter to his staff, he warns of the dangers of "muddled thinking" in London.

4 January 2017 – Sir Tim Barrow, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Russia, is appointed as the UK's new ambassador to the EU.

17 January 2017 – Prime minister Theresa May gives her Lancaster House speech in which she sets out her government's priorities in the Brexit negotiations, including specifically leaving the EU's single market and customs union.

24 January 2017 – The UK's Supreme Court rejects the government's appeal in the Gina Miller case, ruling that the parliament must vote on whether Article 50 exit procedures can be triggered.

2 February 2017 – The UK government publishes its Brexit White Paper, setting out its strategy for exiting the EU.

13 March 2017 – The UK parliament passes the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, later confirmed by the Queen's 'Royal Assent', giving the green light to trigger Article 50.

29 March 2017 – Prime minister Theresa May sends a letter to European Council president Donald Tusk to notify him of the UK's intent to leave the EU, formally triggering Article 50.

31 March 2017 – European Council chief Donald Tusk publishes draft negotiation guidelines for Brexit talks for the EU-27, setting out the key issues - encompassing citizens' rights, the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and the financial settlement – to be discussed in the first phase of talks. Tusk reiterates that future relations and trade discussions may only begin once the key issues are resolved.

29 April 2017 – EU-27 leaders unanimously endorse the draft guidelines for Brexit negotiations.

22 May 2017 – The EU-27 adopts the negotiating directives, giving the green light for negotiators to start discussions.

8 June 2017 – The UK holds snap general elections as Theresa May attempts to consolidate the power of her Conservatives. She miscalculates and loses the Tory majority in parliament, leaving her with a minority government backed by Northern Ireland's ultra- conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

19 June 2017 – Brexit negotiations begin with establishing the timeline for talks, and forming negotiating groups.

17-20 July 2017 – Second round of negotiations take place in Brussels. Both sides say they are committed to the Good Friday Agreement, which has secured peace and stability in Northern Ireland. Negotiators set out to compare positions on citizens' rights. Barnier urges the UK to clarify its position on the financial settlement and its plans to secure a frictionless border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

28–31 August 2017 – During the third round of talks, further progress is made on citizens' rights, but the role of the European Court of Justice in enforcing them, and the extent of the UK's financial obligations still remain outstanding key issues.

9 September 2017 – The EU Commission publishes several negotiating papers, including on Northern Ireland, emphasising that it is the UK's responsibility to propose solutions for the post-Brexit Irish border.

22 September 2017 – Prime minster Theresa May makes a speech in Florence to clarify the UK's Brexit position. Against the backdrop of hardline Brexiteers in her party, she pledges that no EU country would have to pay more or receive less from the EU budget as the result of the UK leaving the bloc, and that the UK would honour commitments it has made as a member. She also proposes a two-year transition period.

25 September 2017 – The fourth round of talks are held in Brussels a week later than planned to give way for May's Florence speech. EU negotiators were hoping to see a detailed commitment following May's pledges in Florence, but the UK still did not disclose details about its financial obligations. The UK offered to transpose the withdrawal agreement into UK law and ensure the UK courts can refer directly to it, but there was no agreement on the future role of the European Court of Justice.

9-12 October 2017 – The fifth round of negotiations again makes no progress on the key issues. No further rounds of talks were scheduled at the time, leading Barnier to say that negotiations have reached a "deadlock."

16 October 2017 – EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker hosts prime minister Theresa May for dinner, ahead of a crucial EU summit. The two agree that Brexit talks should "accelerate over the months to come."

20 October 2017 – EU-27 leaders agree that no "sufficient progress" has been made in Brexit talks to be able to move discussions into the next phase on future relations, including trade. But to show good faith, the EU-27 agreed to start internal preparations for trade talks, so that the EU is ready when those talks begin.

9-10 November 2017 – A new negotiating round kicks off among growing concerns that the slow pace of negotiations might result in a possible no-deal scenario. EU leaders will assess the state of talks again at the summit set for 14-15 December summit.

4 December 2017 – British prime minister Theresa May travels to Brussels in the hope of finalising the deal on the terms of divorce with the EU, but last minute objections from her political allies, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) over the Irish border issue prevent the agreement.

8 December 2017 – A deal is reached on the key divorce issues between the EU and the UK after DUP has agreed to a compromise text on the Irish border issue. British prime minister Theresa May and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announce the deal in the early hours of the morning in Brussels.

15 December 2017 – EU leaders agree that "sufficient progress" has been achieved on the key divorce issues with the UK and adopt guidelines to start negotiations on a possible transition period after the UK leaves the EU in 2019.

30 March 2019 – The UK is officially out of the EU.

This timeline was originally published in EUobserver's 2017 Europe in Review Magazine.

Click here to access EUobserver's entire magazine collection.

Magazine

Michel Barnier: The UK's best friend in Brussels

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator is an atypical French politician, with a love for mountains and Europe. He has been steering Brexit talks with a steady hand, and a deal could catapult him to the higher echelons of EU politics.

EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks

The EU has launched internal preparations for phase two of Brexit talks, but a December breakthrough only possible if UK gives more detail on divorce issues first.

Magazine

Macron: Hegelian hero of EU history?

The election of the 39-year old newcomer injected new hope and dynamism. But the French president still has to find solid allies in the EU and deliver his ambitious agenda at home.

Magazine

In 2018, make Europe great again!

Is the EU back on track to make Europe great again? The fifth edition of EUobserver's Europe in Review magazine looks at the biggest events that shaped the EU in 2017 and prospects for 2018.

Magazine

In 2018, make Europe great again!

Is the EU back on track to make Europe great again? The fifth edition of EUobserver's Europe in Review magazine looks at the biggest events that shaped the EU in 2017 and prospects for 2018.

Magazine

The EU and US in the age of Trump

America's face changed when Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama. But one year on, the foundations of the transatlantic relationship are still intact.

News in Brief

  1. Auditors criticise EU economic governance implementation
  2. Dutch environment group appeals air quality ruling
  3. Commission opens case into Polish railways state aid
  4. EU remove eight places from tax havens blacklist
  5. UK to keep forces in Germany over Russia fears
  6. Finnish presidential vote could go to second round
  7. Report: EU might pay Brexit residency fees for EU citizens
  8. Puigdemont free to travel around EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Free AlllianceNo Justice From the Spanish Supreme Court Ruling
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  3. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  5. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  7. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  9. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  10. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  11. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  12. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit

Latest News

  1. Berlusconi in Brussels on pre-election charm offensive
  2. ECJ should rule against Austrian online censorship lawsuit
  3. EU states loosen grip on tax havens
  4. Facebook promises privacy reboot ahead of new EU rules
  5. Europe is lacking tech leadership
  6. Spitzenkandidat system here to stay, MEPs warn capitals
  7. MEPs to keep 28 UK seats after Brexit
  8. Norway defends new Arctic oil drilling

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  2. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  3. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  4. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  5. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  6. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  7. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  8. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  9. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  10. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  11. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  12. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  3. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  4. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  5. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  6. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersCelebrating Diversity, Citizenship and the European Project With Fundació Josep Irla
  8. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceUnderstanding the Social Consequences of Obesity
  9. Union for the MediterraneanMediterranean Countries Commit to Strengthening Women's Role in Region
  10. European Heart NetworkThe Time Is Ripe for Simplified Front-Of-Pack Nutrition Labelling
  11. Counter BalanceNew EU External Investment Plan Risks Sidelining Development Objectives
  12. Dialogue PlatformThe Turkey I No Longer Know