The purpose of this paper is to determine whether a Member State of the EU may revoke its notice to withdraw from the Union under Article 50 TEU. Contrary to the position taken by the English courts in Miller, this paper confirms that a notice to withdraw from the EU is in fact reversible.
Does a notice to withdraw from the EU pursuant to Article 50 TEU have to be in written form? The Treaty of Lisbon has left this question open. In its second paragraph, Article 50 TEU declares that a ‘Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.’ Nothing in this passage dictates that the notice has to be made in writing, yet nothing indicates that it may not be made in writing either. However, three points should be borne in mind in this context.
‘There is no going back.’ These were the words of Lord Pannick, uttered before the High Court in response to the question whether the United Kingdom could rescind its notification to withdraw from the European Union once issued under Article 50 TEU (Santos and M v Secretary of State for Exiting The European Union, uncorrected transcripts, p. 17). The claimants and the Government appear to agree on this point and accept that the UK cannot reverse its notification of withdrawal. This post explains why this position does not reflect the law.
Contribution to a major academic commentary on the Treaty on European Union just published in English by Springer, addressing Article 28 (Council Decisions on Operational Action), Article 29 (Council Decisions on Union Positions) and Article 37 TEU (Agreements concluded by the Union with Third States and International Organizations).
In this chapter, I argue that the manner in which the Lisbon Treaty carried out the simplification of the EU’s legal instruments in the context of the CFSP signals a return, in essence, to a state of affairs that existed under the Maastricht Treaty.