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Brexit: Five challenges for the UK when leaving the EU
24 June 2016
The campaign to leave the European Union has won the referendum. It means the UK is now committed to withdrawing from the group of 28 countries, a process that has come to be known as Brexit. What does this mean for the UK and EU?
UK special deal binned
The deal that Prime Minister David Cameron negotiated with the EU in February, giving the UK a special status as an EU member, will now be scrapped.
The UK won a guarantee that it would not suffer discrimination by being outside the eurozone. That was to safeguard the City of London's authority, as Europe's biggest financial centre. In return, the UK pledged not to block deeper eurozone integration.
If the UK manages to negotiate continued access to the EU single market on preferential terms the deal is unlikely to include the non-discrimination safeguards.
Mr Cameron has said he will use the EU's Article 50 procedure to negotiate the terms of the UK withdrawal. The next steps are uncertain, however, not least because UK politics is likely to get turbulent, with the Conservative Party deeply divided.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which has never been used before, sets a two-year time limit for reaching a deal. Generally seen as a tight deadline, it can be extended only if all 28 member states agree.
The process requires the UK to unpick some 80,000 pages of laws binding the UK to the EU. Some will be kept, because some areas of EU policy are shared with non-EU countries, like Norway and Switzerland.
Under this "divorce settlement", as some have called it, the UK and EU must agree how to divide assets, resolve EU budget issues and set out the future rights of EU nationals in the UK and vice versa.
The settlement requires approval by a majority of EU members, plus the European Parliament and UK Parliament.
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