Working Papers

Britain’s 12 Point Brexit Plan: First Impressions

Britain’s 12 Point Brexit Plan: First Impressions

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25 Jan 2017

Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

On 17 January 2017, the British Prime Minister announced her Government’s “Twelve Point Plan” for exiting the European Union (EU). It describes how the Brexit negotiations will be approached (to be conducted in terms of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty), possible transitional arrangements, and how the UK’s future trade dispensation might look.

The British government has been criticised for the long delay in developing the UK’s exit strategy; causing uncertainty in the markets, for investors, and among trading partners. The result of the Brexit referendum was announced on 23 June 2016. It took six months to announce the objectives which will be pursued once Article 50 is formally triggered in March this year. British firms (and the general public) now know the general outline of the UK’s Brexit strategy. However, it will take a long time before all the negotiations will be completed and the restructuring of domestic trade governance in the UK will be accomplished.

In this first tralac commentary since the announcement of Britain’s plan for exiting the EU, we look at the most important aspects of Prime Minister May’s speech and remark on some of the implications for Southern African nations. Additional analyses of the Brexit process will be published in the course of this year as the direction of the negotiations become clearer.

Making matters more complicated, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on 24 January 2017 that Prime Minister May needs an Act of Parliament to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The political bargaining which may now follow has introduced a new challenge for the Brexit process. We include a discussion of some of the implications of obtaining Parliament’s support before the exit process can formally get under way.


Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.