No. 41




The United Kingdom’s Withdrawal from the European Union: Negotiations have been Replaced by Negotiations

10 June 2020


RiTo No. 41, 2020

  • Karin Rannu

    Coordinator for UK withdrawal from the EU, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

By leaving the European Union, the United Kingdom became free of its decades-long hesitations and doubts regarding the EU membership and the EU developments.

Thus, now the United Kingdom will be able to decide over its future by itself, in another and different legal space than the one where it belonged for the last half a century. The exit process vividly demonstrated how complicated it is to untangle the root ball that has entwined over such a long time without damaging the plants seriously. Among other things, the benefits and added values of the EU that are taken for granted in everyday life became clear. When the complexities of Brexit were seen, the voices in support of withdrawal elsewhere in the EU quieted down. In several Member States, the support for the European Union increased. Besides that, the UK’s exhausting path of withdrawal helped strengthen the unity between the Member States. Keeping it and working in the name of it is more important today than ever before because we are facing new great challenges, like the digital revolution, climate changes or life-threatening viruses.

The European Union is not the same after the United Kingdom’s leaving, but paradoxically its withdrawal helps us understand the importance of the European Union in our daily life and obliges us to think carefully how to move on together in the European Union.

We have reached a new stage in shaping our relations with the United Kingdom, and it is quite clear that this path will be longer than the withdrawal was. In the changing world of today, it is important that the future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom would be close and effective, and helped us strengthen our position among the world powers. It should be our aim that the European Union and the United Kingdom complemented and reinforced each other. However, the precondition for all that is unity within the EU. Without it, we will never have good results in our relations with the United Kingdom or at a wider level, in building up Europe after the pandemic crisis.