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The Eurozone

The “Eurozone” is officially known as the “euro-area” and consists of those Member States of the EU that have adopted the Euro as their currency. Today, around 340 million citizens in 19 countries live in the euro-area, and this number will increase as future enlargements of the euro-area continue to spread the single currency more widely in the European Union.

The Euro is not the currency of all EU member states and the UK and Denmark have an opt-out clause, in the treaty, which exempts them from participation.

Sweden has not yet qualified to be part of the euro-area and the remaining member states (having joined the EU after the introduction of the Euro) have committed to joining as and when they meet the necessary conditions for entry.

Andorra, Monaco San Marino and the Vatican City have adopted the Euro as their national currency by special arrangement with the EU.

The Euro was created because a single currency offers many advantages and benefits over the previous situation where each Member State had its own currency. Not only are fluctuation risks and exchange costs eliminated and the single market strengthened, but the Euro also means closer co-operation among Member States for a stable currency and economy.

The single currency brings new strengths and opportunities arising from the integration and scale of the euro-area economy, making the single market more efficient.

Before the Euro, the need to exchange currencies meant extra costs, risks and a lack of transparency in cross-border transactions. With the single currency, doing business in the euro-area is more cost-effective and less risky.

Being able to compare prices easily encourages cross-border trade and investment, from individual consumers searching for the lowest cost product, through businesses purchasing the best value service, to large institutional investors who can invest more efficiently throughout the euro-area without the risks of fluctuating exchange rates.

The scale of the single currency and the euro-area also brings new opportunities in the global economy. A single currency makes the euro-area an attractive region for other countries to do business with, promoting trade and investment.

The Euro is managed by the European Central Bank (ECB) and

  • Sets the interest rates at which it lends to banks in the eurozone
  • Manages the eurozone’s foreign currency reserves and the buying or selling of currencies to balance exchange rates
  • Ensures that financial markets & institutions are well supervised by national authorities, and that payment systems work well
  • Ensures the safety and soundness of the European banking system
  • Authorises production of euro banknotes by eurozone countries
  • Monitors price trends and assesses risks to price stability

More details about the Euro and Eurozone can be found at


Leaving the EU – Lisbon Treaty Article 50 etc

The process for a member country to leave the EU is covered by Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.

Reference: The Lisbon Treaty – Article 50

Article 50 states
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

Process for withdrawing from the EU

The UK government has produced a document which outlines the actual process for withdrawing from the European Union. The document was presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

The process for withdrawing from the European Union

update: 27th June 2016
I also noticed some posts from the UK Constitutional Law Association which discuss various legal aspects of the withdrawal process:

Nick Barber, Tom Hickman and Jeff King: Pulling the Article 50 ‘Trigger’: Parliament’s Indispensable Role

Kenneth Armstrong: Push Me, Pull You: Whose Hand on the Article 50 Trigger?

update: 29th June 2016
Richard Ekins: The Legitimacy of the Brexit Referendum

update: 08 July 2016

The legal consequences under international and EU Law – a collection of blog posts, papers prepared by the UK government, legal advice issued by leading lawyers, journal articles, and book chapters. Its purpose is to collect together legal analysis of the consequences of the Brexit under international law and EU law. Provided by the Oxford Public International Law



update: 14 July 2016

The future of the United Kingdom in Europe: Exit scenarios and their implications on trade relations.

This memorandum is a research paper prepared on a pro bono basis by students at the Graduate Institute of
International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. It is a pedagogical exercise to train students in the
practice of international trade and investment law, not professional legal advice. As a result, this memorandum
cannot in any way bind, or lead to any form of liability or responsibility for its authors, the supervisor of the IHEID
Trade and Investment Law Clinic or the IHEID




Negotiating documents on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom



IndexMundi contains detailed country statistics, charts, and maps compiled from multiple sources. You can explore and analyze thousands of indicators organized by region, country, topic, industry sector, and type.


Examining the UK’s relationship with the EU

Following on from a 2010 election and Coalition Government pledge to ‘repatriate’ EU competences to the UK, in July 2012 the Government launched a Review of the Balance of Competences, which it described as “an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK”


World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The WTO, which was established in 1995, and its predecessor organization the GATT have helped to create a strong and prosperous international trading system. It currently has 162 members. The UK has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 1 January 1948. All EU member States are WTO members, as is the EU in its own right.

Information about the WTO can be found at

Brexit and the World Trade Organization

An article, by Gregory Messenger – a Lecturer in Law at the University of Liverpool, which discusses the consequences from a World Trade Organization (WTO) perspective if the UK were to leave the EU.


European Commission – Departments and Services

The Commission is divided into several departments and services. The departments are known as Directorate-Generals (DGs). This page has links to the various departments.


Information provided by the EU

The EU is active in a wide range of area, from human rights to transport and trade.

Useful links providing information on these topics can be found at


UK in a Changing Europe

The UK in a Changing Europe initiative is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and based at King’s College London. The Initiative explores the key aspects of UK and EU dynamics. Their website provides a wealth of information exploring numerous issues which may affect how you decide to vote.


They have also produced a useful document, in conjunction with Full Fact the UK’s independent fact checking organisation, to provide impartial information on claims made by both the Remain and Leave campaigns on various topics

Leave/Remain: The Facts behind the claims

Full Fact

Full Fact is the UK’s independent, non-partisan, factchecking charity. It checks claims made by politicians, the media, pressure groups, and other voices in public debate, and pushes for corrections where necessary.


The EU – A brief guide

Extracted from


where you can also find a brief history and a glossary of terms used in the EU.

The European Union, which succeeded the European Community, was established by the EU Treaties.

The parties to the treaties are the Member States of the EU.

Under the treaties the Member States confer competences on the EU – such as the power to adopt legislation. The EU can only act within the limits of its competences.

The EU has a number of institutions, such as the European Council, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Acting together or separately, these institutions pass laws (such as regulations, directives or decisions), which may take effect automatically in the UK’s legal systems or require the UK to pass national legislation to give effect to the EU laws.

The UK may also be affected by the treaties themselves, which may restrict what the UK can do, for example, restricting the UK’s power to limit imports from other Member States.

The Court of Justice of the European Union interprets the treaties and the laws which the EU passes and decides if Member States have abided by them.

There are two key EU treaties, which have been amended several times.

They are the Treaty on the European Union (‘TEU’, originally the Maastricht Treaty), and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’, originally called the Treaty of Rome). The treaties are effective in the UK by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972, as amended.

The full text of the Maastricht Treaty can be found on the EU web-site at


The European Economic Community was established in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, and became the European Community (EC) in 1967. The Treaty of Rome gave the Community a number of tasks including establishing a common market and progressively approximating the economic policies of the Member States. The United Kingdom joined the Community in 1973, and confirmed that decision in a UK-wide referendum in 1975.

In 1986, the Single European Act made further provision for the establishment of the common market, now referred to as the ‘internal market’, and defined as an area without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured. The Single Market Act also added a number of new policy areas to the Community’s competence, including, for example, a specific environmental competence. The Maastricht Treaty followed in 1993. This treaty established the European Union, which had a three pillar structure, with the European Community being the first pillar, the common foreign and security policy the second pillar and justice and home affairs (covering immigration and asylum, civil judicial cooperation and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters) the third pillar. Further changes were made by the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) and the Treaty of Nice (2000), including to the competences of the Union.

The EU entered a period of expansion, reaching 28 Member States by 2013. This prompted calls for a new Treaty. After long discussion, the Lisbon treaty was signed in 2007. This treaty renamed and amended the original treaties, collapsed the three pillar system into a single European Union, and incorporated the Charter of Fundamental Rights into the EU Treaties.

EU Trade with non-EU countries (2015)

by Politicker 0 Comments

The EU trades with most countries in the world and this is worth a total of 3,513,929 Million Euro (3.5 Trillion), based on figures for 2015.

The following breakdown shows the value of the trade between the EU non-EU countries. It does not include the figures for internal trade between the 28 EU countries.

The top 10 trading partners accounted for 62.96% of the total EU trade.

2 of the top 10 countries that the EU trades with are Norway and Switzerland with a total value of € 376 Billion or 10.7% of the total trade

Total EU Trade Table

Figure 1 – Total EU Trade with non-EU countries (table)

Total EU Trade Chart

Figure 2 – Total Trade with non-EU countries (chart)

Exploring these figures further shows that Imports to the EU from non-EU countries totalled 1,724,867 Million Euro (1.7 Trillion Euro). The top 10 trading partners accounted for 66.23% of the total and goods totalling € 176 Billion Euro, or 10.24% of the total goods imported came from Norway and Switzerland.

EU Imports Table

Figure 3 – Total Imports to the EU from non-EU countries (table)

EU Imports Chart

Figure 4 – Total Imports to the EU from non-EU countries (chart)

Exports from the EU to non-EU countries totalled €1,789,063 Million Euro (€1.8 Trillion Euro). The top 10 trading partners accounted for 66.23% of the total and goods totalling almost €200 Billion Euro, or 11.16% of the total were exported to Norway and Switzerland

EU Exports Table

Figure 5 – Total Exports from the EU to non-EU countries (table)

EU Exports Chart

Figure 6 – Total Exports from the EU to non-EU countries (chart)