‘Brexit does not mean Brexit, it can be revoked’ – lawyer who wrote Article 50

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker © Aly Song
Brexit does not necessarily mean Brexit, claims a former Eurocrat. The lawyer who helped write the Lisbon Treaty says triggering Article 50 does not mean it cannot later be revoked.

Jean-Claude Piris said it was within the law for Britain to change its mind after triggering Article 50, the formal mechanism a state must invoke in order to leave the European Union.

Piris played a key role in drafting the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties, the two legal documents which form the foundation of the European Union.

My opinion is that there is no legal provision in Article 50 providing that when you give your intention you cannot change your intention, so I think it’s possible legally,” Piris told Sky News.

Nobody thought that it would be used.

But people thought that if it would be used one day it would probably be by the United Kingdom, because as you know the United Kingdom has always been a little bit in, little bit out.”

Piris predicted “15 years of economic pain” after the UK leaves the EU.

Difficult things will begin after the exit, when you go out, you have no trade agreement whatsoever, with nobody, because you are losing the fact that you were a member of the single market, and you were participating to the 60 or 70 agreements with a lot of countries in the world.

You know a trade agreement is very long. It is very heavy, thousands of pages.

“If you don’t want a European Court of Justice looking at what you are doing. If you don’t want somebody telling you that you’re obliged to have immigration from the EU, if you want to be able to negotiate trade agreements alone and not with the others, then okay, fine, but there will be a price, and the price will be certainly heavy. It might be good in 30 years, but for the 15 years to come, definitely not.