However, Greenland, until now the only member state to leave the EU, needed
more than two years when it left in the 1980s, although it only had to reach an
agreement on fishing rights.
Negotiations with the UK are more wide-ranging
because all areas of the Single Market are being re-regulated. The UK’s top
priority is likely to be limiting freedom of movement given that so many people
voted to leave the EU because of migration.
At the same time, the issue of
passporting, in other words, the right to continue to provide financial services in
the EU from the UK, is also likely to be important. Anything else means the
British financial industry would risk substantial losses if it no longer had access
to the EU market.
For this reason, complex and protracted negotiations could
also extend beyond June 2019. In this case, it would also need to be clarified
whether and under what conditions British MEPs could stand for elections to the
European Parliament in 2019.
The negotiations or a provisional agreement
could also be a key topic of the next UK general election in 2020, whereby
feedback effects on the outcome of the negotiations are to be expected. It will
be a number of years before we know what direction things are taking. Until
then, political uncertainty will remain particularly high.