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The Road to Brexit

As Scott Miller wrote in one of our early Essentials, How Will Brexit Affect the UK’s Trade Relationships, the outcome of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) single market and customs union has broad implications for the UK economy and its terms of trade with the rest of the world.

The UK’s notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty triggered a statutory two-year clock for completion. We are approaching that deadline quickly on March 29, 2019. Hence the flurry of activity at the end of this year by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to finalize a deal her parliament can approve. Thorny issues remain such as how to avoid erecting a hard customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Facing certain defeat, Ms. May opted to postpone a December 12 vote, prompting a confidence vote that she survived. As we enter what might be the home stretch of Brexit negotiations, we offer a timeline of key events and milestones between 2015 and 2018 and what we should be on the lookout for in the first quarter of 2019.

For more narrative on how events have unfolded and why, we recommend the writing of Amanda Sloat at Brookings, who has followed the issue closely.