By Philippe Vlaemminck & Lidia Dutkiewicz

On 10 December 2018, the CJEU ruled that, when a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification.

The judgement follows, to a great extent, last week’s opinion from an Advocate-General which we discussed here: https://www.pharumlegal.eu/blog/the-uk-may-unilaterally-revoke-its-intention-on-brexit/

The CJEU rules that Article 50 TEU does not explicitly address the question of revocation. It neither expressly prohibits nor expressly authorizes such revocation.

However, the CJEU notes that Article 50 TEU has two main objectives: it gives a Member State the sovereign right to withdraw from the EU, and, it establishes a procedure to enable such a withdrawal to happen.

In the absence of a clear provision governing revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw, that revocation may be decided unilaterally, in an unequivocal and unconditional manner, in accordance with the constitutional requirements of the Member State concerned.

The purpose of that revocation is to confirm that the EU membership of the Member State remains unchanged, and that such revocation brings the withdrawal procedure to an end.

The judgement comes in indeed interesting times: Prime Minister Teresa May has just postponed Brexit vote in the UK’s Parliament with the intention to “renegotiate” the withdrawal agreement.