Britain’s exit from EU could take a decade

Britain could take up to 10 years to strike final divorce terms with the EU, according to a leading economist.

Philip O’Sullivan, chief economist at Investec Ireland, said working out all the details of the UK’s new relationship with the EU as it plots to quit the bloc will take years.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Mr O’Sullivan told the Irish Examiner that ‘tiny’ Greenland took several years to strike divorce terms with Brussels in the 1980s, and negotiating the UK’s departure would take much longer.

That view was supported by an associate research professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute Edgar Morgenroth.

A leading adviser to the Government on the implications of Brexit on Ireland north and south, Prof Morgenroth said that the easy bit would be the triggering by the UK of Article 50 that marks the start of the divorce proceedings.

Reaching a lasting agreement, however, to cover all issues of trade and people could take many years, he said.

Prof Morgenroth said that one thorny issue is the potentially huge bill Britain owes various EU programmes.

An interim trade arrangement which could last years may be struck before a final agreement is reached, he said.

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