Withdrawal and Expulsion from the EU and EMU: Some Reflections

50 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2009

Date Written: December 18, 2009


This paper examines the issues of secession and expulsion from the European Union (EU) and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It concludes that negotiated withdrawal from the EU would not be legally impossible even prior to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, and that unilateral withdrawal would undoubtedly be legally controversial; that, while permissible, a recently enacted exit clause is, prima facie, not in harmony with the rationale of the European unification project and is otherwise problematic, mainly from a legal perspective; that a Member State’s exit from EMU, without a parallel withdrawal from the EU, would be legally inconceivable; and that, while perhaps feasible through indirect means, a Member State’s expulsion from the EU or EMU, would be legally next to impossible. This paper concludes with a reminder that while, institutionally, a Member State’s membership of the euro area would not survive the discontinuation of its membership of the EU, the same need not be true of the former Member State’s use of the euro.

Suggested Citation

Athanassiou, Phoebus, Withdrawal and Expulsion from the EU and EMU: Some Reflections (December 18, 2009). ECB Legal Working Paper No. 10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1517760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1517760

Phoebus Athanassiou (Contact Author)

European Central Bank ( email )

Sonnemannstrasse 20
Frankfurt am Main, 60314

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