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On 29 March 2017, the UK formally notified the European Union of its intention to withdraw from its membership by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Under Article 50, the UK and the EU will have two years to negotiate a withdrawal agreement (unless there is a unanimous decision by the European Council, with the agreement of the UK, to extend this). A separate agreement may be necessary to establish future relations between the UK and the EU.

Ahead of these negotiations, this Lords Library briefing profiles each of the EU27 member states. It provides information about their membership of the EU, the size of their economies, their trade in goods and services with the UK and their populations, including the estimated number of citizens from each EU member state residing in the UK, and the number of UK citizens residing in each EU member state. It also provides a snapshot of the EU27 member states’ perspectives on the UK’s departure from the EU, up until the point Article 50 was invoked by the UK. It does this by setting out the key points made and issues raised by the current head of government/state (where possible) in each of these countries, who in holding these positions are also members of the European Council (in some cases other relevant figures, such as government ministers, are quoted). In focusing on the heads of government/state, the briefing does not include the views of other political opinions in those countries. Consequently, the briefing will not, therefore, fully capture the domestic political situation in each of those countries. Additionally, the views expressed may not remain static as negotiations start and develop. The governments of individual member states may change their views and positions, and/or personnel changes may take place in governments that affect these perspectives.

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