It is not possible to be precise because no Member State has ever left the EU. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) has never been invoked before and there are at least 18 elections forecast across the EU over the next two years but a broad indicative timeline would include the following possible events:

Approximate Date

Possible Event

29 March 2017

UK communicates its intention to leave the EU by triggering Article 50. UK expected to publish a white paper and possibly the Great Reform Bill in the aftermath of triggering Article 50

31 March 2017

EU expected to give its response to UK’s Article 50 notice

23 April 2017

First round voting in French Presidential Elections

29 April 2017

EU-27 leaders meet in the European Council to discuss the triggering of Article 50 and what to do next (in particular, in the context of the negotiating guidelines)

7 May 2017

Second round voting in French Presidential Elections

April 2017 (and later)

Detailed discussions begin between the EU and UK – they might not formally commence until June/July

11 & 18 June 2017

French Parliamentary Elections

1 July 2017

Estonia takes over Presidency of the European Council (it was meant to have been the UK but it has relinquished EU Presidency (will be taken over by Estonia)

27 August – 22 October 2017 – but expected to be 24 September 2017

Period in which German General Election can be held

1 January 2018

Bulgaria assumes European Council Presidency

1 July 2018

Austria assumes European Council Presidency

30 September 2018

Date set by EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to conclude terms of the UK’s exit from the Union – this would leave, in reality, about a year to negotiate a deal because of the delays in commencing (e.g., due to the French and German elections as well as the need to clarify/agree their positions)

October 2018-March 2019 (or later!)

Possible Brexit Deal which would then require consent by UK (simple majority in UK Parliament), consent by the European Parliament (absolute majority) and the EU-27 (by super qualified majority – 20 of the 27/65% of the population)

1 January 2019

Romania assumes European Council Presidency

1 June 2019

European Parliament Elections

1 July 2019

Finland assumes European Council Presidency

1 January 2020

Croatia assumes European Council Presidency

30 March 2020

UK Parliament scheduled to be dissolved ahead of UK General Election on 7 May 2020

7 May 2020

Scheduled UK General Election

1 July 2020

Germany assumes European Council Presidency