The European Union (EU) is governed by two treaties, the Treaty on the EU and Treaty on the functioning of the EU.

If and when the UK invokes Article 50 of the Treaty, which states “Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”, the benefits and obligations that accrue to the UK and its citizens stemming from these two treaties will cease over time.  In relation to the Treaty on the function of the EU, the UK will cease to participate in the overall government of the EU.

It is the withdrawal from the Treaty on the EU which will impact us as individuals or as persons operating a business from the UK with the rest of the EU.

There has been a lot of talk about what the EU Treaty is … and much confusion too. Its principle objective is to create a level playing field for a free market to operate in Europe.

This can occur if four freedoms are available to citizens of the member states and their businesses.  They are, the freedom of movement of (1) persons, (2) of goods, (3) of services, and (4) of capital.  The impediment of any one of these freedoms would obstruct the proper functioning of the free market, and therefore discriminate against the level playing field principle required for persons and business to prosper in the individual member countries.

In my view, much of the issue with the UK referendum has been concern over the freedom of movement of persons and not so much with the other three freedoms or questions over sovereignty or interference. This has been exacerbated by tragic international events.  However, from a free market perspective, the free flow of goods, services, and capital are dependent to a large extent on the freedom of movement of persons.  Its impediment would restrict the free movement of other three.

British citizens living in France have concerns over how this will play out – and rightly so.  In this article, I wanted to cover the before Brexit situation and its eventual effect on the 4 freedoms.  Having covered this ground, I will attempt in my next article, to provide some foresight as to what the tax situation will be, should France and the UK be obliged to cross the unchartered Brexit waters.

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