The United Kingdom and the world as a whole are in a moment of upheaval after a vote determined that the U.K. would take steps to leave the European Union. Much of the conversation revolves around Article 50, the provision of the Treaty of Lisbon of 2007 that serves as the “constitutional basis” of the E.U. The U.K. still has to officially initiate Article 50, after the current Prime Minister transitions out. Members who leave the E.U. can rejoin through triggering a different section of the Treaty of Lisbon, Article 49.

So, once the Brexit process gets officially triggered, is there any real chance we’ll see the U.K. back in the E.U.? Well, the process of establishing the Article 50 deal itself will be critical to answering that question. The U.K. could technically decide to back out of the entire process if it does not like the way that negotiations occur, especially if a second referendum is held to vote down the deal.

And Parliament could pose a real challenge to making Brexit official, given that neither the House of Commons nor the House of Lords has a majority of members that want Britain to leave the E.U. Filibustering and other delays could become the norm in the next few months or even years.

However, if the U.K. does carry through completely with the Article 50 process and sever ties with the E.U., then it would take a lot to ever see the U.K. as part of the E.U. again. Reentry would require a unanimous vote of the E.U. member states. And that means that the U.K. would probably have to accept terms it’s been quite hesitant on in the past, such as relinquishing the pound as a form of currency and participating in the Schengen area of free movement.

U.N. Special Representative discusses civic participation in the European Union:

Header Image: Jeff Djevdet (Flickr)