1962. Algeria secedes from France
The 1962 Evian Accords between the National Liberation Front (FLN) and the French government put an end to the Algerian war of independence, which had begun eight years earlier. Unlike other former colonies, Algeria's coastal territories were organized as French departments and, therefore, they were an integral part of the French Republic. Since 1957, therefore, they were also a part of the EEC, albeit with special status. Five years later, Algeria was de facto leaving the EEC, even if official relations between the newly independent country and the bloc were not reviewed until years later. Despite having lost a part of its territory, France was able to maintain the same representation to the European Parliamentary Assembly (36 members, the same as West Germany and Italy had) as before the independence of Algeria.
1985. Greenland leaves the EEC
Being a Danish county, Greenland joined the EEC at the same time Denmark did, in 1973. The year before, the Danish population had approved the move in a referendum (63% of votes for). Greenlanders had shown widespread opposition (70% of votes against), but had to yield to the majority decision of their fellow Danes. When Greenland received Home Rule within the Danish Realm in 1979, pressure to hold a new referendum on EEC membership increased. Apart from purely democratic issues, some Greenlanders were upset by the fact that ships from other EEC countries were allowed to fish in Greenlandic waters, fishing being a pillar of the island's economy. Indeed, a new referendum was held in 1982, with 53% of voters choosing to leave the EEC. Greenland's exit became effective in 1985. As the island left it, the EEC and the Greenlandic government signed an agreement whereby European vessels would be able to continue fishing in Greenland in exchange for an annual payment.
2012. Caribbean island of Saint Barthélémy withdraws from EU
Saint Barthélémy, a small Caribbean island, was a part of the EU given that it belonged to a French overseas region, Guadeloupe. French overseas regions are regarded as EU integral parts and, in fact, they are depicted on the map printed on all Euro banknotes. In 2007, however, Saint Barthélémy voted to secede from Guadeloupe. Later on, the government of Saint Barths, as the island is also known, called on France to review the island's relationship with the EU. As per the final agreement, Saint Barthélémy withdrew from the Union and joined instead the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) list. OCTs enjoy a peculiar status: their citizens are also EU citizens, but their territories do not belong to the EU. All OCTs are dependencies or semi-autonomous territories belonging to either one of the following member states: France, the Netherlands, the UK and Denmark -this is the case for Greenland since 1985.
2016: UK votes on whether leaving the Union
Latest opinion polls say most UK citizens will vote for EU continued membership. It is also true, however, that in mid-2015, as the refugee crisis was making headlines, surveys suggested that Brexit could emerge as the most voted option in a referendum. Therefore, it is likely that the 23rd June vote depend in part on the evolution of this issue -and also on UK internal politics- in the coming months.
In any case, the UK and all other member states have the right to leave the EU when they deem it appropriate. In accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, "any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements." If the decision to withdraw is final, the EU and the withdrawing member state must set out "the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union."