The outcome of the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 was a major political event in the history of European integration. A member state voted for exit over voice and was on a journey to third country status. The objective of this article is twofold. First, it analyses the EU’s response to Brexit, including the role of process, up to the departure of the UK from the Union on 31 January 2020. Second, it explains why the EU adopted the approach that it did. The analytical lens builds on Kooiman's three governing orders, all of which were deployed in managing Brexit.