United Kingdom to formally trigger Brexit on March 29

Pauline Gross
March 20, 2017

Speaking after London announced that Prime Minister Theresa May would start the two-year withdrawal process by writing to European Union summit chair Donald Tusk next Wednesday, the source said this did not leave enough time to convene the other 27 leaders on April 6-7, dates that had been pencilled in for a meeting.

"Next Wednesday, the government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50", he said.

With the Queen now having given Royal Assent to the Article 50 Bill, the United Kingdom is on the verge of starting negotiations to withdraw from the European Union.

Notification of the historic step will come in the form of a letter from the Prime Minister to Mr Tusk, though Downing Street did not make clear whether this would be a physical letter handed to the European Council president by a United Kingdom representative or might be sent electronically.

A spokesman said the government wants negotiations to start as soon as possible but added that they "fully appreciate it is right that the other 27 European Union states have time to agree their position". These include getting a good free trade deal.

Mrs May will meet First Minister Carwyn Jones as well as leaders in business and other areas, and will be accompanied by Brexit Secretary David Davis and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns.

The launch of the Article 50 means the starting of a two-year Brexit talks between London and Brussels on a deal to determine Britain's future relationship with the remaining 27 member states of the EU.

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Merkel noted that British Prime Minister Theresa May always said that would happen before the end of March.

May and European Union leaders say transitional arrangements may well be needed, to give more time to agree a future trade deal and give people and businesses time to adjust to the divorce. "We are ready to begin negotiations". We don't know if Britain could change its mind, withdraw its Article 50 notification and stay after all.

The EU has said it will issue its first plan for Brexit talks within 48 hours, before finalising its strategy at a summit set to take place between four and six weeks after Article 50 is triggered.

May has revealed little of her strategy for securing what she calls "the best possible deal" for the world's fifth largest economy and making Brexit as painless as possible.

"The UK notification on 29 March does not leave sufficient time to prepare a European Council on 6-7 April to adopt the Brexit guidelines", the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Sapin says he hopes the negotiations between Britain and the European Union "can be done in a constructive manner, by both sides".

Other reports by GizPress

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