Britain to formally trigger process to leave EU on March 29

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2017

The Prime Minister's letter officially notifying the European Council of the UK's intention to quit will set in train a two-year negotiation process expected to lead to Britain leaving the EU on March 29 2019.

The European Commission said it was ready to begin the negotiations.

"We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation", Brexit secretary David Davis said.

Sir Tim Barrow, Britain's permanent representative to the EU, has told European Council president Donald Tusk the United Kingdom intends to invoke Article 50 on that date, it was confirmed in a statement today.

The notification of triggering Article 50 of a key European Union treaty will come in the form of a letter delivered to Tusk - though it was unclear whether it would come through an actual letter or an electronic missive.

"We wish the talks to begin promptly, but we fully respect that the 27 (other European Union nations) will want to agree their position in advance", the spokesman said.

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Britain has said it wants to agree its divorce and a new relationship with Europe within the two years.

Plans to rush through a special summit on April 6 of the leaders of the remaining 27 countries are now off the table because there is not enough time, the source said.

EU President Donald Tusk, who is responsible for calling summits, said he would issue the draft guidelines within 48 hours of Britain triggering its exit.

May will invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, launching two years of negotiations on the terms of divorce and future relations with the remaining 27 European Union nations.

European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier will spearhead the talks with London.

The move comes nine months after people voted 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum.

Other reports by GizPress

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