March 23, 2017

Britain to trigger Article 50 'EU divorce process' on March 29

20 March 2017, 09:18 | Darnell Patrick

Britain to trigger Article 50 'EU divorce process' on March 29

Britain to trigger Article 50 'EU divorce process' on March 29

The formal process is expected to take two years according to an official table setting out deadlines, which - if stuck to - would see the United Kingdom officially become autonomous in 2019.

Then comes the hard part - the arguments, the lawyers, the squabbles over money.

May will prioritise controlling immigration from the rest of the bloc, after the issue dominated the referendum campaign.

In the referendum held on June 23 a year ago, 52 percent of Britons voted to leave the European Union in a historic and surprise move.

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.

She'll do that by sending a letter to the European Council and giving a statement in Parliament afterward. May will also announce the news in Parliament. What happens next is up to the EU.

European leaders have stepped up their rhetoric over the past week as the start of negotiations draws nearer.

A spokesperson said that May will write a letter to the EU's 27 other members to express her intent to have the negotiations begin swiftly.

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Britain's Brexit minister David Davis said in a statement that Britons had approved a "historic decision" to leave the European Union after four decades of membership.

Both sides would like the early resolution of the status of more than three million Europeans living in Britain, and more than one million Britons living elsewhere in the EU. As Britain's Institute for Government recently pointed out, "the negotiating with 27 member states, not a unified bloc".

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party accepted the Prime Minister had a mandate to start the process of leaving the EU. England's 310-year-old union with Scotland is also in jeopardy, while the border separating Northern Ireland - a United Kingdom province - from the Republic of Ireland could become a hard one.

The first major battle is likely to be about money.

Without a new trade agreement, Britain would fall back on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, which could mean higher export tariffs and other barriers. We expect it will be a two-year process and we are confident that is what we will achieve. If the rest of the European Union agrees, the two-year negotiating period can be extended, leaving Britain in the European Union for a while longer.

Sturgeon has made plain her view that Britain is heading for a "bad deal" on Brexit and wants Scotland to have a vote on independence before the terms of the deal are signed. But it's unclear whether Article 50 is legally reversible.

The 10 Downing Street office of Prime Minister Theresa May said that she will make a statement in the House of Commons on the day Article 50 is triggered. "You can change your mind while the process is going on".

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