Brexit: May will trigger article 50 on March 29th

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 21, 2017

Sterling fell half a cent against the dollar on what Brexit minister David Davis described as a move taking Britain to "the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation".

On the EU side of things the European Commission will lead negotiations, but the final agreement will require consent from European Parliament, which consists of hundreds of MEPs from every member of the EU.

Britain is one of the oldest and largest members of the 28-nation bloc, and its departure has raised fears for the EU's future as eurosceptic movements gain support across the continent.

It stipulates that the two sides now have until March 2019 to agree on a divorce settlement and - if possible - establish a new relationship between Britain, the world's No. 5 economy, and the European Union, a vast single market containing 500 million people.

No country has ever invoked Article 50 before.

May's government said her permanent envoy to the EU had informed European Council President Donald Tusk of the date when Britain intends to invoke Article 50 of its Lisbon Treaty - the mechanism for starting its exit after a referendum last June in which Britons voted by a 52-48 percent margin to leave the bloc.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: 'We want negotiations to start promptly.

The notification of Article 50 will take the form of a letter to Tusk, followed by a statement by May to MPs in the House of Commons.

Tusk has said he would issue draft guidelines for the negotiations within 48 hours, although these will need to be approved by European Union leaders.

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. Basically, it gives the United Kingdom two years to negotiate a "withdrawal agreement" with the 27 remaining member states of the EU.

"We are ready to begin negotiations", Margaritis Schinas, the spokesman for European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, told a briefing. Article 50 says: "Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements". Scotland's nationalist first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is seeking a referendum on independence within two years.

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