Brexit process will officially start next week

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 21, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May, under the Article, will notify Tusk of her nation's intentions to leave the 28-nation bloc.

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

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.

Notification comes 279 days after the referendum of June 23 previous year delivered a 52 to 48 per cent majority in favour of withdrawal.

She added: "The Prime Minister's attitude should worry all of us hoping that negotiations with Europe will not be a disaster because - and let me put it bluntly - if she shows the same condescension and inflexibility, the same tin ear, to other European Union countries as she has to Scotland then Brexit process will hit the rocks". I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the UK.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Monday that the EU is "ready to begin negotiations".

French diplomat Michel Barnier is the chief negotiator for the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm. After that, the European Union will need another few weeks to turn those guidelines into a formal negotiating mandate for Michel Barnier, who will lead the day-to-day talks for the bloc.

Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed for months that the country will trigger Article 50 by the end of March.

Negotiations should start "promptly" after the notification, the PM's spokesman said, but acknowledged that it was "obviously right that the EU27 have time to agree their position".

May has also received pushback from Northern Ireland and Scotland, both of which voted to remain with the EU. The EU wants Britain to pay a hefty divorce bill - estimates have ranged up to 60 billion euros ($64 billion) - to cover pension liabilities for EU staff and other commitments the United Kingdom has agreed to.

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to make a full statement to MPs in the House of Commons immediately after the triggering of the Article 50 next Wednesday. May has said now is not the time for Scotland to vote on independence, preferring to wait until after Brexit. Britain hasn't ruled out a payment, but is sure to quibble over the size of the tab. The spokesman said the United Kingdom government remained "confident" that the process could be concluded within the two-year timeframe, meaning that the United Kingdom would formally leave the European Union by the end of March 2019 - ending 46 years of membership.

May has promised parliament a vote on the final Brexit deal, but warned that rejecting it meant Britain would leave without any agreement.

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