UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, formally triggered Article 50 to officially begin her country’s exit from the European Union.
Mrs. May signed the letter of official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to inform the European Council of Britain’s intention to leave the Union.
The letter was delivered to Donald Tusk, the European council president in Brussels. Tusk confirmed receiving Britain’s letter in a tweet saying: ”After nine months, the UK has delivered.”
The European council’s initial response to the receipt of the article 50 letter of Britain exiting the EU said:
”We regret that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, but we are ready for the process that we now will have to follow.”
”For the European Union, the first step will now be the adoption of guidelines for the negotiations by the European council. These guidelines will set out the overall positions and principles in light of which the union, represented by the European commission, will negotiate with the United Kingdom.”
”In these negotiations, the Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimize the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom for our citizens, businesses and member states. Therefore, we will start by focusing on all key arrangements for an orderly withdrawal.”
”We will approach these talks constructively and strive to find an agreement. In the future, we hope to have the United Kingdom as a close partner.”
In a press conference later, Donald Tusk further said he received the six-page letter to start the 2-year-long negotiations.
He said there was no reason to pretend this was a happy day in the European Council in Brussels or in London. He further noted that most Europeans, including more than half of British voters, wished to stay.
What’s Next After Article 50
The next key step in the withdrawal process from the European Union will come when PM May’s government introduces the Great Repeal Bill.
The bill is designed to stop the EU’s legal jurisdiction over the UK. It will be implemented with all current EU laws transposed into UK laws to ensure maximum stability during the exit period.
There are almost 20,000 EU legislative acts to be sorted through by parliament ranging from how much clean energy a country should use to a grocery store banana’s curvature.
Other issues which to be tackled are cross-border security, the European Arrest Warrant and EU agencies whose headquarters are in the UK.
Brexit negotiations are expected to begin in mid-May.
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