UK triggers Brexit with letter handover to EU Council President Donald Tusk

Georgeta Gheorghe 29/03/2017 | 15:38

The United Kingdom has triggered its exit from the European Union by handing over the Article 50 letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk.

“We have the vision and the plan,” UK Prime Minister TheresaMay said on Wednesday, at the start of two years of negotiations that will see the UK formally leave the EU.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU and the country that triggers it two years to agree the terms of the split. The UK, the first country to invoke Article 50, is expected to have left the EU by summer of 2019. As part of the exit process, the UK government will enact the Great Repeal Bill to end the primacy of EU law in the country. The Bill is expected to incorporate all EU legislation into UK law in one go, and later the UK Government will decide which parts to keep, change or remove.

According to the BBC, which has analyzed the letter, Theresa May “acknowledges UK will lose influence over the rules and there will be consequences. She says she knows UK companies will have to abide by rules of institutions of which they are no longer a part.” Moreover, the UK PM “uses risk of support for security and anti-terror measures being weakened to argue against no deal being reached. She asks for early agreement on the principle of phased implementation – ie a transitional agreement on the terms of exit.” The letter emphasizes the UK’s view that a future deal must be discussed at the same time as the withdrawal, and not one after the other.

“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,” the EU Council said in a statement.

“In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimise 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,” the statement reads, adding that “in the future, we hope to have the United Kingdom as a close partner.”

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