Britain set to become the first state to evoke the Article 50
(INTELLIHUB) — UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday, March 29, to officially begin the divorce between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
According to a spokesman for Prime Minister May, Britain’s ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow on Monday told the office of European Council President Donald Tusk that Britain will indeed trigger Article 50.
“We said it would be by the end of March and thought it would be helpful to say when it will happen,” the PM’s official spokesman said. “We want negotiations to start promptly. We expect it will be a two-year process and we are confident that is what we will achieve. So Britain will exit the EU on 29 March 2019.”
May is expected to write a letter to the European Council next Wednesday to formally begin the Brexit.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out how an EU country might voluntarily leave the EU.
Article 50 says: “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”
Britain is set to become the first state to evoke the article.
Under the Article 50 process, talks on the terms of exit and future relations are not allowed until the UK formally tells the EU it is leaving.
If negotiations go smoothly, a Brexit should be achieved by March 2019.
EU Commission chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reports at a briefing in Brussels that eurocrats were ready to begin talks “immediately.”
“The first step after the notification will be the adoption of guidelines by the European Council, which is the political reaction,” Margaritis said.
“The European Commission will then immediately – and I mean immediately – issue a recommendation for the negotiations,” the EU spokes continued. “This is the legal mandate and after this draft recommendation the European Council will formally adopt the mandate to the EU negotiator Michel Barnier.”
European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted on Monday that he expects to release an initial response to the Article 50 notification within 48 hours.
Within 48 hours of the UK triggering Article 50, I will present the draft #Brexit guidelines to the EU27 Member States.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 20, 2017
Tusk has also previously said he expects to call an extraordinary summit of the 27 other members within four to six weeks, to draw up a mandate for the European Commission’s chief negotiator. Under this scenario, talks will likely begin in May.