Following a prolonged battle to secure the support from both houses of parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Brexit by invoking the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, thus officially starting UK’s EU exit procedure.
Downing Street said May would write a letter to EU Council to notify the Union that the UK is leaving.
An EU spokesman said it was “ready and waiting” for the letter.
The article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty does not allow talks on the terms of exit and future relations until the UK formally notifies the EU it is leaving.
Brexit talks are expected to last for two years, and if all goes according to plan, Britain should leave the EU in March 2019.
British Government spokesman said earlier today the UK’s Ambassador to the EU informed the EU Council President, Donald Tusk, of the date that Article 50 would be triggered.
In response to the news, Tusk tweeted: “Within 48 hours of the UK triggering Article 50, I will present the draft Brexit guidelines to the EU27 Member States.”
Britain invoking the article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is only the beginning of the road for the UK and the EU. Before Britain officially leaves the Union, all 27 of the remaining EU members will have to meet to discuss the withdrawal. The procedure also demands that the draft of the deal be put European Council, and would then need the approval of at least 20 member countries with 65 percent of the population.
The EU Parliament should then ratify the treaty. At the end of the two year period, negotiations can be extended further, providing that all 27 member countries agree. If no such agreement is reached, EU treaties cease to apply to the UK.
The UK will then officially leave the EU. However, the UK Parliament also must repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and replace it with new agreement.
In the year of Brexit negotiations, EU leaders will gather in Rome to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC). EU leaders will discuss the future of the Union, currently shaken by Brexit, migrant crisis and the rise of Euroskeptic forces across the continent.
Image: Photograph: Stephen Chung/Alamy