Monday 21st May, 2018
15 ℃ | 24 ℃Rome

LONDON, U.K. - In a momentous decision for both parties, last year, Britain voted to leave the European Union in a referendum held on June 23, 2016.

Where earlier the world was shocked at Britain’s decision to conduct the referendum (although it’s not the first time that this has happened,) jaws dropped as the results were completely unexpected.

Votes were tilted towards quitting the bloc, with 52 percent to Remain’s 48 percent.

The 16-hour voting process may have seemed like a piece of cake for some, but it set the ball rolling for some massive changes across the globe.

U.K. first held a referendum to exit the European Union in 1975, but Eurosceptics were overpowered by British people wanting to stay in the Common Market.

Since then, however, the movement grew and shaped up dramatically, ensuring that the second referendum was theirs for the taking.

The 60-year-old EU, releasing that it is in for a long process of negotiations, did not waste any time in showing Britain the door - advising Britain to leave immediately, mere hours after the results were announced.

The EU unequivocally told Britain to get a move on by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, representing formal notification of the decision to leave, and added that any delay would “unnecessarily prolong uncertainty.”

However, U.K. has, since then, had a tumultuous ride and now, 279 days after the referendum, U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May has finally revealed her plans.

Theresa May has reportedly informed the EU Council President Donald Tusk on Monday morning that she will invoke Article 50 on March 29 - signaling the formal start of the Brexit negotiation process with EU leaders.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was signed by all members of the European Union in December 2007. It sets out the rules for the process of a member state leaving the EU.

While Brexit Secretary David Davis, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will play a key role in negotiations with the EU - the Prime Minister will have the final say on a deal.

Meanwhile, from the EU side, European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator and Former French minister Michel Barnier will lead the talks. 

Barnier has previous said that the EU would be seeking a 60 billion euro (52 billion pounds) "exit bill" from Britain.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker too had previously warned, “Our British friends need to know - and they know it already - that it will not be cut-price or zero-cost.”

May’s move next week would launch the two-year countdown to Brexit during which, the EU and the U.K. will try to agree the terms of Brexit and what relations will look like once Britain leaves.

However, if no deal is reached by the end of the period, the time can be prolonged, if there is a unanimous vote of all European countries’ governments - or the U.K. will crash out of the EU and revert to World Trade Organisation rules.

During the next two years, the U.K. will remain bound by EU laws and regulations and it must also continue to honour its commitments as a member state.

The country will however, be excluded from affairs when the 27 other countries are discussing the withdrawal or internal EU business.

If, however, May meets her goal of completing negotiations within the two-year Article 50 period, then it will mean Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019. 

A Downing Street spokesman said U.K. Ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow had verbally informed the President's office of May's intention.

The spokesman added that Number 10 now wants negotiations to "start promptly.” And once the article is invoked, it will be up to the EU to come back, with an early response expected within 48 hours.

The Downing Street spokesman said, “Earlier on this morning the U.K.’s permanent representative in the EU informed the office of Donald Tusk, that it’s the U.K.’s intention to trigger Article 50 on March 29."

On Wednesday, March 29, the Prime Minister will deliver her letter triggering Article 50 to President Tusk and will also deliver a statement to the House of Commons to announce the move. 

May spokesman further added, “After we trigger the 27 will agree their guidelines for negotiations and the Commission will deliver their negotiating mandate. President Tusk has said he expected there to be an initial response within 48 hours. We want negotiations to start promptly but it’s obviously right that the 27 have an opportunity to agree their position."

May so far has said that she believes that "no deal is better than a bad deal.”

Further, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said, "Last June, the people of the U.K. made the historic decision to leave the EU. Next Wednesday, the Government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50. We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation. The Government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the U.K. and indeed for all of Europe – a new, positive partnership between the U.K. and our friends and allies in the European Union."

Amongst the main terms that would be discussed are access to the EU single market and trade deals for goods and services between Britain and the remaining member states.

In addition, free movement and the rights of EU nationals already in the U.K. and the same assurances for Britons living abroad will also be discussed.

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