May begins United Kingdom tour to gain Brexit support
Mar 21 2017
Article 50, the formal notification of Britain's intention to leave the European Union, will be triggered on March 29, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed on Monday morning. There was no further detail about exactly what the letter would say at this point.
"Everything is ready on this side", commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.
Mrs May is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday shortly after invoking Article 50, setting out her aims.
The Prime Minister is attempting to reach out in order to address criticisms that she is not paying proper attention to different administrations.
Britain is one of the oldest and largest members of the 28-nation bloc, and its departure has raised fears for the EU's future as eurosceptic movements gain support across the continent.
"We wish the talks to begin promptly, but we fully respect that the 27 (other European Union nations) will want to agree their position in advance", the spokesman said.
The UK expects to receive a response to Barrow's notification from the EU Council within 48 hours.
Triggering Article 50 will mark the beginning of two years of negotiations, with a spokesperson for the Prime Minister stating that Theresa May is confident talks will stick to a two-year timeline.
Stephen Gethins, the SNP's Europe spokesman, said: "Today's announcement that the Prime Minister will push ahead and unilaterally trigger Article 50 shatters beyond fix any notion or position that the Prime Minister is seeking a UK-wide agreement".
However, new research from Hitachi Capital British Business Barometer shows that small to medium-sized businesses in the United Kingdom manufacturing sector are increasingly optimistic about their fortunes outside the EU.
"I have set out my objectives", she said.
EU leaders have said they intend to conclude Brexit talks within 18 months to allow the terms of the UK's exit to be ratified by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament, as well as approved by the necessary majority of EU states.
The prime minister also says she wants a "phased period of implementation" of a new relationship with the European Union to give businesses time to plan.
While the United Kingdom economy and financial markets have survived the period since the Brexit vote better than expected, the actual start of negotiations and the highlighting in the months ahead of the many hard issues to be sorted out are likely to challenge economic and market sentiment. Leaving the Single Market was not on the ballot paper in the referendum, it is a political choice made by Theresa May.
Britain's path will be set just days after the European Union celebrates the 60th anniversary of its founding Treaty of Rome on Mar 25.
Negotiations will begin to outline a UK Brexit deal, which could include trade deals - although this might be handled separately. Mrs May is not attending the event.