Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper faced a backlash Tuesday for comparing the legs on show when British PM Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon held talks. AFP PM to formally deliver divorce papers | Two years of talks loom29 Mar 2017 | 12:44 AM
LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will test the endurance of the European Union.[ + read story ]
LONDON, March 28
Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will test the endurance of the European Union.
Nine months after Britons voted to leave, May will notify EU Council President Donald Tusk in a letter that the UK really is quitting the club it joined in 1973.
The PM, an initial opponent of Brexit who won the top job in the political turmoil that followed the referendum vote, will then have two years to settle the terms of the divorce before it comes into effect in late March 2019.
“We stand on the threshold of a significant moment for Britain as we begin the negotiations that will lead us towards a new partnership with Europe,” May said on Monday. “We are going to take this opportunity to forge a more global Britain.”
On the eve of Brexit, May, 60, has one of the toughest jobs of any recent British PM: holding Britain together in the face of renewed Scottish independence demands, while conducting arduous talks with 27 other EU states on finance, trade, security and a host of other complex issues.
The outcome of the negotiations will shape the future of Britain's $2.6 trillion economy, the world's fifth biggest, and determine whether London can keep its place as one of the top two global financial centres. For the EU, already reeling from successive crises over debt and refugees, the loss of Britain is the biggest blow yet to 60 years of efforts to forge European unity in the wake of two devastating world wars.
Its leaders say they do not want to punish Britain. But with nationalist, anti-EU parties on the rise across the bloc, they cannot afford to give London generous terms that might encourage other member states to follow its example and break away.
EU officials expect May's notice of intention to leave the bloc under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty to be hand-delivered by British diplomats on Wednesday, when May will also speak to parliament.
Within 48 hours of reading the letter, Tusk will send the 27 other states draft negotiating guidelines. — Reuters