British Prime Minister Theresa May today (29 March) triggered Article 50, thus officially kicking off the two-year long negotiation process of withdrawing from the European Union. She said that her country was facing “one of the most significant moments” in its recent history. Ms. May also said that her goal was a “deep and special partnership” after Brexit, adding that a “global Britain” could build new alliances outside the EU. However, a group of pro-Remain MPs commented that Ms. May would find it difficult to meet her goals and must be accountable if she fails.
Before she formally triggered Brexit using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Ms. May had spoken on the phone to EU Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Today, London officially started the process of leaving the EU, roughly 9 months after the British people supported the Leave campaign by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum. Unless both parties agree to prolong the deadline for talks, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.
Brussels and London will use the two-year long talks to agree on the foundations of the UK’s future relationship with the EU, although some experts think that this could take much longer. Ms. May admitted that it was one of the most significant moments facing the UK for many years and said on the sidelines of a Qatari investment forum in Birmingham that “we begin the negotiations to secure a new deep and special partnership with the European Union. As we do so I am determined we should also seize this historic opportunity to get out in to the world and to shape an even bigger role for a global Britain.