Bri­tain to start EU di­vorce by March

The Myanmar Times - - World -

BRI­TISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May an­nounced that her govern­ment will trig­ger Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions by the end of March next year, putting the coun­try on course to leave the Euro­pean Union by early 2019.

The move will plunge Europe’s sec­ond-largest econ­omy into two years of painful horse­trad­ing with its EU part­ners, who have voiced deep frus­tra­tion at the de­lay in set­ting a date to start di­vorce pro­ceed­ings.

It was Ms May’s firmest com­mit­ment to a clear break with the EU since she be­came Con­ser­va­tive Party leader and premier in the po­lit­i­cal up­heaval that fol­lowed June’s shock ref­er­en­dum vote to quit.

“Bri­tain is go­ing to leave the Euro­pean Union,” Ms May told the open­ing day of the Con­ser­va­tive Party con­fer­ence in the cen­tral English city of Birm­ing­ham on Oc­to­ber 2.

“There will be no de­lays in in­vok­ing Ar­ti­cle 50. We will in­voke it when we are ready. And we will be ready soon,” she said, re­fer­ring to the ar­ti­cle in the EU’s Lis­bon treaty set­ting out a two-year process to leave.

“We will in­voke Ar­ti­cle 50 no later than the end of March next year.”

Ms May said she would seek the best deal from the 27 other EU mem­bers but did not give de­tails.

Euro­pean pow­ers keen to dampen ris­ing eu­roscep­ti­cism in their own back­yards have taken a hard line, warn­ing that in­for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions can­not start be­fore the two-year no­ti­fi­ca­tion process is trig­gered.

Ms May’s an­nounce­ment means the process will start be­fore next year’s cru­cial elec­tions in Ger­many and France, with an un­cer­tain im­pact on the polls in the EU’s most pow­er­ful na­tions. –

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