UK to formally trigger Brexit on March 29March 20, 2017, 7:48 pm
Britain said Monday it will trigger its exit from the European Union on March 29, nine months after the country voted to leave the European Union.
Triggering Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, the formal procedure for leaving the bloc, will open a two-year timetable for difficult negotiations, meaning Britain could be out of the EU by 2019.
"The UK's permanent representative to the EU informed the office of (European Union President) Donald Tusk that it's the UK's intention to trigger Article 50 on March 29," Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman told reporters.
The spokesman said May would notify Tusk in writing and then give a speech to the British parliament.
"We want negotiations to start promptly," he said.
Britain voted in a June referendum by a 52 percent majority to leave the EU -- the first member state ever to do so.
Monday's announcement comes just days before the European Union celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which created the bloc.
The European Commission, whose chief negotiator Michel Barnier will spearhead the talks with London on behalf of the other 27 member states, said it was ready for the Brexit process.
"Everything is ready on this side," Margaritis Schinas, the spokesman for European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, told a briefing.
"We are ready to begin negotiations," he said. - AFP
Last Updated Mar 25 2017 | 04:49 pm