May announces Article 50 date
Monday 20 March 2017
PM Theresa May has announced that she will officially trigger Article 50 to begin the UK’s exit from the EU on Wednesday 29th March.
A spokesperson for 10 Downing Street said the PM will write to the governments of the EU’s 27 other member states on 29th March, and added that the UK’s Ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow informed EU President Donald Tusk on Monday (19th March) of the official trigger date.
EU laws state that, once a state has officially notified the union that it will be withdrawing, it will have two years to negotiate the terms of its departure, unless an extension is agreed to by all remaining states’ governments. However, the UK will be the first state to leave the EU in practice, and commentators who will find themselves on both sides of the negotiating table have suggested that the process will take longer than two years to be completed satisfactorily.
Nevertheless, EU leaders have said they want negotiations to conclude ahead of the two year time limit, to allow time for the UK Parliament and EU Parliament to vote on the terms.