Brexit process will officially start next week

Brexit What We Know

Union flags fly in front of Britain's Houses of Parliament as pedestrians walk across a road in London

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger European Union withdrawal talks under Article 50 on 29 March, Downing Street has announced.

A spokesman for the PM said that the United Kingdom has informed European Council president Donald Tusk's office of May's plan to formally trigger Britain's exit from the EU. "We want negotiations to start promptly but it's obviously right that the 27 have an opportunity to agree their position".

The country doesn't know what its future relationship with the bloc will look like - whether businesses will freely be able to trade, students can study overseas or pensioners will be allowed to retire easily in other European Union states. They include putting issues like continuing working together on issues like security at the core of what we are doing. May spokesman went on: "After we trigger the 27 will agree their guidelines for negotiations and the Commission will deliver their negotiating mandate".

The EC is expected to provide an initial answer to Britain's Article 50 notification within 48 hours, but negotiations are not expected to start for several weeks or even months. By mid May, the European Union general affairs council will adopt more detailed negotiating director for the EC and authorise the opening of the negotiations, which will then start by the end of May or early June.

European leaders have also been clear that Britain cannot get a better deal outside the EU than it had inside, amid fears that Brexit could cause other nations to leave the bloc.

The official notification will be sent to European Council President Donald Tusk next Wednesday, starting the formal process of leaving the EU.

Mrs May will address MPs in a statement to the House of Commons following her regular weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions on March 29.

Notification of the historic step will come in the form of a letter from the Prime Minister to Mr Tusk, though Downing Street did not make clear whether this would be a physical letter handed to the European Council president by a United Kingdom representative or might be sent electronically.

The British government confirmed that it would trigger Article 50 on March 29th, 2017. Next Wednesday, the Government will deliver on that decision and formally start the process by triggering Article 50.

Britain's exit negotiations are expected to be exceptionally tricky, with the country aiming to leave Europe's common market and customs union but hoping to retain preferential access to both through a new trading agreement.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "The Government has failed to build a consensus about what form Brexit should take".

The extra measures will place "a huge burden" on Parliament and government departments, the think tank says.

EU leaders have said they want to conclude the talks within 18 months to allow the terms of the UK's exit to be ratified by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament, as well as approved by the necessary majority of EU states.

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