It’s all systems go for the United Kingdom as British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday, March 29. A spokesperson said that May will write a letter to the EU’s 27 other members to express her intent to have the negotiations begin swiftly. This move comes after a referendum held nine months ago where British citizens voted 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent in favor to leave the European Union.
The formal Brexit negotiations between Downing Street and the 27 other EU states will start after March 29. According to BBC News, if all goes according to the two-year plan of negotiations, then Brexit will happen in March of 2019.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thinks that leaving the EU is a bad idea. While others assume that Brexit will set a precedent for other European countries to break away from the EU, Juncker strongly disagrees that this will happen. The European Commission president warned that other member states will “realize it’s not worth leaving.”
“They will all see from the UK’s example that leaving the EU is a bad idea,” Juncker said. “On the contrary, the remaining member states will fall in love with each other again and renew their vows with the European Union.”
Furthermore, Juncker told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that the EU would not be “intimidated” by the threats from Britain that it is willing to walk away from Brexit talks if it doesn’t get their way.
“Half memberships and cherry-picking aren’t possible. In Europe, you eat what’s on the table or you don’t sit at the table.”
Last week, Juncker expressed in a statement to the European Parliament that he is hoping for a constructive process “conducted in an orderly manner.” But he said claims taking the form of threats that say no agreement would be good for the U.K. need to be addressed.
“I want to be clear that a ‘no deal scenario’ would be bad for everyone, but above all for the UK, because it would leave a number of issues unresolved. We will not be intimidated by threats, and I can assure you they simply will not work,” Juncker warned.
“Our goal is to have a smooth divorce and a good framework for the future. And it is good to know that Prime Minister Theresa May shares this view.”
Meanwhile, Sir Tim Barrow, the U.K.’s permanent representative to the European Union, gave notice to the EU on Monday morning that a formal letter triggering Article 50 should be expected on March 29.
“The government is clear in its aims: a deal that works for every nation and region of the UK and indeed for all of Europe—a new, positive partnership between the UK and our friends and allies in the European Union.”
According to the Guardian, Barrow had a conversation with European Council President Donald Tusk confirming that Theresa May will notify him [Trusk] in writing and that she will address the parliament as well. It should be noted that the advance warning is only a matter of courtesy and not a formal procedure.
Meanwhile, Downing Street denied reports suggesting that ministers were considering a snap election after triggering Article 50. Brexit secretary David Davis said that there is a Fixed Term Parliament Act, which the prime minister intends to honor.
“The Prime Minister is getting on with delivering the will of the British people. There is not going to be an early general election.”
However, May is still facing increasing pressure, especially from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The Scotland head of state is demanding a second referendum on Scottish independence before the terms of Brexit are signed. She has been vocal that Britain is heading for a “bad deal” on Brexit and apparently wants out. Without this, once the U.K. leaves the EU, Sturgeon thinks that Scotland risks being taken out of the EU against its will.
[Featured Image by Jack Taylor/Getty Images]