UK PM Theresa May. Pic/AFP
London: British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger on March 29 the two years of complex negotiations over the UK's exit from the European Union, it was announced yesterday, nine months after the country voted to leave the bloc.
The UK's ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, formally informed EU Council president Donald Tusk this morning to expect May's letter next Wednesday.
"We said it would be by the end of March and thought it would be helpful to say when it will happen. We want negotiations to start promptly. We expect it will be a two-year process and we are confident that is what we will achieve. So Britain will exit the EU on 29 March 2019," a Downing Street spokesperson said.
Ahead of triggering Brexit, May was scheduled to visit Wales on Monday as part of a plan to engage with all the nations of the United Kingdom. Her office said she would be visiting Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to hear people's views.
Last year's Brexit referendum exposed splits that could threaten the unity of the UK, with Scotland and Northern Ireland delivering pro-EU majorities but finding themselves outvoted by the English and Welsh, who were in favour of leaving the bloc.
EU says it is ready to negotiate Brexit
The European Commission is ready to begin Brexit negotiations on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, a spokesman said on Monday. "Everything is ready on this side," said Margaritis Schinas, the chief spokesman for the EU executive.
He noted that negotiations would begin once other EU states had met to confirm the Commission's negotiating mandate.
51.9% Votes in favour of Brexit during the EU referendum nine months ago