The U.K. will officially begin divorce proceedings with the European Union on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said, ending months of media speculation over the precise date.
The U.K.’s envoy to the EU, Tim Barrow, informed the office of European Council President Donald Tusk of the plan this morning, the spokesman, James Slack told reporters in London on Monday. The notification that Britain will invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, the official trigger for Brexit, will be done by letter, he said.
“After we trigger, the 27 will agree their guidelines for negotiations and the Commission’s negotiating mandate,” Slack said. “President Tusk has said he expects an initial response within 48 hours. We want negotiations to start promptly.”
May has said since October that she intends to trigger Brexit by the end of March, without being more precise. The notification will set in train two years of negotiations during which British officials hope to determine both the U.K.’s terms of departure from the bloc, and the nature of its future trading relationship with it.