UK prime minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50, starting the process of leaving the EU, on 29 March 2017.
British government has officialy notified the European Council president Donald Tusk that Brexit procedure will start at the end of this month.
Brexit Secretary David Davis said on the occasion: “We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation. 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.”
European Commission reacts: “Yes, we have been informed in advance”
Asked on the British government announcement, the European Commission appeared informed and ready. “Yes we have been informed in advance, we are ready to begin negotiations. We are waiting for the letter, and yes everything is ready from this side of the road,” said the Berlaymont chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas during Monday’s midday briefing. The briefing started 30 minutes late, in order to allow the Commission’s Service porte-parole to be fully informed on the issue.
Schinas explained that the ball is first to the European Council’s side, where the guidelines are to be adopted. “The Commission will then immediately release a recommendation to open negotiations,” added Schinas.
On Michel Barnier’s role and comments on Brexit trigger process, Schinas suggested that Barnier will comment when he has to say something. “I imagine that when the notification arrives there will be a statement from the EU-27 member states,” he said, adding that Brexit chief negotiation would then maybe like to comment on the statement released by the heads of state and government.