The UK Triggers Article 50: formal notice of intention to leave EU

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In accordance with the ruling made in R (on application of Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and the constitutional requirements of the United Kingdom, Her Majesty’s Government has given formal notice of their intention to leave the European Union by way of a six-page letter delivered to the European Council President, Donald Tusk.

Theresa May, Prime Minister for the United Kingdom, has faced an uphill battle in attempting to trigger Article 50 (2) of the Treaty of the European Union. Initially, she sought to use the government’s ancient and uncodified prerogative powers to trigger withdrawal, but was defeated following a court battle and a series of appeals ending in the Supreme Court. As of today, the government with the authority bestowed by the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 has been able to invoke Article 50 (2).

The letter, delivered to Donald Tusk, laid out seven principles that the UK and EU should consider in the upcoming negotiations, these include:

1. Engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a sincere spirit of cooperation;
2. Always put our citizens first;
3. Work towards securing a comprehensive agreement;
4. Work together to minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible;
5. Pay attention in particular to the UK’s unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland;
6. Begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as possible, but prioritise the biggest challenges; and
7. Continue to work together to advance and protect shared European values.

The European Council released an immediate response and stated the next step would be to adopt negotiation guidelines as defined by the European Council prior to the start of any exit or trade discussions. However, confirmation on several related matters has come to light in recent days, these include:

• The UK government will seek to adopt the entire body of EU law and then repeal elements they believe are unfavourable. Such a move could assist in the pursuit of a soft Brexit as a mutual recognition of standards or an agreement concerning regulatory equivalence could perhaps be reached.
• The UK government will aim to acquire an agreement concerning the UK’s future trade relationship prior to the two-year negotiation period prior to automatic departure is reached.
• The UK government has indicated that it is willing to curtail cooperation on security issues should they not acquire a favourable trade deal. A move that is likely to anger those on the continent.
• The UK will no longer be a part of the single market and some trade barriers are to be expected.

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