Brexit conditions first, talks about EU-UK relations later: PM Muscat

20 March, 2017, 22:58 | Author: Valerie Burke

Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, has been initiating discussions with EU countries regarding building up military links to reassure them that Britain is committed to European security and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Notification of the historic step will come in the form of a letter from the Prime Minister to Mr Tusk, though Downing Street did not make clear whether this would be a physical letter handed to the European Council president by a United Kingdom representative or might be sent electronically.

Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's chief permanent representative to the EU, has informed European Council President Donald Tusk's office of the move.

The formal Brexit negotiations between Downing Street and the 27 other European Union states will start after March 29.

The report comes as Prime Minister Theresa May travels to Swansea on Monday with Brexit Secretary David Davis, where she will talk about the "precious union" of the UK.

After months of waiting, it feels like we are in the slightly odd period just before the business end of Brexit gets underway.

Britain said on Monday (Mar 20) it will launch the process of leaving the European Union on Mar 29, setting a historic and uncharted course to become the first country to withdraw from the bloc by March 2019.

May came to power soon after last June's Brexit referendum, and she has repeatedly said in the months since that she will deliver on voters' narrow decision to make Britain the first country to leave the European Union. We don't know if Britain could change its mind, withdraw its Article 50 notification and stay after all.

A response from the group is expected in around 48 hours after the UK's notification, according to European Commission negotiator Michel Barnier.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the finance ministers of the 19-country euro currency area, said he wanted "realism" from May's government.

EU leaders have said they want to conclude the talks within 18 months to allow the terms of the UK's exit to be ratified by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament, as well as approved by the necessary majority of EU states.

Both sides would like the early resolution of the status of more than three million Europeans living in Britain, and more than one million Britons living elsewhere in the EU. "We've been waiting for the negotiations to get started since Brexit was voted" - a referendum to the United Kingdom vote last June.

The Scotland head of state is demanding a second referendum on Scottish independence before the terms of Brexit are signed.

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