On Wednesday, the British Permanent Representative to the European Union, Sir Tim Barrow, delivered a formal, six page letter of notification to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. With that letter, the United Kingdom triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Tusk then tweeted, “After nine months the UK has delivered.”
Prime Minister Theresa May then went before the House of Commons, the lower body of Parliament, to announce the official start of the Brexit process, as it is commonly known. “This is an historic moment for which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union,” May said.
“The Article 50 process is now under way, and in accordance with the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.”
Tusk did not hold back in his opinion, saying, “There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in Brussels nor in London. After all, most Europeans, – including almost half the British voters, wished that we would stay together, not drift apart. As for me, I will not pretend that I am happy today.”
However, Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, who had been a vocal proponent of the leave campaign, said, “It’s a great day,” as he left a Cabinet meeting.
With Article 50 triggered, the attention now turns to negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union over a range of issues like immigration, trade, and health care. The UK government is looking to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union.