It's official - on the road to Brexit

Brexit: The UK's letter triggering Article 50 


 Dear President Tusk

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe - and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom's intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom's intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty's Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy - as your closest friend and neighbour - with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

It is in the best interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that we should use the forthcoming process to deliver these objectives in a fair and orderly manner, and with as little disruption as possible on each side. We want to make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values, leading in the world, and defending itself from security threats. We want the United Kingdom, through a new deep and special partnership with a strong European Union, to play its full part in achieving these goals. We therefore believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union.

The Government wants to approach our discussions with ambition, giving citizens and businesses in the United Kingdom and the European Union - and indeed from third countries around the world - as much certainty as possible, as early as possible.

I would like to propose some principles that may help to shape our coming discussions, but before I do so, I should update you on the process we will be undertaking at home, in the United Kingdom.

The process in the United Kingdom

As I have announced already, the Government will bring forward legislation that will repeal the Act of Parliament - the European Communities Act 1972 - that gives effect to EU law in our country. This legislation will, wherever practical and appropriate, in effect convert the body of existing European Union law (the "acquis") into UK law. This means there will be certainty for UK citizens and for anybody from the European Union who does business in the United Kingdom. The Government will consult on how we design and implement this legislation, and we will publish a White Paper tomorrow. We also intend to bring forward several other pieces of legislation that address specific issues relating to our departure from the European Union, also with a view to ensuring continuity and certainty, in particular for businesses. We will of course continue to fulfil our responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the European Union, and the legislation we propose will not come into effect until we leave.

From the start and throughout the discussions, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK as we do so. When it comes to the return of powers back to the United Kingdom, we will consult fully on which powers should reside in Westminster and which should be devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it is the expectation of the Government that the outcome of this process will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration.

Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union 

The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

If, however, we leave the European Union without an agreement the default position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side should seek. We must therefore work hard to avoid that outcome.

It is for these reasons that we want to be able to agree a deep and special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation, but it is also because we want to play our part in making sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats. And we want the United Kingdom to play its full part in realising that vision for our continent.

Proposed principles for our discussions

Looking ahead to the discussions which we will soon begin, I would like to suggest some principles that we might agree to help make sure that the process is as smooth and successful as possible.

i. We should engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a spirit of sincere cooperation. Since I became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I have listened carefully to you, to my fellow EU Heads of Government and the Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament. That is why the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single market: we understand and respect your position that the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible and there can be no "cherry picking". We also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part - just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.

ii. We should always put our citizens first. There is obvious complexity in the discussions we are about to undertake, but we should remember that at the heart of our talks are the interests of all our citizens. There are, for example, many citizens of the remaining member states living in the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union, and we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights.

iii. We should work towards securing a comprehensive agreement. We want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. We will need to discuss how we determine a fair settlement of the UK's rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the United Kingdom's continuing partnership with the EU. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

iv. We should work together to minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible. Investors, businesses and citizens in both the UK and across the remaining 27 member states - and those from third countries around the world - want to be able to plan. In order to avoid any cliff-edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership, people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption if we agree this principle early in the process.

v. In particular, we must pay attention to the UK's unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is the only EU member state with a land border with the United Kingdom. We want to avoid a return to a hard border between our two countries, to be able to maintain the Common Travel Area between us, and to make sure that the UK's withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland. We also have an important responsibility to make sure that nothing is done to jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland, and to continue to uphold the Belfast Agreement.

vi. We should begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as possible, but we should prioritise the biggest challenges. Agreeing a high-level approach to the issues arising from our withdrawal will of course be an early priority. But we also propose a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. This should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as financial services and network industries. This will require detailed technical talks, but as the UK is an existing EU member state, both sides have regulatory frameworks and standards that already match. We should therefore prioritise how we manage the evolution of our regulatory frameworks to maintain a fair and open trading environment, and how we resolve disputes. On the scope of the partnership between us - on both economic and security matters - my officials will put forward detailed proposals for deep, broad and dynamic cooperation.

vii. We should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values. Perhaps now more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of Europe. We want to play our part to ensure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats.

The task before us 

As I have said, the Government of the United Kingdom wants to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. At a time when the growth of global trade is slowing and there are signs that protectionist instincts are on the rise in many parts of the world, Europe has a responsibility to stand up for free trade in the interest of all our citizens. Likewise, Europe's security is more fragile today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Weakening our cooperation for the prosperity and protection of our citizens would be a costly mistake. The United Kingdom's objectives for our future partnership remain those set out in my Lancaster House speech of 17 January and the subsequent White Paper published on 2 February.

We recognise that it will be a challenge to reach such a comprehensive agreement within the two-year period set out for withdrawal discussions in the Treaty. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. We start from a unique position in these discussions - close regulatory alignment, trust in one another's institutions, and a spirit of cooperation stretching back decades. It is for these reasons, and because the future partnership between the UK and the EU is of such importance to both sides, that I am sure it can be agreed in the time period set out by the Treaty.

The task before us is momentous but it should not be beyond us. After all, the institutions and the leaders of the European Union have succeeded in bringing together a continent blighted by war into a union of peaceful nations, and supported the transition of dictatorships to democracy. Together, I know we are capable of reaching an agreement about the UK's rights and obligations as a departing member state, while establishing a deep and special partnership that contributes towards the prosperity, security and global power of our continent.

Yours sincerely

Theresa May

Comments

José said…



Hi Graham:



The letter that triggers article 50 of the Treaty on European Union begins with a suave sound: no rejection of the values we share as fellow European, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper, special partnership, closest friend, we want to make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values and so on. The referendum was on 23 June last year and Her Majesty’s Government sent this letter on 29.3.17. Is this English speed? No. The reason of this delay, in my opinion, is because they don’t want to leave the European Union. If they had seen clear the Brexit, they would be out of European Union already. On the contrary, they have realized that the Brexit is a big mistake. (Sorry Graham).



Her Majesty’s Government brings forward legislation to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and they will publish a White Paper. They are going to fulfil of course their responsibilities as a member state while they remain a member of the European Union. They said that when the United Kingdom left EU, they will consult fully on which powers should be devolved to Scotland. ¡Surprise Mr. Scot! In this moment, Scotland will ask for Scotexit.



The reason why Her Majesty’s Government wants a deep agreement with the rest of countries is because the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. I can’t believe it. I don’t know how dare Her Majesty’s Government to say this excuse by write and seeing it everyone. It’d rather seek a deep agreement to improve cooperation and prosperity to both partnerships than the fight against crime and terrorism. Will Her Majesty’s Government believe that Brexit it good to fight against crime in European Union and United Kingdom?



Principles for discussion seem better that which is writing before. It’s more serious and sincere. They recognize that they are going to lose influence over the European economy. They say that the most important thing are citizens and want to conserve their rights (I agree). They want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation, I think is correct but I don’t think that the EU wants to continue the same partnership as now because you can’t be inside and outside at the same time. I don’t think that the EU wants implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements because then all country would do the same. Her Majesty’s Government talks about Ireland but they don’t say anything about Scotland. They also propose a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU after close the door on nose of EU. The last paragraph is beautiful, they say that “we should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values” and I would add: “by this reason I go away”. LOL.



Finally, they say that the task is theirs but it seems that they reprimand the EU if there is no agreement. I think it’s no good letter, I hoped more from Her Majesty’s Government.



See you.



P. S. What does acquis mean please?
Graham said…
Hi José,

Where do I begin?

You already know I disagree with most of what you say with regard to Brexit.

I am pleased that the UK government is respecting the will of its people, unlike other countries (Denmark, France, Holland and Ireland) who held referendums on EU treaties.

And yes, people knew what they were voting for when they voted to leave.

And no, we are not having regrets. Infact, more people would vote to leave now. The reaction of our so-called European friends, since the referendum, has convinced people that Leave was the correct decision.

It didn't have to be like this.

If the EU refuses to listen to the concerns of its citizens, then the UK won't be the only country to jump ship.

I could say so much more on the subject but I'm tired, and I doubt I would be able to enlighten a Europhile such as yourself LOL
Graham said…
The letter that triggers article 50 of the Treaty on European Union begins with a suave sound: no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper, special partnership, closest friend, we want to make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values and so on. The referendum was on 23 June last year and Her Majesty’s Government sent this letter on 29.3.17. Is this English speed? No. The reason for this delay, in my opinion, is because they don’t want to leave the European Union. If they really believed in Brexit, they would be out of the European Union already. On the contrary, they have realized that the Brexit is a big mistake. Rubbish!

Her Majesty’s Government will bring forward legislation to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and they will publish a White Paper. They are going to fulfil, of course, their responsibilities as a member state while they remain a member of the European Union. They say that when the United Kingdom leaves the EU, they will consult fully on which powers should be devolved to Scotland. ¡Surprise Mr. Scot! In this moment, Scotland will ask for Scotexit. Nonsense!

The reason why Her Majesty’s Government wants a definitive agreement with the other countries is because the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. I can’t believe it. I don’t know how Her Majesty’s Government dare give this excuse by letter and allow everyone to see it. It’d rather seek agreement to improve cooperation and prosperity for both partnerships than the fight against crime and terrorism. Will Her Majesty’s Government believe that Brexit is good to fight against crime in European Union and United Kingdom?

The principles for discussion seem better than what was written before. It’s more serious and sincere. They recognize that they are going to lose influence over the European economy. They say that the most important thing is the citizens and they want to conserve their rights (I agree). They want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation, I think this is correct but I don’t think that the EU wants to continue the same partnership as now because you can’t be inside and outside at the same time. I don’t think that the EU wants implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements because then every country would do the same. Her Majesty’s Government talks about Ireland but they don’t say anything about Scotland. They also propose a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU after slamming the door in the face of the EU. The last paragraph is beautiful, they say that “we should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values” and I would add: “for this reason I am leaving”. LOL.

Finally, they say that the task is theirs but it seems that they reprimand the EU if there is no agreement. I think it’s not a good letter, I had hoped for more from Her Majesty’s Government.


Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! :-D