ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2017

EU summit '4 to 6 weeks' after Brexit trigger: European source

21 March 2017, 01:22 | Kelvin Horton

Theresa May to visit Wales as she faces pressure to keep Union together

Politico: Britain's Brexit Plan B

In the wake of the UK's vote last June to leave the bloc, senior European Union officials were convinced that Britain would refuse to trigger the formal divorce process - because of the tactical drawbacks of working to a two-year deadline.

The start of negotiations will come nine months after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by a 52% - 48% majority in a referendum on June 23 previous year. Brexit secretary David Davis said that there is a Fixed Term Parliament Act, which the prime minister intends to honor.

While May says "no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain", quitting the bloc without a pact or more time to negotiate one would leave the country exposed to World Trade Organisation tariffs, putting duties of around 10 per cent on auto exports alone. "I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the United Kingdom". The country doesn't know what its future relationship with the bloc will look like - whether its businesses will freely be able to trade with the rest of Europe, its students can study overseas or its pensioners will be allowed to retire easily in other European Union states.

One of the main stumbling points in trade deals is agreeing on similar regulatory standards.

The EU has yet to set a date for a summit to respond to Britain's notice of withdrawal but it should be between four and six weeks after March 29, an EU source said on Monday.

The European Commission's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said they must be wrapped up by October 2018 to give the EU and national parliaments time to ratify the deal.

With May unwisely having opted for a "hard Brexit" and both France and Germany preoccupied with elections this year, the timetable will be even more challenging than it was already always going to be.

The letter May sends next week will plunge Britain into a period of intense uncertainty.

Mr Tusk tweeted that he plans to present draft Brexit guidelines to the remaining 27 member states within 48 hours of notification.

May's closest advisers had been weighing up whether to trigger Article 50 earlier in the month, aware that it would be seen as bad form in European capitals to overshadow this weekend's 60th anniversary celebrations of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.

The European Commission said it stood ready to help launch the negotiations.

However, Nicola Sturgeon's demand for a second independence referendum in Scotland last week - coupled with the delay in getting the Article 50 bill through the House of Lords - limited the government's choices.

Continued full membership of the customs union is unlikely as it would prevent Britain striking its own trade deals with non-EU countries, a key plank of May's strategy for a new "global Britain".

Meanwhile, Britain's Institute for Government has said as many as 15 new Parliamentary Bills may be needed due to Brexit.

The extra measures will place "a huge burden" on Parliament and government departments, the think tank says.

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