Royal assent for article 50 bill gives PM power to start Brexit talks

venerdì, 17. marzo 2017 | Trading

The Queen has granted royal assent to the article 50 bill, giving Theresa May the legal power to start Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

Speaker John Bercow announced in the House of Commons on Thursday that the European Union (notification of withdrawal) bill, passed by MPs and peers on Monday night, had been signed into law by the monarch, to cheers from Conservative backbenchers.

The prime minister had been expected to swiftly invoke article 50, the formal two-year process for exiting the EU, after the bill’s royal assent, with reports previously suggesting she would do so this week.

However, No 10 has since implied it will be later in the month, though still meeting May’s self-imposed deadline of the end of March.

David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the EU, said: “The Queen has today given royal assent to the article 50 bill, giving the government the formal power to trigger article 50 and deliver on the will of the British people.

“By the end of the month we will invoke article 50, allowing us to start our negotiations to build a positive new partnership with our friends and neighbours in the European Union, as well as taking a step out into the world as a truly global Britain.”

Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU, as well as any financial liability settlement, are set to be the most crucial aspects of the negotiations. European diplomats have said talks are unlikely to start before June, eating into the two-year negotiation window.

A later March date for triggering article 50 would mean EU leaders will not have adequate time to draft their first formal response to the notification before the scheduled European council summit on 6 April.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who announced plans to hold a referendum on Scottish independence as early as autumn 2018, is widely assumed to have scuppered any plans to trigger article 50 this week, though that was denied by Downing Street.

A meeting of the council will now not be held until the end of May, sources told the Guardian on Thursday. “Unless [May] triggers on Monday next week, then 6 April cannot be the start of it – absolutely not,” the source said. “Instead we are looking at the end of May for the meeting of the European council. Negotiations then start in June.”

European states have said they will require at least six months at the end of the process to ensure it can be ratified by the council and approved by the European parliament, giving a realistic timetable for negotiations of about 14 to 18 months, with the process also likely to be stalled by the French and German elections.

The text of article 50 stipulates that – unless member states agree to an extension – the UK will cease to be a member of the EU at the end of the two-year timetable, with or without a deal. May has repeatedly said the UK is prepared to walk away from the bloc and trade on World Trade Organisation tariffs, saying “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

Any extension of the timeframe is believed to be unlikely because of the European parliament elections in 2019 and the UK general election in 2020, but both sides could in theory agree to a transitional trade and cooperation arrangement, or an implementation phase while new systems are devised for complex and longstanding arrangements.


Source: The Guardian