|On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May signed the letter triggering Article 50.|
The official Article 50 exit process will begin on Wednesday at just after 1.30pm (BST) in Brussels when Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, presents Prime Minister May’s letter of withdrawal to Donald Tusk, the European Council president.
But the letter will not immediately separate Britain from the EU. It is not an FU letter with Britain going on its merry way. The letter will launch two years of "negotiations."
Indeed, Downing Street said on Monday that the Prime Minister would not use the Article 50 notification to announce the immediate cessation of full citizens’ rights for new EU arrivals in Britain. The European Parliament insists full rights must apply until Brexit is complete.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has adopted a tough position on issues such as the UK’s exit bill (The EU wants 60 billion euros from the Brits as an exit fee)and the sequencing of negotiations,
“We have no interest in punishing the UK, but we also have no interest in putting European integration in danger over the UK,” Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister and Merkel’s close ally, said in a recent FT interview.
“That’s why our priority must be, with a heavy heart, to keep the rest of Europe — without the UK — as close together as possible.”