Britain to pull Brexit trigger on March 29

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May

Triggering Article 50 initiates a two-year process of exit talks, although this time period can be extended if all parties agree to it.

The pound weakened against the dollar today after the government confirmed Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on 29 March, kicking off the two-year formal process of Brexit.

The prime minister is expected to visit Scotland before triggering Article 50, as part of a tour of Britain that began on Monday in Wales and will also take in Northern Ireland.

Several other business organisations such as ICAEW and the Confederation of British Industry said they would be commenting on the Article 50 triggering next week, when the process to leave the European Union official starts.

"The taoiseach has previously expressed impatience over the lack of clarity from Britain on Brexit", said Mr Adams. Although its content will depend on Mrs May's notification letter, some recent drafts run to around six pages, according to diplomats.

However, most observers feel a trade deal will take much longer.

The announcement came shortly after Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned that Britain may have to abandon its hopes of a trade deal if it rejects the terms offered by the European Union - which are widely expected to include a "divorce bill" of as much as £50 billion. British negotiators are sure to argue about the size of the bill. "That difference has to be overcome".

While the United Kingdom economy and financial markets have survived the period since the Brexit vote better than expected, the actual start of negotiations and the highlighting in the months ahead of the many hard issues to be sorted out are likely to challenge economic and market sentiment. "What people are anxious about is that the talks could drag on and on and on", said Johan Van Overtveldt, Belgium's finance minister.

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May, 60, hopes to negotiate terms that keep trade, financial and political relations with European Union member states as close as possible.

"The attitude that the Scottish National Party (SNP) takes to the passage of Brexit-related legislation in Westminster could affect the smoothness with which that legislation passes through Parliament if they join forces with the Labour Party and Conservative rebels", the report says.

Such tactics may open up the first cracks in EU-27 unity.

An early flashpoint will be the bill Barnier wants to present Britain with.

"We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation", Brexit secretary David Davis said.

Mats Persson, a former Downing Street adviser now advising on trade for EY, noted an emerging "mismatch in perceptions" that could kill the process. It wants to discuss the exit and the new free-trade deal together, to save time, give businesses certainty and to preserve bargaining power. "In reality, there are players on both sides who are genuinely contemplating this option".

It represents the commencement of the formal process of withdrawing from the European Union and can last a maximum of two years. "I would envisage a transitional period to get Europe and the United Kingdom across the line". Among the issues of interest here will be any reference to the negotiations on how much Britain will have to pay to exit the EU.

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