Prime Minister May Triggers 'Historic' Brexit

Indeed, the tweet generated different reactions from some leaders including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who while speaking in Malta in apparent response to the tweet, called it a "day of sadness".

Formal talks between London and Brussels are not expected to start for at least three weeks after that, and they may not get down to detailed discussions until after elections in Germany, which is due in September. By invoking Article 50, May has committed her country to being out of the European Union by March 2019.

Setting out the key principles that should shape the forthcoming talks, Mrs May said the UK's "unique" relationship with the Republic and the Northern Ireland peace process should be protected, with no return to a hard border.

Brexit could also mean the end of Britain as we know it. Scotland, which has always been far more liberal than England, overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union and now the Scottish parliament has voted to call for a second referendum. The council includes the political heads of the E.U.'s 28 member states.

The Prime Minister appeared keen to push back at the EU's insistence the United Kingdom must agree its terms of exit - including a £50billion Brexit fee - before discussing a future trade relationship with the bloc. The EU says it will not compromise on its core "four freedoms": free movement of goods, capital, services and workers. Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party respected the decision to leave the European Union and would hold the government to account "every step of the way". That includes determining whether Britain will be able to trade freely with European Union states. It is hard to see how the United Kingdom can impose immigration restrictions without incurring some barriers.

The 2-year process could cost as much as $65 billion, and the UK's worldwide trading relationships and free passage to the 27 other member nations were on the line.

Further complicating matters is the desire on both sides to avoid a "cliff's edge" situation in which Britain exits without some sort of transitional deal on future ties. For Britain, it would nearly certainly mean steep tariffs on trade with the bloc.

May has warned that she's prepared to walk away from negotiations if an exit deal can't be reached.

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is: Pledge your support today. The final deal will have to be approved by both the British and European parliaments - and neither is guaranteed.

"We vote no - that is possible, " Verhofstadt told the BBC recently. "Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore our national self-determination".

  • Salvatore Jensen