Sir Tim Barrow, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the EU, will present the Prime Minister’s letter of withdrawal to the European Council President Donald Tusk and will then make an address in London this afternoon.
There are renewed fears Brexit could lead to the break-up of the UK.
Juri Ratas said that “we accept this notice with regret in our hearts”, adding the priority “is to reduce the insecurity of the people and companies that could be influenced by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal”.
As the letter was being delivered, Theresa May was taking part in prime minister’s questions, ahead of delivering a statement to the House of Commons explaining Britain’s negotiating stance going into the Brexit negotiations.
Concern over the large number of European Union nationals who have moved to Britain in recent years was a major factor for many Britons who voted “leave” in last year’s referendum.
The bitterly-fought campaign revealed a deep divide across the country, with strong support for the “Remain” campaign in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while “Leave” triumphed in Wales and the English regions.
Britain’s exit from the EU will cost it close to $63 billion, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said earlier this month.
Britain insists that it must regain the right to control immigration and end free movement from the bloc. Scottish voters backed remaining in the European Union in last year’s vote, and Sturgeon insists Scotland must not be “taken down a path that we do not want to go down without a choice”.
Since the Brexit vote, some firms have announced major investments in Britain with Facebook (FB.O) saying it would hire more staff and Google announcing a new flagship building in London.
The Commission also chose the morning of the Article 50 declaration to formally block a key merger between the London Stock exchange and its German counterpart the Deutsche Borse.
Politicians and political commentators on both sides of the leave and remain sides will scrutinize every word of the letter to look for clues on how Britain plans to proceed with its departure from the EU.
Security, trade and Britain’s outstanding “Brexit bill” are others.
Mrs May signed the Article 50 letter on Tuesday afternoon, sitting below a picture of the first British Prime Minister Robert Walpole.
Britain joined what was the European Economic Community (EEC), forerunner to the EU on January 1, 1973. European Union officials say the divorce terms must be settled before negotiators can turn to the U.K.’s future relationship with the bloc – and a deal on that could take a decade.
“Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination”.
At the same time, Scotland’s Parliament voted to hold a new independence referendum in 2018 or 2019.
“There is nothing to win in this process and I am talking about both sides”.
Confirming that clarifying the rights of European Union nationals in a post-Brexit Britain would be an early priority, May said she wanted not just to protect the rights of workers, but to build on them.
On the other hand, Britain does have a claim on assets as part of the European Union that could be offset against its leaving bill, including a share in properties used by European Union institutions.