UK formally triggers Article 50

29 March 2017


The Prime Minister has signed the letter that will formally begin the UK's departure from the European Union (EU).


The result of the 23 June 2016 referendum on membership of the EU is now becoming a reality with March 2019 sited as when the UK will formally withdraw from the EU. The key events and possible timings over the next two years include:

  • 29 March, 2017 - UK triggers Article 50 (of the Treaty of Lisbon)

  • 29 April - EU summit of the 27 leaders (without the UK) to agree to give the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with the UK

  • May 2017 - European Commission to publish negotiating guidelines based on the mandate the EU leaders give it. The EU might say something about possible parallel negotiation on a future EU-UK trade deal

  • May/June 2017 - Negotiations begin

  • 23 April and 7 May 2017 - French presidential elections

  • 24 September 2017 - German parliamentary elections

  • Autumn 2017 - The UK government is expected to introduce legislation to leave the EU and put all existing EU laws into British law - the Great Repeal Bill

  • October 2018 - Aim to complete negotiations

  • Between October 2018 and March 2019 - The Houses of Parliament, European Council and European Parliament vote on any deal

  • March 2019 - UK formally withdraws from the European Union (The Article 50 negotiations could be extended, but this is subject to the approval of the other 27 EU member states.


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