British Prime Minister Theresa May has gathered senior UK ministers to her offices in Downing Street, London, to sign a letter initiating the UK’s formal exit process from the European Union.
British Chancellor Philip Hammond has stated the letter sets the “right tone” for the negotiations to come and sends the “right signals” to European leaders.
The letter is to be presented by British ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow to European Council president Donald Tusk some time after 12:30pm today (29 March). Theresa May will also confirm to the British Parliament that Brexit is being triggered at that time.
As per Article 50, the UK will then have two years to negotiate trade and terms with the EU before it is ejected from the union. The European Commission meanwhile is expected to issue “draft negotiation guidelines” within the next 48 hours.
These guidelines will be sent to the remaining EU members, whose leaders will meet on 29 April to agree a mandate and approach to the negotiations. Ireland’s emphasis in this meeting is expected to be on border issues, as well as the ability for Irish people to live and work in the UK, according to Independent.ie.
Patricia Callan, director of the Small Firms Association, spoke recently of other areas to be concerned about as a result of Brexit: “Small businesses, especially exporters, are extremely vulnerable to the downsides of Brexit and urgently need the Government to step in to support them.”
The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, the Irish Farmer’s Association, Food Drink Industry Ireland, and Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, have all also voiced serious concerns about the impact Brexit will have on their respective industries.
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