Divorce proceedings between the UK and EU begin

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Formal proceedings for the break-up known as “Brexit” began on Wednesday when British Prime Minister Theresa May penned a letter, known as “Article 50,” that would cut all legal ties the United Kingdom had with the European Union (EU).

According to a Fox News report, “Britain’s top envoy to the EU, Tim Barrow, hand-delivered a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk formally triggering a two-year countdown to the final split.”

May announced to lawmakers in the House of Commons that they were witnessing a “historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”

Using divorce-style lingo, May gently reminded her constituents, “We are leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe.”

European Council President Donald Tusk began tweeting the news, announcing, “After nine months UK has delivered Brexit.”

He also posted a photo of Barrow handing him the letter in front of British and EU flags in Brussels.

Tusk later expressed sadness over the split, noting that “the priority now is to minimize costs for EU citizens and member states.”

After having voted 52 to 48 percent to leave the EU in a referendum vote which took place nine months ago, Britons were thrilled and ready to celebrate the split.

“I can still, to be honest with you, scarcely believe today has come,” said former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.

Critics of the decision, such as Joe Carberry, co-director of the pro-EU pressure group, Open Britain, are concerned with the process going smoothly. Carberry told reporters that “the democratic checks and balances along the process of the negotiations remains unresolved.”

Saying that both sides should “engage with one another constructively and respectfully in a spirit of sincere cooperation,” May emphasized that Britons want to remain “committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.”

According to the report, there are 3 million EU citizens living in Britain, and 1 million Britons living elsewhere in the EU.

It is reported that Germany’s Foreign Ministry said Britain would remain a “close partner and friend” of the EU, but “being a close friend is not the same as being part of the family.”

Article 50 is the result of a clause in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which permits a member state to leave. Now, the parties have until March 2019 to agree on a “divorce settlement,” which could forge a new and, hopefully, better relationship between the UK and the EU. May has said that the process will happen within the next two years, but EU officials disagree on that timeline.

According to Brexit Secretary David Davis, this will be “the most complicated negotiation in modern times, maybe the most complicated negotiation of all time.”

H/T: Fox News

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