If London keeps the pledge to formally launch the process of exiting the European Union by the end of March, Britain will have a duration of 18 months to strike the deal to exit the bloc after the Brexit negotiations ensue. This is according to a warning issued by the EU.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier set a target of agreeing a Brexit deal with Britain by October 2018 as she spoke in a news conference on Tuesday in Brussels.
The EU chief Brexit negotiator cited Article 50 of the EU treaty to re-emphasize that the two-year deadline for final withdrawal implied that the actual negotiations would take a duration of less than 18 months since it would take several months for the deal to be ratified by the UK, the EU parliament, and other 27 EU states.
There’s a two-year timeline that is set for any EU member state to complete negotiations once the a member state triggers Article 50. However, if negotiations are futile, the member state exits the EU with nothing at all.
Michel also highlighted the time frame issue saying that it was very critical and that if the UK notifies the European Council by the end of March 2017 it will be ideal to conclude that negotiations could start a few weeks later and that would increase the probability of reaching agreement by October 2018 based on the Article 50.
The formal notification of Britain’s departure from the EU will be given by British Prime Minister Theresa May. However, the Prime minister’s spokesman said that there was no intent in negotiating the Brexit deal for longer since that can only be done with mutual consensus.
The Spokesman also clarified that Britain had no intention of extending the process since the time frame is two-years.
Barnier also said that staying in the EU would be a better deal for the UK than Brexit and that London could not be selective about critical issues such as the EU single market.
Barnier also emphasized on the importance of staying calm ahead of the negotiations as he clarified that the work will be complex in terms of legal matters, sensitive in terms of politics and that the consequences to the economy will be crucial.
There has been so much rebellion against May all coming from her own lawmakers when the matter is brought in parliament for the debate on whether the government should unveil the Brexit plan before the negotiations with EU. There has been calls from the opposition Labour Party calling on the government to publish its exit plan before invoking Article 50.