Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

100 Days after Brussel’s Request, London Announces Date for Brexit Talks Kickoff | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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British Prime Minister Theresa May. Reuters

Brussels, London- British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Oct. 2 that she would officially start the process for Britain’s exit from the European Union no later than March 2017, setting in motion the two-year process of leaving the European Union.

May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday she wanted to give “greater degree of clarity about the sort of timetable we are following” over the process for leaving the EU, as well as committing to enshrining workers’ rights in British law.

“We will seek the best deal possible as we negotiate a new agreement with the European Union. I want that deal to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy,” May told the Conservative Party’s members during the annual meeting in Birmingham.

European sources in Brussels told Asharq Al-Awsat they are convinced that this move will be welcomed by EU institutions and capitals as it is on the right track regardless of the fact that London late in announcing it.

Moreover, many observers in Brussels are convinced that talks will take so long and will be tough.

In this matter, Head of Schuman Enterprise for the future of the European project David Hilborn told Asharq Al-Awsat: “No doubt that Brexit was a shock for the European system.”

“I believe that Britain’s exit will take much more time than expected as it will include complicated political and legal files,” he added.

This comes at a time when EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Brexit is not the end of European Union.”

Juncker highlighted the British referendum as a warning that the EU is facing a battle for survival against nationalism in Europe.

“The EU does not have sufficient bonds. There are divisions out there and often fragmentation created. It leaves room for populism,” he said.