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Britain Files for Divorce from the European Union

Britain Files for Divorce from the European Union

Britain triggered Article 50 of the EU's lisbon Treaty, starting the two-year countdown to leaving, in a letter to EU President Donald Tusk in brussels.

Britain and the bloc have very different ideas about how the next two years will unfold.

Jake Trask, currency analyst at OFX, said traders will be closely watching the EU's response for any signs as to how the exit talks might progress.

Tusk tweeted that "after nine months the United Kingdom has delivered, " followed by a photo of Barrow handing him the letter in front of British and European Union flags in Brussels.

This official start to the Brexit process comes nine months after the country voted in a hotly contested referendum that exposed deep divisions across the country.

He said Britain had decided that it would leave the bloc - but "the issue of how we will leave, and the democratic checks and balances along the process of the negotiations, remains unresolved".

May had earlier said that "no deal is better than a bad deal" but she appeared to tone down her approach in the letter.

"The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union", she said.

But, she added: "The European Union is a historically unique success story".

"This is the case especially for the many Germans and European citizens in Britain".

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Former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who campaigned for years to take Brexit from fringe cause to reality, said Britain had passed "the point of no return".

In short, the United Kingdom stays fully in the European Union for the next two years so there will be no immediate economic impact.

"The speech gave little away that we didn't already know and was upbeat about the UK's prospects going forward".

The prime minister, an initial opponent of Brexit who won the top job in the political turmoil that followed the referendum vote, now has two years to negotiate the terms of the divorce before it comes into effect in late March 2019.

Tusk said he will respond by Friday with draft negotiating guidelines for the remaining 27 member states to consider.

Merkel also says the remaining European Union member nations will negotiate with Britain "in a fair and constructive manner". The divisive decision to leave the European Union has given new impetus to the drive for Scottish independence, and undermined the foundations of Northern Ireland's peace settlement.

"Britain is going to change as a result of leaving the EU".

The pound's dramatic fall to levels against the dollar not seen since the mid-1980s has made companies and citizens in both Britain and Europe fearful about the direction of the British currency.

Britain insists that it must regain the right to control immigration and end free movement from the bloc.