Queen Elizabeth II gave royal assent to the Brexit bill Thursday, which means Prime Minister Theresa May and her government are in the clear to begin exit talks with the European Union.
Members of the British parliament passed The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill Monday after months of debates and a battle in court. The royal assent allows May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two-year process of leaving the EU.
May is expected to wait until the last week in March to avoid tension at an informal summit with other EU countries next week.
“By the end of the month we will invoke Article 50, allowing us to start our negotiations to build a positive new partnership with our friends and neighbors in the European Union, as well as taking a step out into the world as a truly Global Britain,” Brexit Secretary David Davis told BBC.
Once Article 50 is triggered, an eight-week process to set guidelines will take place after the EU issues a formal response. Actual negotiations are not expected until June at the earliest. May hopes to negotiate a deal that both satisfies eurosceptics in the U.K. and keeps the country on good terms with the 27 countries still in the EU.
“This will be a defining moment for our whole country as we begin to forge a new relationship with Europe and a new role for ourselves in the world,” May said after the Brexit bill passed Monday.
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