Leroy N. Soetoro
2017-03-29 22:01:00 UTC
Below is the text of the letter that Prime Minister Theresa May sent on
Wednesday to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, formally
beginning the legal process for Britains withdrawal from the European
Union. The letter was released by her office.
Dear President Tusk,
On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the
European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of
the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm
to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the
contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and
prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our
national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are
not leaving Europe and we want to remain committed partners and allies
to our friends across the continent.
Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of
the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of
its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The
Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent
from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.
Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision
of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council
in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the
United Kingdoms intention to withdraw from the European Union. In
addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article
106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I
hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdoms intention to
withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this
letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a
reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.
This letter sets out the approach of Her Majestys Government to the
discussions we will have about the United Kingdoms departure from the
European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy
as your closest friend and neighbour with the European Union once we
leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of
the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.
It is in the best interests of both the United Kingdom and the European
Union that we should use the forthcoming process to deliver these
objectives in a fair and orderly manner, and with as little disruption as
possible on each side. We want to make sure that Europe remains strong and
prosperous and is capable of projecting its values, leading in the world,
and defending itself from security threats. We want the United Kingdom,
through a new deep and special partnership with a strong European Union,
to play its full part in achieving these goals. We therefore believe it is
necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of
our withdrawal from the European Union.
The Government wants to approach our discussions with ambition, giving
citizens and businesses in the United Kingdom and the European Union and
indeed from third countries around the world as much certainty as
possible, as early as possible.
I would like to propose some principles that may help to shape our coming
discussions, but before I do so, I should update you on the process we
will be undertaking at home, in the United Kingdom.
The process in the United Kingdom
As I have announced already, the Government will bring forward legislation
that will repeal the Act of Parliament the European Communities Act 1972
that gives effect to EU law in our country. This legislation will,
wherever practical and appropriate, in effect convert the body of existing
European Union law (the acquis) into UK law. This means there will be
certainty for UK citizens and for anybody from the European Union who does
business in the United Kingdom. The Government will consult on how we
design and implement this legislation, and we will publish a White Paper
tomorrow. We also intend to bring forward several other pieces of
legislation that address specific issues relating to our departure from
the European Union, also with a view to ensuring continuity and certainty,
in particular for businesses. We will of course continue to fulfil our
responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the
European Union, and the legislation we propose will not come into effect
until we leave.
From the start and throughout the discussions, we will negotiate as one
United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every
nation and region of the UK as we do so. When it comes to the return of
powers back to the United Kingdom, we will consult fully on which powers
should reside in Westminster and which should be devolved to Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland. But it is the expectation of the Government
that the outcome of this process will be a significant increase in the
decision-making power of each devolved administration.
Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union
The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and
special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation.
To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our
future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.
If, however, we leave the European Union without an agreement the default
position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms.
In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation
in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind
of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of
course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side
should seek. We must therefore work hard to avoid that outcome.
It is for these reasons that we want to be able to agree a deep and
special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation, but
it is also because we want to play our part in making sure that Europe
remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting
its values and defending itself from security threats. And we want the
United Kingdom to play its full part in realising that vision for our
Proposed principles for our discussions
Looking ahead to the discussions which we will soon begin, I would like to
suggest some principles that we might agree to help make sure that the
process is as smooth and successful as possible.
i. We should engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a
spirit of sincere cooperation. Since I became Prime Minister of the United
Kingdom I have listened carefully to you, to my fellow EU Heads of
Government and the Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament.
That is why the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single
market: we understand and respect your position that the four freedoms of
the single market are indivisible and there can be no cherry picking. We
also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the
EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the
European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade
within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we
are no longer a part just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.
ii. We should always put our citizens first. There is obvious complexity
in the discussions we are about to undertake, but we should remember that
at the heart of our talks are the interests of all our citizens. There
are, for example, many citizens of the remaining member states living in
the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the European
Union, and we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights.
iii. We should work towards securing a comprehensive agreement. We want to
agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in
both economic and security cooperation. We will need to discuss how we
determine a fair settlement of the UKs rights and obligations as a
departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of
the United Kingdoms continuing partnership with the EU. But we believe it
is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those
of our withdrawal from the EU.
iv. We should work together to minimise disruption and give as much
certainty as possible. Investors, businesses and citizens in both the UK
and across the remaining 27 member states and those from third countries
around the world want to be able to plan. In order to avoid any cliff-
edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership,
people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from
implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new
arrangements. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption
if we agree this principle early in the process.
v. In particular, we must pay attention to the UKs unique relationship
with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in
Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is the only EU member state with
a land border with the United Kingdom. We want to avoid a return to a hard
border between our two countries, to be able to maintain the Common Travel
Area between us, and to make sure that the UKs withdrawal from the EU
does not harm the Republic of Ireland. We also have an important
responsibility to make sure that nothing is done to jeopardise the peace
process in Northern Ireland, and to continue to uphold the Belfast
vi. We should begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as
possible, but we should prioritise the biggest challenges. Agreeing a
high-level approach to the issues arising from our withdrawal will of
course be an early priority. But we also propose a bold and ambitious Free
Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. This
should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it
so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as
financial services and network industries. This will require detailed
technical talks, but as the UK is an existing EU member state, both sides
have regulatory frameworks and standards that already match. We should
therefore prioritise how we manage the evolution of our regulatory
frameworks to maintain a fair and open trading environment, and how we
resolve disputes. On the scope of the partnership between us on both
economic and security matters my officials will put forward detailed
proposals for deep, broad and dynamic cooperation.
vii. We should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared
European values. Perhaps now more than ever, the world needs the liberal,
democratic values of Europe. We want to play our part to ensure that
Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world,
projecting its values and defending itself from security threats.
The task before us
As I have said, the Government of the United Kingdom wants to agree a deep
and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic
and security cooperation. At a time when the growth of global trade is
slowing and there are signs that protectionist instincts are on the rise
in many parts of the world, Europe has a responsibility to stand up for
free trade in the interest of all our citizens. Likewise, Europes
security is more fragile today than at any time since the end of the Cold
War. Weakening our cooperation for the prosperity and protection of our
citizens would be a costly mistake. The United Kingdoms objectives for
our future partnership remain those set out in my Lancaster House speech
of 17 January and the subsequent White Paper published on 2 February.
We recognise that it will be a challenge to reach such a comprehensive
agreement within the two-year period set out for withdrawal discussions in
the Treaty. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our
future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. We start
from a unique position in these discussions close regulatory alignment,
trust in one anothers institutions, and a spirit of cooperation
stretching back decades. It is for these reasons, and because the future
partnership between the UK and the EU is of such importance to both sides,
that I am sure it can be agreed in the time period set out by the Treaty.
The task before us is momentous but it should not be beyond us. After all,
the institutions and the leaders of the European Union have succeeded in
bringing together a continent blighted by war into a union of peaceful
nations, and supported the transition of dictatorships to democracy.
Together, I know we are capable of reaching an agreement about the UKs
rights and obligations as a departing member state, while establishing a
deep and special partnership that contributes towards the prosperity,
security and global power of our continent.
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