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Everything you need to know about Brexit – VIDEO

As Theresa May formally triggered Article 50 after MPs have overwhelmingly voted to back the Brexit bill, the British Prime Minister is expected to start talks to negotiate UK’s future after the vote to leave the European Union.

A letter informing the European Council of Britain’s intention to leave the EU was handed over to European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels.

Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is the clause that gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally and it outlines the procedure for doing so.

What happens when Article 50 has been triggered?

The European Commission has published a guide that explains what happens now that the Article 50 has been triggered. The European institution warns that the notification received “is a point of no return”.

Step 1

On 29 April,  an extraordinary European Council will be convened by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. The European Council will adopt by consensus a set of guidelines on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. These guidelines will define the overall principles that the EU will pursue during the negotiations based on the common interest of the European Union and of its Member States.

Step 2

After the adoption of the guidelines, the Commission will very quickly present to the Council a recommendation to open the negotiations. This will be agreed by the College of Commissioners, 4 days after the meeting of the European Council.

Step 3

The Council will then need to authorise the start of the negotiations by adopting a set of negotiating directives. They must be adopted by strong qualified majority (72% of the 27 Member States, i.e. 20 Member States representing 65% of the population of the EU27).

Once these directives are adopted, the Union negotiator, as designated by the Council, is mandated to begin negotiations with the withdrawing Member State.

How long will it take for the UK to leave the EU?

Triggering Article 50 formally notifies the intention to withdraw from the EU.  The document also gives the leaving country 24 months to negotiate an exit deal.

Once set in motion, it cannot be stopped except by unanimous consent of all member states. During this two-year period, the UK must continue to abide by EU laws and treaties, but it cannot take part in any decision-making.

The triggering of the Article 50 means that the UK will quit the EU by March 31, 2019 at the latest, ahead of the European Parliament elections in May of that year. Only the negotiation process is expected to last approximately 18 months (early June 2017 – October/November 2018).

When does the United Kingdom cease to be a member of the European Union?

The EU Treaties cease to apply to the United Kingdom from the date of entry into force of the agreement, or within 2 years of the notification of withdrawal, in case of no agreement. The Council may decide to extend that period by unanimity. Until then, the United Kingdom  remains a member of the European Union, with all the rights and obligations that derive from membership.

What will happen to the EU after Britain leaves?

The result of Brexit will depend on the kind of relationship Britain will establish with the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May has signaled that the wants to use UK’s military power and diplomatic influence in maintaining security in the area. If negotiations do not go well, the European Union might lose diplomatic support from the UK.

Theresa May’s 12-point plan for Brexit, which she unveiled in January, centered on regaining control of borders, ending the jurisdiction of the European courts and getting a good deal for British businesses.

The single market agreement allows countries within the EU to trade across borders without extra tariffs and negotiations. The British officials hope that UK will remain a member of the single market.

How much will Brexit cost?

The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that the government will have to borrow an extra £58.7bn as a result of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, a forecast that is too gloomy according to some commentators.

The United Kingdom will be made to pay about £50 billion ($62 billion) after it triggers Article 50 to leave the European Union, according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to Juncker, Brussels doesn’t want to “punish” Britain but has to prevent the domino effect of countries fleeing the bloc.

“We have to calculate scientifically what the British commitments were and then the bill has to be paid,” he told the BBC.

He confirmed the bill will be about £50 billion or $62 billion.

“It will be a bill reflecting former commitments by the British government and by the British parliament. There will be no sanctions, no punishment, nothing of that kind,” Juncker said.

“It is a failure and a tragedy. I will be sad, as I was sad when the vote in the referendum took place in Britain. For me, it is a tragedy,” the EU commissioner said.

“I am anything but in a hostile mood when it comes to Britain. We will negotiate in a friendly way, a fair way, and we are not naïve,” he added.

European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier has reportedly demanded that the UK pay a £52 billion (€60 billion) Brexit bill.

Here is a look at what happened since the majority of Britons voted to leave to UK, as officials prepare to start talks with the European Union before the end of March.

A referendum was held on 23 June to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. The Leave camp won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting.

The Independence Party has campaigned for many years for Britain’s exit from the EU. Theresa May’s party was joined during the referendum campaign by almost half of the Conservative Party’s MPs, with Boris Johnson being a  key figure.

The leave camp argued the Britain’s development was being held back by the European Union, which they said imposed too many rules on business, as well ass too many fees for the membership with not enough gains. Another argument invoked was that they wanted Britain to reclaim full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming to live and work there. The leave camp criticized one of the main principles of EU membership, the importance of free movement, and asked for fewer immigrants in the UK.

After the Brexit vote, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and was replaced by Theresa May. Although, May was initially against Britain leaving the EU she has said “Brexit means Brexit” and that she will respect the will of the people. In her most recent speech, May announced the Parliament that the UK is not intending to stay in the EU’s single market and emphasized the focus will be a “hard Brexit”.

Find out more about Brexit

Timeline for Britain’s Brexit legislation 

Britain’s Brexit negotiation objectives

The legal challenge over who can trigger Britain’s exit talks from EU

What is the process for Britain’s Brexit legislation?

Could parliament change Britain’s Brexit legislation?

Key points from Britain’s Brexit White Paper

So at one extreme, “hard” Brexit” could involve the UK refusing to compromise on issues like the free movement of people in order to maintain access to the EU single market. At the other end of the scale, a “soft” Brexit might follow a similar path to Norway, which is a member of the single market and has to accept the free movement of people as a result.

The Prime Minister has said the UK “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean “not leaving the EU at all”. But the official promised to push for the “greatest possible” access to the single market following Brexit.

In addition, Theresa May said she wants the UK to reach a new customs union deal with the EU, which involves an agreement no to impose tariffs on each other’s goods a and have a common tariff on goods coming in from elsewhere. The UK is currently part of the EU customs union but that stops the UK being able to do its own trade deals with other countries.

For the United Kingdom to leave the EU, an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty must be invoked. This article gives the two sides two years to agree the specific terms of the split. PM May said she intends to trigger this process by the end of March 2017, meaning the UK will be expected to have left by the summer of 2019, depending on the precise timetable agreed during the negotiations.

The Government is also expected enact a Great Repeal Bill which will end the primacy of EU law in the UK.  UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament must be consulted before Article 50 is invoked. Most MPs are expected to vote in favour of Article 50 being triggered, although there could be attempts to amend the draft legislation.

Theresa May set up a government department, headed by veteran Conservative MP and Leave campaigner David Davis, to take responsibility for Brexit. Former defence secretary, Liam Fox, who also campaigned to leave the EU, was given the new job of international trade secretary and Boris Johnson, who was a leader of the official Leave campaign, is foreign secretary. These men – dubbed the Three Brexiteers will play a central role in negotiations with the EU and seek out new international agreements.

Once Article 50 has been triggered, the UK will have two years to negotiate its withdrawal. But no one really knows how the Brexit process will work. Article 50 was only created in late 2009 and it has never been used. Former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has argued that he terms of Britain’s exit will have to be agreed by 27 national parliaments, a process which could take some years, he has argued.

Alexa Stewart