Forty-four years after Britain joined the European Union (EU), the country today officially divorced the union.
Reports say the EU has received an official letter signed by Prime Minister Theresa May triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty for a two-year Brexit talks.
“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back,” she said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Britain is leaving the European Union.”
She adds: “In moments like these, great turning points in our national story, the choices we make define the character of our nation.”
We can look forwards with optimism of spirit or backwards, she says.
“I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead.”
Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so. The Treaty was signed in 2007. It gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal
Once set in motion, it cannot be stopped except by unanimous consent of all member states
Any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states and can be vetoed by the European Parliament.
Britain is the first country to trigger the process.