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    European Council President Donald Tusk holds a news conference after receiving British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit letter in notice of the UK's intention to leave the bloc under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty to EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels, Belgium March 29, 2017.

    Remaining EU Members 'More Determined' Ahead of Brexit Talks - EU Council Chief

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    Brexit: Article 50 Triggered (52)

    The remaining 27 members of the European Union are united in conducting two-year exit talks with the United Kingdom, European Council President Donald Tusk said after receiving Brexit notification from London Wednesday.

    BRUSSELS/MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tusk said in televised remarks that "paradoxically," Brexit "has made the community of the 27 [EU members] more determined and more united than before."

    "There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in Brussels nor in London. After all, most Europeans including almost half the British voters, wish that we would stay together, not drift apart," Tusk said.

    "Today I can say we will remain determined and united also during the difficult negotiations ahead," he said.

    "Our goal is clear: to minimize the costs for EU citizens, businesses and member states. We will do everything in our power and we have all the tools to achieve this goal," Tusk said in televised remarks.

    He highlighted the "strong mandate" he and the European Commission have in protecting the interests of the 27 remaining EU member states. He added that EU law would continue to apply "to and within the UK" during the two-year negotiations process, saying "for now nothing has changed."

    "There is nothing to win in this process, and I'm talking about both sides. In essence, this is about damage control," Tusk said.

    Tusk said he planned to offer the remaining EU member states' negotiating proposals for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the bloc on Friday.

    The remaining 27 European Union member states will "act as one" in negotiations over the United Kingdom's withdrawal and hope to keep it as a close partner, the European Council said in a statement Wednesday.

    "In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests," the Council said after a letter triggering Article 50 of the EU treaty was formally delivered to its chief. "Therefore, we will start by focusing on all key arrangements for an orderly withdrawal."

    "We will approach these talks constructively and strive to find an agreement. In the future, we hope to have the United Kingdom as a close partner," the Council stressed.

    Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the House of Commons after triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. The UK prime minister said that there can be "no turning back" from Brexit as the Article 50 has been triggered.

    UK Permanent Representative to the European Union Tim Barrow gave a letter of official notification of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the bloc signed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May to Tusk earlier on Wednesday.

    After the letter is received by the European Council, the two-year countdown on Brexit negotiations will begin.

    According to the rules set out by the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the country which wishes to withdraw from the bloc has to do so two years after the official notification. Therefore, the United Kingdom should leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.

    Brexit: Article 50 Triggered (52)


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