Britain yesterday launched the process to leave the EU, saying there was “no turning back” from the historic move that has split the country and thrown the bloc’s future into question.
Just days after the EU’s 60th birthday, Britain became the first country ever to seek a divorce, striking a blow at the heart of the union forged from the ashes of World War II.
“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told lawmakers in parliament.
Nine months after the shock referendum vote for Brexit, Britain triggered Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, starting the countdown to leaving the bloc.
In a six-page letter sent to EU President Donald Tusk, May wrote that Britain and the EU must “work hard” to avoid a failure in Brexit negotiations, calling it a “momentous” challenge.
May also called for negotiations on the exit and on future trade ties to be worked out “alongside” each other, although the EU has said the new trading relationship should only be discussed after Brexit is agreed.
“We already miss you,” Tusk in Brussels after receiving the letter formally notifying him of Britain’s intention to leave.
The letter was delivered in person by British Ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow.
It sets the stage for months of protracted and difficult negotiations between London and Brussels over outstanding bills, immigration and future trade ties.
“We must not forget that the UK is still a partner, in NATO and in Europe,” a spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
The Article 50 letter would give “more clarity” on Britain’s strategy, and “on this basis, the 27 [other] member states and EU institutions will define their interests and aims,” the spokeswoman said.
In her letter, May repeated that the vote for Brexit was not intended to harm the EU, and said she wanted a “new deep and special relationship with a strong European Union.”
It could be weeks before formal talks start, as the leaders of the other EU nations will meet on April 29 to forge their response.
Dignitaries from 47 countries yesterday congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the commencement of her second term and highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in democracy and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations a day earlier. As of noon yesterday, 263 high-ranking officials from 47 countries and global organizations had congratulated Tsai via statements, letters, social media posts or recorded footage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while releasing a collection of footage sent by selected dignitaries. The governments of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies sent their congratulations, as did the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy,
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IN PROTEST: The US’ top diplomat said the WHA had been deprived of Taiwan’s scientific expertise, while Tsai said political factors should not be put above health US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday condemned Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Assembly (WHA), while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday lodged a strong protest against the WHO for not inviting Taiwan. Twenty-two nations voiced support for Taiwan’s bid for participation on the first day of the assembly’s two-day virtual meeting, but despite the global community’s unprecedentedly strong support for Taiwan, it remained blocked from the assembly, with WHO member states on Monday agreeing to delay discussion on Taiwan until later this year. Pompeo, who on May 6 urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the WHA,
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced no new cases of COVID-19, adding that a ban on mask exports would be lifted soon under three conditions. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 401 people from among the nation’s 440 confirmed cases have been removed from isolation. Yesterday was the 12th consecutive day that no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan, and the 37th day of no new domestic cases. “As our local communities have gradually become safe, we should not become careless,” Chen said. “We should continue to take personal protective measures