EU leaders prepare for Theresa May to trigger Article 50 within days

European leaders are preparing for formal Brexit negotiations to begin within days should Theresa May trigger Article 50 next week. EU leaders, meeting in Brussels, were told to prepare for the possibility that Britain could trigger talks as early as next Tuesday, with a formal gathering on 6 April pencilled in to respond to Britain’s formal letter of notification. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny confirmed to reporters that the EU 27 had provisionally agreed a meeting in early April to agree a framework for exit talks. “The next meeting is to be on the 6th of April, provided that the [British] Prime Minister [Theresa May] moves Article 50, I think by the 15th of March,” he said.

There will be a response immediately from the European Council, and there will be guidelines issued within 48 hours. And the European Council meeting to adopt those guidelines will be on 6 April.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny

However, some European sources remained sceptical that the Prime Minister would go for such a tight timetable, given that she would risk a diplomatic upset by triggering Article 50 immediately before the Dutch elections on 15 March. Meanwhile, in the UK, Mrs May has scheduled a major Commons statement on Tuesday, raising Brexiteers’ hopes she might use it to formally trigger Brexit.