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Theresa May’s Brexit Letter to the EU

Originally Published by gov.uk 29 March 2017

Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50


  1. The process in the United Kingdom
  2. Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union
  3. Proposed principles for our discussions
  4. The task before us

“On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

It is in the best interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that we should use the forthcoming process to deliver these objectives in a fair and orderly manner, and with as little disruption as possible on each side. We want to make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values, leading in the world, and defending itself from security threats. We want the United Kingdom, through a new deep and special partnership with a strong European Union, to play its full part in achieving these goals. We therefore believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union.

The Government wants to approach our discussions with ambition, giving citizens and businesses in the United Kingdom and the European Union – and indeed from third countries around the world – as much certainty as possible, as early as possible.

I would like to propose some principles that may help to shape our coming discussions, but before I do so, I should update you on the process we will be undertaking at home, in the United Kingdom.

The process in the United Kingdom

As I have announced already, the Government will bring forward legislation that will repeal the Act of Parliament – the European Communities Act 1972 – that gives effect to EU law in our country. This legislation will, wherever practical and appropriate, in effect convert the body of existing European Union law (the “acquis”) into UK law. This means there will be certainty for UK citizens and for anybody from the European Union who does business in the United Kingdom. The Government will consult on how we design and implement this legislation, and we will publish a White Paper tomorrow. We also intend to bring forward several other pieces of legislation that address specific issues relating to our departure from the European Union, also with a view to ensuring continuity and certainty, in particular for businesses. We will of course continue to fulfil our responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the European Union, and the legislation we propose will not come into effect until we leave.

From the start and throughout the discussions, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK as we do so. When it comes to the return of powers back to the United Kingdom, we will consult fully on which powers should reside in Westminster and which should be devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it is the expectation of the Government that the outcome of this process will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration.

Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union

The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

If, however, we leave the European Union without an agreement the default position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side should seek. We must therefore work hard to avoid that outcome.

It is for these reasons that we want to be able to agree a deep and special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation, but it is also because we want to play our part in making sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats. And we want the United Kingdom to play its full part in realising that vision for our continent.

Proposed principles for our discussions

Looking ahead to the discussions which we will soon begin, I would like to suggest some principles that we might agree to help make sure that the process is as smooth and successful as possible.

i. We should engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a spirit of sincere cooperation

Since I became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I have listened carefully to you, to my fellow EU Heads of Government and the Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament. That is why the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single market: we understand and respect your position that the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible and there can be no “cherry picking”. We also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part – just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.

ii. We should always put our citizens first

There is obvious complexity in the discussions we are about to undertake, but we should remember that at the heart of our talks are the interests of all our citizens. There are, for example, many citizens of the remaining member states living in the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union, and we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights.

iii. We should work towards securing a comprehensive agreement

We want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. We will need to discuss how we determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the United Kingdom’s continuing partnership with the EU. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU.

iv. We should work together to minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible

Investors, businesses and citizens in both the UK and across the remaining 27 member states – and those from third countries around the world – want to be able to plan. In order to avoid any cliff-edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership, people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption if we agree this principle early in the process.

v. In particular, we must pay attention to the UK’s unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland

The Republic of Ireland is the only EU member state with a land border with the United Kingdom. We want to avoid a return to a hard border between our two countries, to be able to maintain the Common Travel Area between us, and to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland. We also have an important responsibility to make sure that nothing is done to jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland, and to continue to uphold the Belfast Agreement.

vi. We should begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as possible, but we should prioritise the biggest challenges

Agreeing a high-level approach to the issues arising from our withdrawal will of course be an early priority. But we also propose a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. This should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as financial services and network industries. This will require detailed technical talks, but as the UK is an existing EU member state, both sides have regulatory frameworks and standards that already match. We should therefore prioritise how we manage the evolution of our regulatory frameworks to maintain a fair and open trading environment, and how we resolve disputes. On the scope of the partnership between us – on both economic and security matters – my officials will put forward detailed proposals for deep, broad and dynamic cooperation.

vii. We should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values

Perhaps now more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of Europe. We want to play our part to ensure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats.

The task before us

As I have said, the Government of the United Kingdom wants to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. At a time when the growth of global trade is slowing and there are signs that protectionist instincts are on the rise in many parts of the world, Europe has a responsibility to stand up for free trade in the interest of all our citizens. Likewise, Europe’s security is more fragile today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Weakening our cooperation for the prosperity and protection of our citizens would be a costly mistake. The United Kingdom’s objectives for our future partnership remain those set out in my Lancaster House speech of 17 January and the subsequent White Paper published on 2 February.

We recognise that it will be a challenge to reach such a comprehensive agreement within the two-year period set out for withdrawal discussions in the Treaty. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. We start from a unique position in these discussions – close regulatory alignment, trust in one another’s institutions, and a spirit of cooperation stretching back decades. It is for these reasons, and because the future partnership between the UK and the EU is of such importance to both sides, that I am sure it can be agreed in the time period set out by the Treaty.

The task before us is momentous but it should not be beyond us. After all, the institutions and the leaders of the European Union have succeeded in bringing together a continent blighted by war into a union of peaceful nations, and supported the transition of dictatorships to democracy. Together, I know we are capable of reaching an agreement about the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, while establishing a deep and special partnership that contributes towards the prosperity, security and global power of our continent.” — Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May.

Starting March 29 Britain Decides it’s Own Future

by John Brian Shannon | March 27, 2017

On June 23, 2016 a majority of Britons decided to leave the European Union via democratic referendum, and it may be that leaving the EU will involve some inconvenience to citizens and a ton of work for the government.

Still, that’s a microscopic price to pay in order for Britons to be fully in control of their own future — instead of their future being controlled by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels who seem ambivalent to the cares and concerns of British citizens, and who would rather continue to use the UK as a cash cow to fund their pet projects / and as the country that shoulders a disproportionate share of European defense via the UK’s strong NATO spending commitment.

From March 29, 2017 onward the future of Britain will increasingly be determined by Britons, and not by a foreign government. That alone is sufficient reason to bear any perceived inconvenience and the extra work involved in accomplishing the goal of a truly independent Britain.

British citizens working through their elected representatives can now create any type of country they want. Opportunities as big as the sky abound, let no person tell you that Britain can’t become all that she can and should be!

If any failure occurs henceforth, it will be the failure of not thinking ‘big enough’ — as the aspirations of Britons have been lowered to such a level in recent decades that even the basics seem unattainable and reserved for a lucky few; Things like a quality education for every student, a choice of jobs at the end of one’s education, a fulfilling career, along with a comfortable home within reach of every quintile group and a high level of public infrastructure throughout the country.

I urge the Home Office to create a website where British citizens can leave their suggestions to improve the country in any way (via a simplified form, in 300 words or less) where those ideas are automatically forwarded by relevant keyword to the affected departments. Undoubtedly, some of the suggestions will have merit, and the departments that thrive over time will (obviously) be the departments paying close attention to those submitted ideas.

Perhaps the Home Office will tabulate the suggestions by keyword and thereby be informed of which requests rank most highly among citizens. Even better if the Home Office rewards the people submitting the best ideas (via a free pass to visit London’s attractions) that show the government where to cut waste, resolve duplication of service issues, increase productivity, or streamline supply chains.

Now, after creating a great empire that survived two World Wars thrust upon it by continental Europe, after surviving the Cold War, and after generously agreeing to join the European Community in 1972 to help it unite continental Europe so that there will never be a war there again, the United Kingdom is now free! to become all that it can and should be.

With the right vision set by the government and the determination of the British people — Britain can thrive as never before — creating a country that works for all citizens, a country in which every Briton can take deep pride, and a country that excels in all sectors.

By listening to citizens and by adopting the optimum policies, the 21st-century will belong to Britain. Brexit is merely one step towards that best future!

London Terror Attack – In the Cold Light of Day

by John Brian Shannon | March 23, 2017

Yesterday’s terror attack in London has sharpened the will of Britain to face terrorism in all its forms, and has served to demonstrate the resolve of Britons to soldier-on despite a display of violence clearly designed to rattle citizens.

This is the London that survived The Blitz and returned stronger than ever. If terrorists are trying to cow a population into submission they chose the wrong city. The merchants of terror will soon find that they have expended much effort for little gain.

Terrorists want big headlines, a terrorized populace, and an over-compensating government that takes corrective measures far exceeding the scale of the problem.

Any publicized response to terrorists should be considered ‘overcompensating’ because more people are killed in Western countries by lightning than are killed by terrorists. More Europeans are killed by falling down their stairs at home than have been killed in the entire history of modern terrorism in Europe. And thousands of people are killed every year in car accidents. Yet the governments of Europe haven’t declared war on cars, stairs, nor lightning.

Tragic as yesterday’s events are, giving the perpetrators and backers of such crimes too much airtime only serves to reward and encourage them.

The Rise of Terrorism vs. The Rise of Knowledge and Responsibility

‘Under the radar’ for many, our civilization has entered a new era; A time of changing attitudes, a time for new pathways to better outcomes.

Knowledge has become more broadly available, more engagement occurs between citizens and their governments, more diversity adds to our understanding of the world, and along with the omnipresent globalization factor, all of these work to shape our worldview and the worldview of people in every corner of the world.

We’re now in an era akin to the time when Homo-sapiens superseded the Neanderthals, which was a time of unprecedented change. But our point of change is where the practitioners of ‘Win-Lose’ paradigms will be superseded by the practitioners of ‘Win-Win’ paradigms. (Terrorists and their thinking will become obsolete as ‘Win-Win’ thinking gains more traction)

The games desperadoes play which are designed to horrify and control large populations, are so 20th-century. Terrorists are rapidly becoming caricatures of themselves similar to ‘Achmed the Terrorist‘ of Saturday Night Live fame.

Why? It seems that wanton destruction and spreading fear have become the goals (for some) in the 21st century.

Terrorist groups no longer make demands, nor recite carefully worded manifestos that were years-in-the-making, nor do they bother to rail against the religious beliefs of Westerners, nor against alcohol, bikinis, or any other taboos created by puritanical control freaks.

In their own control-drama world they lost at the ‘Win-Lose’ game, a paradigm that they chose from the outset, because they believed they could ‘Win’ at that game. But they lost.

Now they console themselves by staging terror attacks sans-message to assuage their disappointment — a sad way for any human being to live their life, and let’s not forget the profound sadness they create among the innocent people caught in the crossfire of their destructive acts.

They Didn’t Start Off That Way

It’s a safe bet that every single human was born perfect —  ‘free from sin’ as they used to say.

And in a perfect world every person would mature and fulfill their best destiny.

What failure it must be then that shapes young minds to eventually become killers of innocent people due to an imperfect understanding of religious texts. And then to fall even further by taking innocent human lives out of the sheer disappointment of having lost at the ‘Win-Lose’ paradigm.

Humans can’t fail much worse than that.

And every bit of it is preventable, either by every child receiving an advanced education so as to be able to properly understand the proper context and meanings of religious texts (for example) — or by teaching young minds that the only outcomes worth pursuing are ‘Win-Win outcomes’. Either would be fine. Both would be better.

“If you treat a man as he could and should be, he will become all that he can and should be.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Keep Calm, and Carry On

In the meantime, while the human race continues to stumble unevenly towards Win-Win outcomes, the best way to manage the people who’ve grown up without the benefit of a proper education, without context in their lives, and are largely untaught in the concept of ‘Win-Win’ thinking — is to *not overreact* to their violent attempts to control outcomes.

And in so doing, we remove the incentive for them to practice their ideology.

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