British Prime Minister Theresa May announced in parliament that her government has begun the formal process of taking the UK out of the European Union.

May said that Britain would seek to agree on its future partnership with the EU.
May said that Britain would seek to agree on its future partnership with the EU.

Britain has formally triggered the process of leaving the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May announced in the British parliament on Wednesday.

Tim Barrow, Britain's ambassador to the EU, personally delivered the letter signed by May at European Council (EC) President Donald Tusk's office in Brussels. May signed the letter in Downing Street on Tuesday.

The notification letter, handed over to Tusk's office in the presence of journalists, triggers a two-year countdown to Brexit under Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

"The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union," May told parliament as she announced the separation from the bloc.

Just days after the EU's 60th birthday, Britain becomes 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.

Now is the time for us to come together and be united across this house (of parliament) and across this country to ensure that we work for the best possible deal for the United Kingdom and the best possible future for us all — Theresa May

Here's what May told the British parliament in her address.

Tusk bids goodbye to UK

"After nine months the UK has delivered. #Brexit," Tusk tweeted after he received the letter on Wednesday, referring to Britain's shock June 23, 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

Tusk said that there is no reason to pretend that #Brexit is a "happy day, either in Brussels or in London."

The EC president said the positive thing in Brexit is that it has made the remaining 27 EU members more united than before.

Tusk said the EC council will ensure an orderly exit for Britain from the EU. He concluded, "We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies