Mixed reactions to UK triggering Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty for Brexit

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

London [United Kingdom], Mar.31 (ANI): There have been mixed reactions to Britain's decision to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty for moving out of the European Union. Mr Sarosh Zaiwalla - Founder and Senior Partner, Zaiwalla & Co. Solicitors, on the British Prime Minister Theresa May triggering Article 50 and its impact on India - UK relations. "The British Prime Minister Theresa May has now undertaken the biggest peacetime decision by any modern postwar government in the world as she invoked the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to formally notify Brussels to exit the European Union, about nine months after the referendum was held in June 2016. Over the period leading to this very moment, the Prime Minister had been very clear - she wants to prioritise immigration control over the access to the single market - a Hard Brexit, much against the wishes of the financial service industry and businesses which want access to the common economic area. This is because the UK has a serious shortfall of skilled and unskilled labour which it needs to keep its economy and business buoyant. Under such a scenario where EU immigration restrictions might occur, the UK government will be forced to review its immigration policy to fill the gap in the market. Already, the number of EU citizens looking for work in Britain has collapsed by nearly 18% since the beginning of 2017 - an indication that Britain is up for a shortfall in the skilled business market. This would mean that Britain will have to rely on the one country which always delivers - India. India has been one of the largest contributors of skilled labour with doctors, scientists, engineers and IT specialists filling the vital market gap here and helping the country run. Over the past few years, there have been a slew of restrictions making it very difficult for Indians to immigrate and work in the UK, including with the scrapping of post study work permit. However, this may soon change and the UK will be forced to implement a point based immigration system like Canada or Australia. Secondly, Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office have been looking to expand on trading partners beyond the EU in preparation of a post Brexit scenario, and have already embarked on a charm offence with countries including India and Australia at the top of the list. With a market of over a billion people, and as the fastest growing economy in the world, India holds pivotal importance for Britain to establish a bilateral trading agreement. India also has exceptional potential to build on the works of existing investments in Britain by companies such as the Tata group, Bharati Airtel and HCL among many others. Already, Indian companies invest more in the UK than they do in the rest of the EU combined, and employ over 110,000 people. Building a bilateral trade investment relation between India and the UK would be of the best interest of both countries. Post Brexit, Britain and India have a lot to benefit from each, and we are certainly in an interesting period." Indian origin British businesswoman and the CEO of Sterling Group, the business and communication consultancy working with India Inc and governments, Natasha Mudhar said, "London is the central nervous system of the world, connecting the Americas to Asia, and this is one of the reasons why everyone is carefully watching the developments surrounding Britain's exit out of the European Union. There is currently a period of uncertainty over the future of the UK's Political and business relations with the heartland of Europe, but the country continues to maintain that exiting the EU does not amount to leaving Europe or the common values they share, but is instead a measure to take back their autonomy. While there is a shadow of doubt over the UK's future with Europe, there is equally a sense of optimism for Britain to renew and expand ties with countries including India, China, Australia and Canada among others. Brexit also provides ample opportunity for India to capitalise on its bilateral relations with Britain and to seek to address important concerns, including on immigration and investments." Speaking about the concerns of business in the UK, Mihir Kapadia, the CEO & Founder of Sun Global Investments said, "With growing indications of a Hard Brexit from the Prime Minister Theresa May, any loss of passporting rights would be a big problem for the City of London. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said earlier this year that 5,500 UK companies rely on passporting rights, and if the UK cedes these rights, rival financial centres in the EU will step up efforts to woo banks and firms out of the city. While it would be expensive to move operations out of the UK and into cities such as Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris, banks and firms many undertake such moves in the next two years as sensible contingency planning and to de-risk their businesses going forward. Given the sheer complexity and scope of the negotiations, it will be very difficult for detailed agreements to be reached within the two year timetable." The UK government kick started the Brexit process for Britain to formally leave the European Union (EU) in two years time by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29. Britain's EU ambassador Tim Barrow handed over the Brexit notification letter (Article 50) to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, beginning the legal process. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty allows a member state to notify the EU of its withdrawal and obliges the EU to try to negotiate a 'withdrawal agreement' with that state. It involves five points: 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. 2.A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament. 3.The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period. 4.For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 5.If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. Agreements or any extension to Article 50 will have to be approved by all 27 member states and will likely require ratification by national parliaments. Addressing the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that leaving the EU presents the UK with a unique opportunity, adding that it is this generation's chance to build a better future. "The Article 50 process is now underway, and in accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union. We are going to make our own decisions and our own laws," she said. The Guardian quoted May as saying that she wants a "new, special and deep partnership with the European Union". She confirmed that the rights of EU nationals will be an early priority of her administration. May said that in the months ahead she will represent every person in the United Kingdom, including EU nationals. May said she wants to deliver a smooth and orderly Brexit, adding that it is in the interests of both the UK and the EU that there is as little disruption as possible. However, May said she wants the UK to continue trading with the EU. Reacting to Britain's triggering of Article 50, Tusk said he has received a six-page letter to start the negotiations on Britain leaving the EU and there is no reason to pretend this as a happy day in Brussels or in London. "We regret that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, but we are ready for the process that we now will have to follow.For the European Union, the first step will now be the adoption of guidelines for the negotiations by the European council. These guidelines will set out the overall positions and principles in light of which the union, represented by the European commission, will negotiate with the United Kingdom," said a statement issued by European Council. (ANI)