On Friday at a meeting in Brussels the remaining 27 European Union members were told to expect notification as early as tomorrow that UK Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50: the starting gun to begin the divorce proceedings for the UK to leave the EU. Donald Tusk, the EU Council president said the EU was already well prepared for all the procedures necessary and could in fact issue draft guidelines to negotiations within 48 hours of any announcement. He went on to tell the remaining members that they will reconvene in the first week of April to respond to the trigger.
However, before Theresa May’s government can trigger Article 50 she must finish passing legislation in parliament that gives her the right to do so. Although the government was given a relatively easy ride by parliament initially, with regards to triggering the process, it has since suffered 2 defeats in the House of Lords. The amendments, on whether parliament should have a vote on the final Brexit deal and a guaranteeing of the rights of EU nationals in the UK, will be debated today and sent back to the House of Lords, where it is thought they will accept the supremacy of the Commons.
Also in the headlines is the escalating diplomatic spat between Turkey and the Netherlands over 2 Turkish ministers being stopped from attending a campaign rally in Rotterdam. They intended to attend the rally to drum up support for the yes vote in the Turkish referendum due to be held on 16th April on plans to grant extended powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The idea was for the ministers to rally support for the vote in several Europeans cities that have a large Turkish contingent. In a statement the Dutch government said it had withdrawn permission for the visit due to risks to public order and security saying that the Turkish government ‘does not want to respect the rules in this matter’ The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quick to react to the decision, calling the Dutch ‘Nazi remnants’ and ‘fascists’ when the plane the ministers were flying on was refused permission to land. Obviously still irked by the incident over the weekend at a rally in Istanbul, Erdogan said the Dutch ‘do not know politics or international diplomacy’ adding ‘ You can stop our foreign minister's plane all you want, let's see how your planes will come to Turkey from now on’.