The UK will officially 'Brexit' from EU on March 29
4:40 AM, Mar 20, 2017
8:34 AM, Mar 20, 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger the UK's exit from the European Union on Wednesday, March 29, a spokesperson has confirmed to CNN.
Other member states will "realize it's not worth leaving" the European Union after they see the deal the UK gets, the European Commission President has warned.
The loss of Britain to the bloc, which celebrates its 60th anniversary next week, has created speculation that other states might decide to follow suit, something President Jean-Claude Juncker strongly disagreed with in an interview published on Sunday.
"They will all see from the UK's example that leaving the EU is a bad idea," Juncker told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
"On the contrary, the remaining member states will fall in love with each other again and renew their vows with the European Union."
British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50 before the end of March, allowing for the start of formal Brexit negotiations between Downing Street and the other 27 EU states on terms of the country's withdrawal.
European leaders have stepped up their rhetoric over the past week as the start of negotiations draws nearer.
Last week, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said the EU would not be "intimidated" by threats from Britain that it would prefer to walk away from Brexit talks if it did not get its way.
And Juncker reiterated that view, insisting Britain would have to get used to be on the outside, looking in.
"Half memberships and cherry-picking aren't possible," Juncker told the German newspaper.
"In Europe you eat what's on the table or you don't sit at the table."
His comments come as May faces increasing pressure both at home and abroad.
Last week, Britain's secretary for Brexit, David Davis, said the government had not yet carried out an assessment of what leaving the EU without a deal would have on the economy.
That admission caused surprise and consternation amongst opponents and left May facing yet more criticism.
May has already been fiercely criticized by Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has demanded a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Sturgeon has made plain her view that Britain is heading for a "bad deal" on Brexit and wants Scotland to have a vote on independence before the terms of the deal are signed.
She has accused May of failing to engage with her call for Scotland to remain in the European single market after Brexit, and that Scotland risks being taken out of the EU against its will.
Sturgeon's demand that the referendum be held between late 2018 and early 2019 was met with fierce criticism by May, who rejected the motion by saying it wasn't the "right time" for such a vote.
On Sunday, Sturgeon said she could revise her timetable for the referendum if May was willing to compromise.
May, who last week declared that the UK is facing a "defining moment" in its history, will visit Wales Monday as she steps up her charm offensive.
She will hold meetings with Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Brexit Secretary David Davis and is expected to also visit Scotland and Northern Ireland in due course.
"From my first day ... I made clear my determination to strengthen and sustain the precious union. I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the UK," May said in a statement before the visit.
"I want every part of the United Kingdom to be able to make the most of the opportunities ahead and for Welsh businesses to benefit from the freest possible trade as part of a global trading nation."