Britain's EU ambassador quits

2017-01-03 20:06
Ivan Rogers. (Geert van den Wijngaert, AP)

Ivan Rogers. (Geert van den Wijngaert, AP)

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London - Britain's ambassador to the European Union, Ivan Rogers, has resigned less than three months before the UK is due to trigger the process to leave the bloc, a source says.

Last month, he reportedly told British ministers that other EU countries believed it could take up to 10 years to negotiate a new trade arrangement with the departing UK.

But Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson insisted a deal could be done within two years that would allow Britain to trade with and operate within the single European market.

Rogers headed the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union (UKRep), which represents Britain in negotiations that take place in the EU.

"His resignation is not a surprise for those who work with him," said an European diplomat.

"He was very competent, but not convinced by the Brexit decision and the British government line, leading the UK into an area of dangerous uncertainty."

In the June 2016 referendum, 52% voted for Britain leave the EU.

May intends to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, giving formal notification of Britain's intention to leave the bloc, by the end of March.

This begins a two-year countdown after which Britain will leave all the institutions and the single market unless alternative arrangements have been agreed upon.

Read more on:    theresa may  |  uk  |  brexit

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