The first cliche of the Brexit process is about to bite the dust.
For months European officials have batted away questions about the financial and political implications of the UK’s departure from the EU with the mantra “no negotiation without notification.”
Well , now we are about to have notification, so at least we are going to be able looking ahead to not listening that formation of words again.
That doesn’t mean of course that it is necessary to expect to see a long queue of Brussels insiders affording their own views on the EU’s red ways in the coming days.
Prepare instead for dates, if not weeks, of consultation between the European Commission – which will take the lead in negotiations for Brussels – and the 27 “remainer” districts, together with the European Council, which represents them.
This is, of course, exactly the types of long-winded, bureaucratic obscurantism that is the curse of European politics if you’re a Brexiteer: or the kind of careful, consensual consultation we’re going to miss if you’re not.
The commission’s chief negotiator is the former French cabinet minister Michel Barnier, who has been quietly preparing for this moment for several months, seeing the 27 capitals and hammering out common negotiating power where possible.
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has been on the event too.
So Brussels has some sort of consultation paper almost ready to go.
When the European side has witnessed the detail in the UK’s Article 50 character, it will , no doubt, had intended to tweak that document.
The expectation in Brussels was always that the British note of notification would be a fairly substantial report, rather than a one-line affirmation of the intentions, so there might be quite a bit of nipping to be done.
Katya Adler asks if the EU can survive the major challenge in its history What is Article 50? A template to what happens now Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU Image caption Image caption Image caption Image caption