The British government has made public its intention to formally notify the European Union of its purpose to leave the community on March 29. Next Wednesday the United Kingdom and the European Union will start a two-year negotiation exit, under the authority of Article 50 of the European Union’s Treaty.
According to the Article 50, any member state may conclude to leave the European Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. The United Kingdom is expected to withdraw from the European Union by early 2019.
Theresa May’s government hopes that the other 27 EU members will then meet to acknowledge their guidelines for the negotiations and the European Commission’s negotiating rules. The Brexit secretary, David Davis, considers Brexit process as “the most important negotiation for this country in a generation”.
Last month, during the swearing-in ceremony, legislators Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung refused to declare their allegiance to China and carried blue flags reading: “Hong Kong is not China.” Now China has decided to bar the two young legislators, since “those wishing to hold public office must sincerely and solemnly declare allegiance to China”, as China’s rubberstamp legislature affirmed.
About 13,000 people marched on Sunday to protest against China’s last intervention, ending in clashes with police which led to four arrests.
After the United Kingdom gave Hong Kong to China in 1997, the city maintained its own laws, courts and freedoms not enjoyed in continental China, under a framework known as “one country, two systems”. However, many citizens agree that these freedoms have been diminished in the last years.
In fact, previous dissatisfactions led to nearly three months of street protests in 2014 and to the election in September this year of six politicians who demand greater autonomy for the city.
This action is thought to be Beijing’s most direct intervention in the territory’s legal system since the 1997, and it has set up a new conflict between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps.