Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech at the Department for International Development's office at Abercrombie House in East Kilbride, southwest Scotland on March 27, 2017. / AFP / POOL / Jane Barlow
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Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will test the endurance of the European Union.Nine months after Britons voted to leave, May will notify EU Council President Donald Tusk in a letter that the U.K. really is quitting the club it joined in 1973 .On the eve of Brexit, May, 60, has one of the toughest jobs of any recent British prime minister: holding Britain together in the face of renewed Scottish independence demands, while conducting arduous talks with 27 other EU states on finance, trade, security and a host of other complex issues.The outcome of the negotiations will shape the future of Britain's $2.6 trillion economy, the world's fifth biggest, and determine whether London can keep its place as one of the top two global financial centres.Her priorities also include leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and securing "frictionless" trade with the bloc while ending full membership of the customs union that sets external tariffs for goods imported into the bloc.She wants to negotiate Britain's divorce and the future trading relationship with the EU within the two-year period, though EU officials say that will be hard.
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