BRUSSELS, March 10 European Union institutions
will be ready to respond within 48 hours to Britain's
notification that it plans to leave the 28-nation bloc, the
chairman of EU leaders, Donald Tusk, said on Friday.
Britain has said it will submit its formal notification to
exit the EU by the end of March following last summer's
referendum. Some diplomats expect it to come as early as next
The notification would trigger a legal process lasting two
years during which London would negotiate the terms of the
divorce. British Prime Minister Theresa May hopes that time can
also be used to discuss future trade and other relations.
"We are well prepared for the whole procedure and I have no
doubt that we will be ready within 48 hours, I think it is a
proper time to react," Tusk told a news conference.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that depending on the
exact timing of the British notification, EU leaders would
organise a special summit, at which they would agree broad
negotiating guidelines for the European Commission to conduct
the divorce talks with London.
"If the letter comes next week, the special summit will be
on April 6," Merkel told a news conference.
"If it comes later than next week then we'll have to find a
date after April 6. We are fully prepared and we will wait with
interest. But on which day it will come in March is not of such
great significance," she said.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Gareth Jones)