Public Policy

March 21, 2017

Letter to Brussels: do not return to sender


How do you bring to an end an historic and globally significant relationship that has lasted for over 40 years and has arguably ended the traditional cycle of conflict on the European continent, and then encapsulate it in one short letter?  

The Public Policy practice at Instinctif Partners has put together this draft for the British Government. We have taken the short and sweet view  – no verbosity, no pomposity and certainly no triumphalism. You might find our draft a little saccharine sweet, but in playlist terms we’ve gone for Abba over Black Sabbath.

10 Downing Street

To: His Excellency Mr Donald Tusk

29th March 2017

Notification of Withdrawal from the European Union

I am writing to you, following the vote by the British people, to notify you of the decision of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territory of Gibraltar to withdraw from the European Union, in accordance with Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

On the 23rd June 2016, the British people voted in an historic referendum to leave the European Union. It is the task of Her Majesty’s Government to now take this process forward over the next two years.

The decision to leave the European Union represents no desire to become more distant to you, our European friends and neighbours. We do not want to turn the clock back to the days when Europe was less peaceful, less secure and less able to trade freely. It was a vote to restore, as we see it, our parliamentary sovereignty, and to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit.

We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends. We want to buy your goods and services, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are more secure and more prosperous as a continent.

At a time when together we face a serious threat from our enemies, Britain’s armed forces and intelligence services will continue to help to keep people in Europe safe from terrorism and military threat. And at a time when there is growing concern about European security, Britain’s servicemen and women, based in European countries including Estonia, Poland and Romania, will continue to defend our shared European values. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe.

In the coming weeks and months we will work together to shape a future that benefits the citizens of both the UK and EU Member States. These negotiations will be based on mutual respect and we look forward as a priority to protecting the rights of European citizens in the UK and UK citizens in Member States. We will approach these negotiations in good faith, not focussing on where we disagree, but rather looking at where we can constructively work together.

The purpose of this letter is not to set out the details that we would like to see in our future relationship with the European Union, nor is it to set out our priorities for the negotiations that will follow. Rather, it is to set out the principles that will drive those negotiations and shape our future agreement together.

I hope and believe that together we can reach an agreement in the spirit of this letter. It is in our interest and that of the European Union to shape a positive future relationship which works for all our citizens. I look forward to discussing this with you and colleagues further in the weeks and months ahead.

I am copying this letter to the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament and all Heads of State and Government in the European Council.

Yours sincerely

Rt Hon Theresa May MP



We’re presenting this as a teaser for more Brexit publications coming out in the next week in the run up to Trigger Day. For more, contact us here.