The United Kingdom will proceed with its formal exit from the European Union, known as "Brexit," in early 2017, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Thursday. "We are talking to our European friends and partners in the expectation that by the early part of next year you will see an Article 50 letter. We will invoke that," Johnson said from New York, where he is attending the United Nations talks.
Earlier on Thursday, President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz called for the U.K. to leave the EU by early 2019 in order to avoid British voters participating in EU Parliament elections. Because "Article 50," the EU membership rule allowing Brexit, triggers a two-year countdown period, it must be invoked by May 2017 to meet Schultz's deadline.
The nation voted to leave the EU in a contentious referendum in June, triggering a tremendous political shakeup, including the resignation of then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who had opposed Brexit.