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Following the UK notification and the European Council guidelines, the Commission made its recommendation to the Council on 3 May that talks be opened with the UK. The General Affairs Council should then, on 22 May 2017, adopt the negotiating directives and appoint the Commission as the Union negotiator. The Commission has already nominated Michel Barnier as its chief negotiator. According to the Commission, the actual negotiating period would only be around 18 months, to allow time for the conclusion of the withdrawal deal (EP consent, and conclusion of the agreement by the Council) to be completed in time for the 29 March 2019 deadline for UK membership of the EU to end (if the negotiating period is not extended). The UK government has committed to submitting a final deal to the UK Parliament for a yes or no vote, before the EP votes on the matter. It is unclear what would happen if the UK Parliament were to vote to reject a final deal.

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