This week, Theresa May triggered Article 50 which formally set in motion Britain’s intention to leave the European Union.

While Britain is now leaving the European Union, it is not leaving Europe.  The Prime Minister and Europe’s negotiator, Michel Barnier have both agreed that their goal is to establish comprehensive free trade agreement between the UK and the EU.  Both countries stand at the same point on the starting line, facing in the same direction as the gun is fired.

The Legatum Institute is committed to seeing people lifted from poverty to prosperity and we believe establishing good free trade agreements is an important tool to create further prosperity.

The Prime Minister has laid out a vision of an open and global Britain. This clarity of vision has enabled the EU to state that its goal is also a comprehensive free trade agreement with the UK.  This is significant as on the morning after the referendum this was far from likely.

It is crucial that we come together as a country in order to see the best possible trade agreement. We are on a voyage to rediscover who we are and what we stand for.  In order to have a successful outcome, in order to achieve the Brexit prize that the Prime Minister has outlined, we must be the kind of country that welcomes trade and investment. We must be the country that is a force for deeper liberalisation, more competition and better protection of property rights, not only with Europe, but around the world.

This will require leadership from Britain’s Government and it will require leadership from the British people.  We must take full advantage of this unfrozen moment, this inflection point in our nation’s history, to deliver a result that could see global production output increase by 2% year on year for the next fifteen years.

Britain itself stands to benefit if a comprehensive agreement can be reached with the EU, and trade deals with other countries, as suggested by our Special Trade Commission. In the meantime, we must ensure that the appropriate interim measures are agreed so that trade disruptions are minimised, which both the UK and EU have agreed in principle.

The outcome of this process will be constrained only by the limits of our ambition and imagination. But in order for us to have a successful outcome we must remain the open and liberal country that we have always been. Only then will we see Britain truly flourish.