Withdrawal Agreement Facts: What You Need to Know
As the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union, the Withdrawal Agreement has become a hot topic. The agreement, negotiated between the UK and the EU, outlines the terms of their divorce and sets the stage for future trade negotiations. Here are some important facts to keep in mind.
1. The Withdrawal Agreement has been approved by both the UK and the EU.
After months of negotiations, the Withdrawal Agreement was finally approved by both parties in November 2018. It has been ratified by the EU, but has yet to be approved by the UK Parliament.
2. The Withdrawal Agreement includes a transition period.
One of the key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement is the transition period, which will last from the UK’s departure date (currently set for October 31, 2019) until December 31, 2020. During this time, the UK will remain part of the EU’s single market and customs union, and will be subject to existing EU laws and regulations. The transition period can be extended, but both the UK and the EU would need to agree to it.
3. The Withdrawal Agreement addresses the issue of the Irish border.
One of the most contentious issues in the Brexit negotiations has been how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (an EU member state). The Withdrawal Agreement includes a “backstop” arrangement that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent solution can be found. Some UK politicians have opposed the backstop, arguing that it would keep the UK tied to EU rules and regulations indefinitely.
4. The Withdrawal Agreement includes a financial settlement.
As part of the divorce settlement, the UK will have to pay a financial settlement to the EU. The exact amount is still being negotiated, but it is estimated to be around £39 billion. This settlement covers the UK’s contributions to the EU budget until the end of the current budget period (2020), as well as other outstanding financial obligations.
5. The Withdrawal Agreement is just the first step.
While the Withdrawal Agreement is an important milestone in the Brexit process, it is just the first step. Negotiating a future trade agreement between the UK and the EU will be a complex process that could take years. The Withdrawal Agreement provides a framework for those negotiations, but many details still need to be worked out.
In summary, the Withdrawal Agreement is a complex document that addresses a wide range of issues related to the UK’s departure from the EU. While it has been approved by both parties, it still needs to be ratified by the UK Parliament. Moving forward, negotiations on a future trade agreement will be equally challenging, but the Withdrawal Agreement provides a starting point for those discussions.