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​Brexit: The EU and the United Kingdom have published a new withdrawal agreement

March 19th 2018 - The European Union has signed a principal agreement with the United Kingdom regarding the transition period after the British leave.

Transition period

The UK will leave the EU as from March 29, 2019. An agreement has been reached about the transition period. The transition will be for a limited period, as requested by the British government and the European Union. During this period, the UK will no longer participate in the decision-making process of the EU, as it will no longer be a Member State as of March 30, 2019. The transition period will last until 31-12-2020. The British are allowed to conclude Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) for the after Brexit period during the transition period of 21 months.

According to EU negotiator Michel Barnier this will be very tough as they will step out of 750 international agreements the EU has signed upon or is involved in.

However nonetheless all the advantages and benefits of the Single Market, the Customs Union, and EU policies will remain during this transition period, and the UK should therefore also respect all the EU's rules, as if it were a Member State.

The EU and UK have committed to working during this period in good faith and to continue to respect the principle of sincere cooperation.

Ireland and Northern Ireland

On Ireland and Northern Ireland, the EU and the UK agreed to include in the withdrawal agreement text published on how the Irish issues will be dealt with. Northern-Ireland should partly remain within the European market and Customs Union, although for a limited period. The UK will continue to strive for an extensive trade agreement, which makes special arrangements for Northern Ireland no longer necessary. Agreements have also been made about the rights of persons from European Member states who move to the United Kingdom during the transitional period. 'Whoever arrives in the United Kingdom during this period has the same rights as for the Brexit'.

The UK and the EU negotiating teams aim to finalize the entire Withdrawal Agreement by October.

Brexit withdrawal agreement

A new version of the draft withdrawal agreement was published on the 19th of March 2018 in three colors:

  • In green, the points on which there is formal agreement between the negotiators.
  • In yellow, the points on which they have reached a political agreement, but further clarifications are needed in the weeks to come.
  • In white, the Union's proposed text, UK text, on which discussions will continue, either because there is disagreements or divergences, or because more time is required to get to the bottom of things.

Please find the draft withdrawal agreement here.

For further information you may also want to read: the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines on the framework for the future EU-UK relationship, 23 March 2018.

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