The first is, like any ‘divorce’, fundamentally a question of settling the terms. This is reflected in a formal Brexit withdrawal agreement. It includes matters like the protection of rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, the financial settlement between the UK and EU, and guarantees to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

This document should ensure an orderly withdrawal and includes a transition Brexit period that allows citizens and business to adapt to the changes.

Signature of the UK Withdrawal Agreement Brexit

The result of the negotiations is the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. It was formally signed by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also signed the Agreement in the United Kingdom.

Half circle filled with moving gears. The second part is a political declaration setting out the framework of the future relations between the EU and UK.

The EU wants to have the closest possible partnership with the UK, which would cover trade and economic cooperation, security and defence, among other areas.

Both to settle the Brexit divorce and to prepare for the future, the EU has been united, transparent and prepared.

Will Big Ben Bong on January 31st?

Finally London’s Big Ben will not ‘bong for Brexit’ on January 31.

Downing Street has indicated that Big Ben, the bell inside the UK parliament’s Elizabeth Clock Tower will not chime for Brexit, despite a campaign by a pro-Brexit Conservative MP and money raised via the GoFundMe website.

Big Ben chimed when the UK joined the European Union and it should bong for Brexit, a prominent Catholic Tory former leader has said.

If they’ve managed to make it sound for other things I don’t see why they can’t make it sound when we leave the EU. Sir Iain Duncan Smith

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the first Catholic to serve as a Conservative leader, said Big Ben rings on all the “big occasions” and argued that it is only fitting that it marks the UK’s exit from the EU.

BREXIT DAY : 31 January 2020 at midnight (Brussels time)

The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020 at midnight (Brussels time). It will no longer be a Member State of the European Union. This is a decision that the EU regrets but respects.

Brexit Transition Period 

When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on 31 January 2020, after full ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, we will enter into the Brexit transition period. This time-limited period was agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement and will last until at least 31 December 2020. Until then, it will be business as usual for citizens, consumers, businesses, investors, students and researchers in both the EU and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom will no longer be represented in the EU institutions, agencies, bodies and offices but EU law will still apply in the United Kingdom until the end of the transition period.

Signature of the UK Withdrawal Agreement Brexit

The EU and the United Kingdom will use these months to agree on a new and fair partnership for the future, based on the Political Declaration agreed between the EU and the United Kingdom in October 2019.

The Commission will adopt comprehensive draft negotiating directives on 3 February. It will then be for the General Affairs Council to adopt this mandate. Formal negotiations with the United Kingdom can then begin.

As for the structure of the negotiations, this will be agreed between the EU and the United Kingdom.

Who will lead the negotiations on the EU side? 

In line with the Commission’s decision of 22 October 2019, the Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom (UKTF) is in charge of the preparation and conduct of the negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom. Michel Barnier is the Head of the Task Force.

Michel Barnier

The UKTF will coordinate the Commission’s work on all strategic, operational, legal and financial issues related to the relations with the United Kingdom.

The UKTF will also retain its coordinating role with other institutions, namely the European Parliament and the Council, under the direct authority of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

What is the Brexit transition period? 

The transition period is a time-limited period, starting on 1 February 2020. The exact terms of the transition period are set out in Part Four of the Withdrawal Agreement. It is currently foreseen that the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. It can be extended once by up to one to two years. Such a decision must be taken jointly by the EU and United Kingdom before 1 July 2020.

What status will the United Kingdom have during the transition period?

The United Kingdom will no longer be a Member State of the European Union and of the European Atomic Energy Community as of 1 February 2020. As a third country, it will no longer participate in the EU’s decision-making processes. In particular:

It will no longer participate in the EU institutions (such as the European Parliament and the Council), EU agencies, offices or other bodies.
However, all institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the European Union continue to hold the powers conferred upon them by EU law in relation to the United Kingdom and to natural and legal persons residing or established in the United Kingdom throughout the Brexit transition period.

The Court of Justice of the European Union continues to have jurisdiction over the United Kingdom during the transition period. This also applies to the interpretation and implementation of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

The transition period gives the United Kingdom time to negotiate the future relationship with the EU.

Finally, during the transition period, the United Kingdom can conclude international agreements with third countries and international organisations even in areas of EU exclusive competence, provided that these agreements do not apply during the transition period.

What obligations will the United Kingdom have during the transition period? 

Trade Hamburg Port Of Hamburg Container Ship Germany

All EU law, across all policy areas, will still be applicable to and in the United Kingdom, with the exception of provisions of the Treaties and acts, which were not binding upon and in the United Kingdom before the entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement. The same is true for acts amending such acts.

In particular, the United Kingdom will:

  • remain in the EU Customs Union and in the Single Market with all four freedoms, and all EU policies applying;
  • continue to apply the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs policy: The United Kingdom may choose to exercise its right to opt-in/opt-out with regard to measures amending, replacing or building upon those EU acts the United Kingdom was bound to during its membership;
  • be subject to the EU’s enforcement mechanisms, such as infringement procedures;
  • have to respect all international agreements the EU has signed, and will not be able to apply new agreements in areas of EU exclusive competence, unless authorised to do so by the EU.

What happens to the European Union’s external action during the transition period? 

The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSDP) will apply to the United Kingdom during the transition period. For example, the United Kingdom will continue to have the possibility to participate in CSDP missions and operations. EU’s restrictive measures will continue to be applicable to and in the United Kingdom. Wherever there is a need for coordination, the United Kingdom will be consulted, on a case-by-case basis.

What happens to fisheries during the Brexit transition period? 

The United Kingdom will be bound to the Common Fisheries Policy of the EU and the terms of relevant international agreements.

Can the United Kingdom conclude new international agreements with other third countries during the transition period? 

The United Kingdom will be able to take steps to prepare and establish new international arrangements of its own, including in areas of EU exclusive competence. Such agreements can only enter into force or start applying during the transition period if explicitly authorised by the EU.

What is the Brexit timeline of the transition period? Can it be extended? 

The transition period starts on 1 February 2020, and will end on 31 December 2020, unless a decision to extend it is taken by mutual EU-UK agreement before 1 July 2020. Such an extension can only be decided once, for a period of 1 or 2 years.

European Map after BREXIT

What is the Withdrawal Agreement? 

The Withdrawal Agreement establishes the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. It ensures that the withdrawal will happen in an orderly manner, and offers legal certainty once the Treaties and EU law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom.

The Withdrawal Agreement covers the following areas:

  • Common provisions, setting out standard clauses for the proper understanding and operation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • Citizens’ rights, protecting the life choices of over 3 million EU citizens in the United Kingdom, and over 1 million United Kingdom nationals in EU countries, safeguarding their right to stay and ensuring that they can continue to contribute to their communities.
  • Separation issues, ensuring a smooth winding-down of current arrangements and providing for an orderly withdrawal (for example, to allow for goods placed on the market before the end of the transition to continue to their destination, for the protection of existing intellectual property rights including geographical indications, the winding down of ongoing police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and other administrative and judicial procedures, the use of data and information exchanged before the end of the transition period, issues related to Euratom, and other matters).
  • A transition Brexit period, during which the EU will treat the United Kingdom as if it were a Member State, with the exception of participation in the EU institutions and governance structures. The transition period will help in particular administrations, businesses and citizens to adapt to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.
  • The financial settlement, ensuring that the United Kingdom and the EU will honour all financial obligations undertaken while the United Kingdom was a member of the Union.
  • The overall governance structure of the Withdrawal Agreement, ensuring the effective management, implementation and enforcement of the agreement, including appropriate dispute settlement mechanisms.
  • A legally operative solution that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and safeguards the integrity of the EU Single Market.
  • A protocol on the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus, protecting the interests of Cypriots who live and work in the Sovereign Base Areas following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union.
  • A Protocol on Gibraltar, which provides for close cooperation between Spain and the United Kingdom in respect of Gibraltar on the implementation of citizens’ rights provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, and concerns administrative cooperation between competent authorities in a number of policy areas.

How will Britain and Europe build a new relationship after Brexit?

Brexit negotiations have just started!

United Kingdom’s withdrawal and its future after Brexit relationship with the European Union.


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