The European Commission and the United Kingdom’s negotiators have reached an agreement on the entirety of the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, as provided for under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.
The Withdrawal Agreement establishes the terms of the UK’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 UK.
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 UK, and over 1 million UK 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 period, during which the EU will treat the UK 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 UK and the EU will honour all financial obligations undertaken while the UK 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.
✓ The terms of a legally operational backstop to ensure that there will be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland also contains UK commitments not to diminish rights set out in the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement 1998, and to protect North-South cooperation. It provides for the possibility to continue the Common Travel Area arrangements between Ireland and the UK, and preserves the Single Electricity Market on the island of Ireland.
✓ 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 UK’s withdrawal from the Union.
✓ A Protocol on Gibraltar, which provides for close cooperation between Spain and the UK 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.