After years of heated debate and negotiations, the UK`s withdrawal agreement from the European Union has finally been passed.
On January 31, 2020, the UK officially left the EU. However, the transition period, during which the UK and EU worked to finalize their future relationship, was set to end on December 31, 2020. With just days to spare, the UK Parliament passed the EU withdrawal agreement on December 30, 2020.
The EU withdrawal agreement outlines the terms on which the UK will leave the European Union. It includes provisions for the UK`s financial settlement with the EU, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, and the Northern Ireland Protocol.
One of the key points of contention during negotiations was the Northern Ireland Protocol. This protocol establishes a special relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU, with Northern Ireland remaining in the EU`s single market for goods and applying EU customs rules at its ports. This was a necessary compromise to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which could have jeopardized the peace process in the region.
Another important aspect of the EU withdrawal agreement is the financial settlement that the UK must make to the EU. The UK has agreed to pay a “divorce bill” of £39 billion to settle outstanding financial obligations to the EU.
The EU withdrawal agreement also sets out the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. EU citizens living in the UK before the end of the transition period will be able to apply for settled status, which will allow them to continue living and working in the UK. Similarly, UK citizens living in the EU will be able to apply for residency rights.
Passing the EU withdrawal agreement was a significant milestone for the UK as it prepares to forge a new path outside the EU. The agreement provides certainty and stability for individuals and businesses alike, allowing them to plan for the future. However, it is important to note that the agreement is not the end of the story. Negotiations between the UK and the EU will continue as they work to build a new relationship based on trade, security, and other issues.
Overall, the passing of the EU withdrawal agreement is a significant step towards the UK`s independence from the EU. While there are still many uncertainties, the agreement provides a solid foundation for the UK to move forward and build a new relationship with its European neighbors.