The European Union (EU) Withdrawal Agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms of the United Kingdom`s (UK) departure from the EU. The agreement has been a subject of contention since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016. The negotiations took almost two years, and the agreement was finally signed on January 31, 2020. But what is in the EU Withdrawal Agreement? Let`s take a look.

The transition period

The most immediate and significant aspect of the Withdrawal Agreement is the transition period. This is a period that runs from the date the UK leaves the EU until December 31, 2020. During this period, the UK continues to follow all EU rules and laws, but it no longer has any say in the decision-making processes of the EU. The transition period was designed to give the UK time to negotiate new trade deals and adjust to life outside of the EU.

Citizens` rights

The agreement also protects the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. It guarantees that EU nationals can continue to live and work in the UK, and that UK nationals can do the same in the EU. These protections apply to both those who have lived in the UK or EU before the end of the transition period and those who arrive during the transition period.

The financial settlement

The UK agreed to pay a financial settlement to the EU as part of the Withdrawal Agreement. The settlement covers the UK`s financial commitments to the EU, including the EU budget, outstanding debts, and pensions for EU officials. The exact amount of the settlement has not been disclosed, but it is estimated to be around £39 billion.

The Irish border

The Irish border was one of the most significant sticking points during the negotiations. The Withdrawal Agreement includes a protocol that creates a “special arrangement” for Northern Ireland. Under this arrangement, Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules and regulations on things like food standards and product safety. It also means that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Future trade negotiations

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the framework for future trade negotiations between the UK and the EU. It includes a commitment to negotiate a free trade agreement by the end of the transition period. There are also provisions for cooperation in areas such as security and law enforcement.

Conclusion

The EU Withdrawal Agreement is a complex document that covers a wide range of issues. It sets out the terms of the UK`s departure from the EU and provides a framework for future negotiations. While it has its critics, the agreement is undoubtedly a significant step towards a new era in the UK`s relationship with the EU.

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