Brexit – The Revised Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration
Brexit, or Britain’s exit from the European Union, has been a hot topic of discussion since the referendum in 2016. After months of negotiations, the UK and the EU came to an agreement on the terms of the withdrawal in November 2018. However, the agreement was rejected by the UK parliament in January 2019, and the negotiations continued. Finally, in October 2019, a revised withdrawal agreement and political declaration were agreed upon. In this article, we will discuss the key points of the revised agreement and declaration.
The Withdrawal Agreement
The revised withdrawal agreement is essentially the same as the previous one, with a few changes. The most significant change is the removal of the controversial backstop provision, which was designed to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (which is part of the EU). The UK government had argued that the backstop would keep the UK tied to the EU indefinitely, which was unacceptable. The revised agreement replaces the backstop with a new protocol that creates a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, allowing Northern Ireland to remain in the EU’s single market for goods while still being part of the UK customs territory.
The revised agreement also includes provisions for citizens’ rights, the financial settlement (or the “divorce bill”), and the transition period. Citizens of the UK and the EU who are living in each other’s jurisdictions will be allowed to stay and continue working and studying. The UK will also pay a financial settlement to the EU as part of its obligations for leaving the bloc. The transition period, during which the UK will remain in the EU’s single market and customs union, will last until the end of 2020, with the possibility of being extended for one or two years.
The Political Declaration
The political declaration sets out the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It is non-binding but provides guidance on the direction of the negotiations. The revised political declaration reflects the UK government’s desire for a looser relationship with the EU. It outlines the UK’s intention to leave the single market and customs union, but seeks to establish a free trade agreement with the EU.
The declaration also provides for cooperation in areas such as security, foreign policy, and defence. It establishes a governance framework for the future relationship, outlining the creation of a joint committee to oversee the implementation of the agreement.
The revised withdrawal agreement and political declaration represent a compromise between the EU and the UK. They provide a legal framework for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, while also setting the foundation for a future relationship between the two entities. While the agreements have yet to be ratified by the UK parliament, they represent a significant step forward in the Brexit process. As the UK prepares to leave the EU, the terms of the revised agreements will play an essential role in shaping the country’s future relationship with the bloc.