News | Published January 24 2020

UK withdrawal agreement signed by EU leaders

Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the heads of the European Commission and Council, signed the Withdrawal Agreement today, prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union next Friday.

On Thursday the Queen approved the agreement, and it is believed that the European Parliament will do the same this coming Wednesday.

The document is currently being transported to Downing Street to allow for Boris Johnson to sign it.

Earlier in the week, Johnson stated "at times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we've done it.

"Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us and focus on delivering a bright, exciting future - with better hospitals and schools, safer streets and opportunity spread to every corner of our country."

Von der Leyen has voiced her concern that the government will be unable to produce a deal prior to the end of 2020.

However, Charles Michel, the former prime minster of Belgium, tweeted that "things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain.

"We start a new chapter as partners and allies."

Michel Barnier, the EU Commission official who has been part of Brexit negotiations since 2016, was also present at the signing ceremony.

The transition period, which will last until the end of the year, mandates that the UK continues to operate under EU rules. The UK currently aims to agree a deal by 2021, relying on future ties.

The UK will have been in the EU for 46 years at the time of its departure.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
January 24 2020

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