The EU Withdrawal Agreement: What You Need to Know in January 2020

The United Kingdom`s exit from the European Union has been one of the most debated and controversial topics in recent years. After several years of negotiations, the Withdrawal Agreement was finally agreed upon by the EU and the UK in October 2019. The Agreement outlines the terms of the UK`s departure, and the deadline for finalizing the divorce is January 31st, 2020.

So what exactly does the Withdrawal Agreement entail? Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. The Transition Period

The Withdrawal Agreement includes a transition period that will last until December 31st, 2020. During this time, the UK will still be subject to EU rules and regulations, but will no longer be a member state. The purpose of the transition period is to allow time for the UK and the EU to negotiate their future relationship.

2. The UK`s Financial Obligations

The UK has agreed to pay a financial settlement to the EU as part of the Withdrawal Agreement. This settlement includes payment for outstanding budget commitments, contributions to EU programs and projects, and pensions for EU staff. The estimated total cost is between £35 billion and £39 billion.

3. The Status of EU Citizens

The Withdrawal Agreement guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and vice versa. This means that EU citizens living in the UK will be able to continue living and working here with the same rights they currently have. The UK and the EU have also agreed to set up a system to make it easy for EU citizens to apply for settled status.

4. The Irish Border

One of the most contentious issues in the Brexit negotiations has been the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Withdrawal Agreement creates a «backstop» to prevent a hard border between the two countries. If a future trade deal between the UK and the EU does not address this issue, then Northern Ireland will remain in the EU`s single market and customs union.

5. Future Negotiations

The Withdrawal Agreement only covers the terms of the UK`s departure from the EU. Negotiations on the UK`s future relationship with the EU, including trade and security, will take place during the transition period. It is expected that these negotiations will be complex and may take several years to complete.

In conclusion, the EU Withdrawal Agreement is a complex document that outlines the terms of the UK`s departure from the European Union. As we approach the January 31st deadline, it is important to keep in mind the key points of the Agreement, including the transition period, financial obligations, the status of EU citizens, the Irish border, and future negotiations. While there is still much uncertainty surrounding the UK`s future relationship with the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement provides a framework for moving forward.