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The European leaders meet on November 25 in Brussels to sign the agreement for the UK to withdraw from the European Union, and the political declaration regarding the future relationship between the two sides
European and British negotiators have convened on a 600 page withdrawal agreement covering all the elements of an orderly pull-out, scheduled for March 29, 2019, such as the rights of citizens, financial regulations, a period of transition, governance, as well as protocols with Gibraltar, Cyprus and Ireland, avoiding a tough border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. European leaders have hailed the understanding, taking into account the prolonged and difficult negotiations. The EU foreign ministers, meeting later in Brussels, have green lighted the agreement.
In London, PM Theresa May got the support of her cabinet for her proposed accord at the end of a long and tense session, and the following day she went to the British Parliament to get the needed vote, speaking about the terms of the agreement. This would allow Britain to maintain a close relationship with the EU, protecting the rights of citizens, avoiding a tough border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Theresa May specified, saying she got the best deal for Great Britain. She said that difficult choices were made, especially on the safeguard clause for Northern Ireland, but the decision made by the cabinet was for the government to accept the draft agreement regarding the split with the EU and the political statement. She said her country was making a decisive step, allowing it to advance and finalize the agreement soon.
The decisions were tough, but she said she believes they are strongly aligned with national interests. She added that it was a choice for British people, to either accept this agreement, which answers the vote in the referendum, which restores control of money, legislation, and frontiers, ending free movement of people, protecting jobs, security, and unity for the Kingdom, or leave the union with no understanding in place. According to the agreement, the UK and the EU will access each other's markets on equal footing. This allows the existence of a safeguard clause in the case of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which provides for a finite period of customs union, such that Britain can settle the status of the border without reverting to the tough border in place before the peace accords.
Theresa May said that her approach in the negotiations was to put national interest first, with no partisanship and no personal political interests. She said she strongly believed that she chose the best way for the country and its citizens. However, she did lose some of her supporters, and is facing a major bailout in her cabinet, with several members departing.
The declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the UK will be submitted next to the agreement reached on November 14, which is structured on five chapters on cooperation, such as economic exchanges, services, investments, and the protection of citizens. In terms of criminal law, quick and effective agreements are provided for, allowing the UK and the EU extradition of suspects and convicted people. According to the draft, the two sides commit to taking the necessary measures for the document to come into effect by the end of 2020.
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