Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Author (Corporate) ,
Publication Date 14/11/2018
Content Type


Negotiators from the United Kingdom and the European Union announced on 14 November 2018 that a draft agreement had been reached on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Further information:

The European Commission recommended to the European Council to find that decisive progress was made in the negotiations. The UK Prime Minister discussed the content of this draft agreement with her cabinet and got its endorsement. Political turbulence followed in the United Kingdom, due to disagreement on the content of these documents. The withdrawal agreement - together with the draft political declaration on the future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom - were eventually endorsed by the European Council on 25 November.

The UK Government published on 3 December the legal position provided by the Attorney General regarding the withdrawal agreement. Following a vote in the UK Parliament, the full version was published on 5 December. On 14 January 2019, the UK Prime Minister, the European Commission President and the head of the European Council exchanged letters on further reasssurances regarding some of the issues behind the political turmoil in the United Kingdom regarding this Agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement establishes the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It ensures that the withdrawal happens in an orderly manner, and offers legal certainty once the Treaties and EU law cease to apply to the UK. The documents cover the following areas:

  • Common provisions on the understanding and operation of the Withdrawal Agreement;
  • Citizens' rights of EU citizens residing in the UK and UK citizens residing in EU member states;
  • Separation issues, which aim to ensure a smooth and orderly withdrawal of existing arrangements;
  • Transition period, in which the EU treats the UK as a member state, with the exception of participation in EU institutions and governance;
  • Financial settlement, ensuring that both sides honour all financial obligations while the UK was a member of the EU;
  • Governance structure of the Withdrawal Agreement;
  • Terms of a legally operational backstop to ensure that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland;
  • Protocol on the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus;
  • Protocol on Gibraltar

The negotiators also agreed on an outline of the political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship.

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union was triggered by the UK Prime Minister in March 2017. Negotiations formally began in June 2017. In December 2017, the EU and the UK published a Joint Report, setting out the areas of agreement between both sides on withdrawal issues. This was accompanied by a Communication published by the European Commission. In March 2018, both sides published a draft Withdrawal Agreement in which different colours highlighted areas of agreement and disagreement.

Source Link
Alternative sources
Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
BBC News, 15.11.18: What does the draft withdrawal agreement reveal?
IfG: Explainers: The November Draft Withdrawal Agreement
The Conversation: Brexit draft withdrawal agreement – experts react
The Guardian, 15.11.18: Theresa May's Brexit deal: everything you need to know
EurActiv, 15.11.18: The 585-page draft Brexit agreement in a nutshell
The Conversation, 16.11.18: Theresa May’s deal is almost exactly the Brexit the UK voted for
Open Europe: Open Europe responds to the draft Withdrawal Agreement
Chatham House: Expert Comment, 16.11.18: In Brexit Negotiations, Both Sides Have Now Compromised
The Conversation, 16.11.18: Theresa May’s Brexit deal: here’s how the factions want to rewrite it
Open Europe: Blog, 20.11.18: European states are unhappy with some aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement
Cardiff University Blogs: Politics & Governance, 03.12.18: Three reasons to support the Withdrawal Agreement
The Guardian, 14.01.19: The EU and Theresa May backstop letters explained

BBC News, 14.11.18: UK and EU 'agree text' of draft withdrawal agreement
Politico, 14.11.18: Theresa May calls Cabinet meeting to approve Brexit ‘draft agreement’
EurActiv, 13.11.18: EU, UK reach draft Brexit deal but details remain shrouded
Deutsche Welle, 13.11.18: UK reaches draft Brexit divorce deal with Brussels negotiators
The Law Society, 16.11.18: UK government publishes draft Withdrawal Agreement

UK: Government: Policy Paper: Withdrawal Agreement explainer and Technical Explanatory note on Articles 6-8 on the Northern Ireland Protocol
European Commission: Press Release, 14.11.18: European Commission recommends to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in Brexit negotiations
European Commission: Fact Sheet: Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland
European Commission: Fact Sheet: Brexit Negotiations: What is in the Withdrawal Agreement
European Commission: Déclaration par Michel Barnier
CBI: Press Release, 16.11.18: 'Don't go backwards on hard won progress'
CBI: News, 18.11.18: Ibec/CBI NI Joint Business Council joint statement
Government of France: News, 15.11.18: Provisional agreement on Brexit
UK Government: : Legal position presented by the Attorney General on the Withdrawal Agreement
UK Government: Letter from the Attorney General on the Legal Effect of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland
Joint letter of President Tusk and President Juncker to Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 14 January 2019

ESO Records
Brexit – The United Kingdom and the European Union [After the Referendum]
Dispute over Gibraltar following agreement on UK withdrawal from the European Union

Subject Categories
Subject Tags
Keywords ,
Countries / Regions
International Organisations