A new chapter in the EU history

"Today marks an injury for all of us. But it is also a new beginning." David Sassoli

On 29 January, the European Parliament approved the Brexit agreement in the plenary.

Subsequently, on 30 January, the Council, by written procedure, gave its consent for the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement on behalf of the EU.

The withdrawal agreement, which guarantees an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, concerns citizens' rights, financial settlement, the transitional period, the protocols on Ireland, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Gibraltar, governance and other separation issues.

The entry into force of this agreement marks the end of the period provided for in Article 50 TEU and the beginning of a transitional period which will last until 31 December 2020, the aim of which is to give citizens and businesses more time to adapt to the new situation.

From 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020, the United Kingdom will therefore cease to participate in the EU decision-making process and will no longer be represented in the Union's institutions, bodies, offices and agencies as it has become a third country.

During the transitional period:

the UK will continue to participate in the Customs Union, the Single Market and all EU policies;

the EU acquis will continue to apply to the United Kingdom, any subsequent changes to the acquis will automatically apply to the United Kingdom as well;

the direct effectiveness and primacy of EU law will be maintained;

the United Kingdom will have to ensure that all existing EU instruments and structures relating to regulation, budget, supervision, judicial activity and enforcement, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, are respected;

the UK will have to respect EU trade policy and may negotiate trade agreements with third countries which may enter into force before the end of the transitional period, only with the EU's prior consent;

the United Kingdom will have to comply with its obligations under all international agreements concluded by the EU.

The UK's withdrawal marks a new chapter in the history of the European Union and yesterday's statements by David Sassoli, Charles Michel and Ursola Von der Leyen aim to look ahead, to address the specific internal and external challenges that will have to be faced in the years to come, and to involve citizens, civil society and national parliaments more closely in the discussions and decision-making processes that will shape the future of Europe. This is a sign of a European Union that will no longer be the same.

Written by Giada Pagnoni.

Original article: published on February 1, 2020.

Translated by Simona M. Vallefuoco.

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