UK PM Johnson signs Withdrawal Agreement, paving way for Brexit

Cheryl Sanders
January 25, 2020

The European Parliament is now expected to vote on Wednesday to approve the agreement, paving the way for Britain to leave next Friday, January 31.

The European parliament's constitutional affairs committee backed the agreement on Thursday by 23 votes in favour to three against, setting up the final act next week when a plenary session of the EU parliament stages its final vote to ratify the deal.

Following MPs and peers voting to approve the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and Queen Elizabeth's rubber stamping, commission president Ursula von der Leyen and council president Charles Michel signed the document that will allow Britain to leave the European Union next week.

"Things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain".

The EU flag, which flies outside the building close to the commission's Berlaymont headquarters, will be taken down before normal Brussels business resumes on Monday.

The move could potentially result in taxes of 10 percent on cars from Germany and 30 percent on some types of French cheese, while several countries, such as Japan, the US, Australia and New Zealand, will reportedly be prioritised and marked as "tier one" states during trade talks.

Chief negotiator for the EU, Michel Barnier, continues to tweet out documents that are involved in discussions, apparently to create further transparency.

This will be the last step to formalize the split on the European side, after Britain's Queen Elizabeth II gave royal assent to withdrawal legislation earlier on Thursday, capping three years of hard and complicated negotiations.

British voters backed leaving the European Union in a June 2016 referendum, and after lengthy negotiations and several delays, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new government plans to "get Brexit done" next week.

If a trade deal is not ready in time, the United Kingdom can expect checks and tariffs on United Kingdom products going to the EU.

Once the UK leaves the bloc, an 11-month transition period is foreseen for a EU-UK trade deal to be reached.

Assuming the European Parliament also gives the green light, the United Kingdom will formally leave the EU on January 31 with a withdrawal deal.

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