European leaders have finally approved a deal on the UK’s departure from the EU during an emergency summit in Brussels. The agreement now has to be endorsed– or rejected – by British MPs.
“EU27 has endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future EU-UK relations,” European Council President Donald Tusk said after less than an hour of the summit.
The agreement – approved earlier by the UK government – consists of two key documents. The first, a 585-page withdrawal paper, will guide both sides all the way up to Britain’s departure from the bloc, which is set for March 29, 2019.
The legally binding text covers the UK’s hefty “divorce bill,” citizens’ rights, and a number of measures to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and EU member state Ireland. Starting from March 2019, Britain will enter a transition period set to last until December 2020.
The second, a non-binding document, is a political declaration that outlines aspirations for the future, including maintaining trade relationships, common foreign and defense policies, as well as close ties in law enforcement and criminal justice.