Brexit: That’s the way out! (From a Greek media perspective)

All that is provided for in the Departure Agreement approved by the House of Commons sees the “light” of publicity. So will Brexit.

Citizens’ rights, the transitional period, economic issues: the agreement on Britain’s departure from the European Union, adopted today by the House of Commons , aims to achieve a ‘velvet divorce’ and solve the Irish puzzle border that brings … Brexit dowry.

The highlights of the 535-page agreement reached in October by Boris Johnson and EU negotiator Michel Barnier are as follows:

The transitional period for Brexit

The Retirement Agreement provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which the British will continue to apply – and benefit – from European regulations.

Their financial contribution will also continue, but they will not participate in European institutions or decision-making.

The transitional period aims to avoid a violent rupture but also to give time for the two sides to negotiate London’s future relationship with the EU, which however seems difficult to complete within the remaining time.

Under the Agreement, this period can only be extended once, until the end of 2022. But Boris Johnson refused to include this provision in the bill passed today, banning the extension.

Citizens’ rights after Brexit

The 3.2 million European citizens living in the United Kingdom and the 1.2 million British in European countries will be able to continue studying, working, receiving benefits and bringing their family to their place of residence.

The financial arrangement for Brexit

The United Kingdom will fulfill its commitments under the current EU multiannual budget (2014-2020) which also covers the transitional period. In turn, it will benefit from the resources of the European Structural Funds and the common agricultural policy.

The customs regime of Northern Ireland with Brexit

Northern Ireland will apply the United Kingdom customs regulations. Products from third countries (for example the United States, with which London is reluctant to conclude a free trade agreement), as long as they remain in the UK, will be subject to UK customs regulations. If these goods are to be exported to the EU via Northern Ireland then the UK authorities will apply the EU customs regulations.

Northern Ireland will continue to abide by EU rules to some extent, for example as regards veterinary checks.

The Parliament of Northern Ireland (Stormont) will have the final say on the long-term implementation of European legislation in this province. This “consensus” mechanism mainly concerns the settlement of goods and customs, the single electricity market, VAT and State aid.

In practice, this means that four years after the end of the transitional period, parliament can, by a simple majority, approve whether or not to continue implementing European law. In the latter case, European law will cease to apply two years later.

Towards a free trade agreement

In the “political declaration” on future Brussels-London relations, the EU promises an agreement “with no customs duties, no quotas” with Britain. In return, the EU calls for “guarantees” that the United Kingdom will not create, on its borders, a kind of “Singapore” that does not respect EU rules in the social, financial and environmental fields.

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