As of October 17, 2019, the Brexit withdrawal agreement has been agreed upon by both the UK and the EU. This marks a major step forward in the Brexit process, as the agreement outlines the terms of the UK`s withdrawal from the EU.
The agreement covers a range of issues, including citizens` rights, financial settlements, and the Irish border. One of the most contentious issues throughout the Brexit negotiations has been the Irish border, with concerns about the potential for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The withdrawal agreement includes a “backstop” provision to prevent a hard border, ensuring that there will be no physical infrastructure or checks at the border.
Another key element of the withdrawal agreement is the financial settlement. The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget until the end of the current multi-year budget cycle in 2020, and will also make additional payments to cover its share of pension liabilities and other ongoing commitments. This financial settlement has been a major point of contention, with some arguing that the UK should not be responsible for ongoing EU spending after it leaves.
The agreement also includes provisions for protecting citizens` rights, including the right to residency and access to healthcare. This has been a major concern for UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK, and the withdrawal agreement aims to provide some certainty and stability for those affected.
Overall, the agreement represents a major breakthrough in the often-fractious Brexit negotiations. It is not without its critics, however, and it remains to be seen whether the agreement will be approved by the UK parliament. Nonetheless, the fact that both sides have agreed on the terms of the withdrawal represents a significant step forward, and provides some hope that a negotiated Brexit may still be possible.