The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom have finally completed all the formalities in the European process for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the community (Brexit). At 00: 00 from April 30 to May 1, Brussels time, the agreement on bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union entered into force.
вЂњThe conclusion of the trade and cooperation agreement will give legal certainty to the new relationship between the EU and the UK in the interests of citizens and businesses on both sides of the channel. We value the UK as a good neighbor, an old ally, and an important partner, вЂњ the EU Council said in this regard.
Earlier this week, the European Parliament (EP) voted in support of this document at the plenary session in Brussels, and on April 29, the document was ratified by the EU Council.
The United Kingdom completed all the procedures even earlier. On December 31, 2020, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issued the so-called royal assent to the draft law on the future relations between London and Brussels after Brexit.
On January 1, the 11-month transition period between the UK and the EU ceased to apply, during which the kingdom was subject to the same rules, regulations, and benefits as any other member of the community after the official Brexit. In the period from January 1 to May 1, London and Brussels regulated their relations on the basis of an agreement not yet ratified, which was applied in a temporary mode for four months.
London called the ratification of the agreement by the European Parliament the final stage of a long journey that began during the referendum on leaving the EU five years ago. At the same time, the UK recognizes that disputes between the kingdom and the community of 27 countries remain.
вЂњThis week is the last step in a long journey that will ensure the stability of our new relationship with the European Union as key trading partners and sovereign, equal allies. Now it is time to look to the future and implement the concept of a more global Britain,вЂќ said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The representative of the head of government for Brexit and international policy, David Frost, added that the decision of the EP deputies will allow the parties to focus on resolving the remaining points of contention in their relations, which will be discussed at meetings of the Partnership Council of the United Kingdom and the EU established this year. вЂњWe will always strive to act in a positive way, but as a sovereign country in full control of its own destiny, we will also defend our interests if necessary,вЂќ Frost said.
The main point of contention remains the Northern Ireland protocol, concluded as part of the Brexit deal between London and Brussels. This document is intended to prevent the emergence of a border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which remains part of the European Union. However, after the adoption of the protocol, control procedures were implemented for the transport of goods from one part of the UK to another, which led to an aggravation of the situation in Ulster. In early April, there were days of unrest in the region, and the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland and the first minister of the region, Arlene Foster, was forced to announce her resignation.
Thus, the story of the UK's exit from the EU ended, the starting point of which was the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016.