From the transition to the divorce bill, here are the key points of the draft Brexit deal

  • Under the 585-page deal, the UK would remain bound by EU trade rules until the end of December 2020, while a bilateral relationship is hashed out
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 7:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 11:04pm

The draft divorce agreement between Britain and the European Union was released on Wednesday, after UK Prime Minister Theresa May emerged from a cabinet meeting claiming to have secured her ministers’ support for the deal.

It has two parts: a legally binding withdrawal agreement, which runs to 585 pages, and a looser political declaration on future relations.

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The transition period

Britain will leave the EU on March 29 but remain inside the bloc’s single market and bound by its rules until the end of December 2020, while the two sides work out a new trade relationship. The transition period can be extended by joint agreement before July 1, 2020 if both parties decide more time is needed.

Irish border

The deal commits the two sides to a “backstop” solution to guarantee the border between EU member Ireland and the UK’s Northern Ireland remains free of customs posts or other obstacles. It keeps the UK in a customs arrangement with the EU, and will last until superseded by permanent new trade arrangements. Both sides say they hope to have a new deal in place by the end of 2020, so the backstop is never needed.

Who pays the divorce bill?

Britain agrees to cover contributions to staff pensions and commitments to EU programmes the UK made while a member for the funding period that runs to 2020. The bill has previously been estimated at about £39 billion pounds (US$50 billion).

Citizens’ rights

EU citizens living in Britain, and Britons elsewhere in the bloc, will continue to have the rights to live and work that they do now.

The political declaration

The seven-page political declaration says Britain and the EU will seek a “free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation,” and “ambitious, comprehensive and balanced” arrangements for the services sector.

Other ambitions include visa-free travel for short-term visits, smooth railroad, air and sea transport and “comprehensive, close, balanced and reciprocal law enforcement and judicial cooperation.”

Details will be worked out after the UK leaves the EU on March 29.

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