On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union (EU) after three years of negotiations. However, the negotiations did not end there. The EU and the UK continued to negotiate the terms of their future relationship and on December 24, 2020, they finally reached a historic agreement known as the Withdrawal Agreement.
The Withdrawal Agreement is a legally binding treaty that outlines the terms of the UK`s departure from the EU and sets out the framework for their future relationship. It covers a range of areas including citizens` rights, trade, security, and cooperation on various issues such as energy, transport, and fisheries.
To ensure that the Withdrawal Agreement is implemented properly, the UK government introduced legislation known as the “white paper legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement.” This legislation aims to provide legal certainty for businesses and citizens and to ensure that the UK complies with its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement.
The white paper sets out the key provisions of the legislation and explains how it will work in practice. It covers areas such as the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the establishment of an independent monitoring authority to oversee the implementation of the citizens` rights provisions, and the establishment of a Joint Committee to oversee the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
One of the most significant aspects of the white paper is its provisions on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Under the Protocol, Northern Ireland remains aligned with certain EU rules and regulations to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. The white paper sets out how the Protocol will be implemented and how the UK government will ensure that Northern Ireland businesses have unfettered access to the rest of the UK market.
The white paper also sets out provisions on citizens` rights. The Withdrawal Agreement guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. The white paper outlines how the government will create an independent monitoring authority to oversee the implementation of these provisions and how it will ensure that citizens are aware of their rights.
In conclusion, the white paper legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement is a crucial piece of legislation that will provide legal certainty for businesses and citizens and ensure that the UK complies with its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement. It covers a range of areas and sets out provisions on the Northern Ireland Protocol, citizens` rights, and the establishment of monitoring and oversight bodies. It is an essential step in the UK`s departure from the EU and the establishment of a new relationship between the two entities.