EU relations with Great Britain

The United Kingdom is a former EU member state, which left the EU on 31 January 2020. Following the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union in June 2016 and subsequent negotiations on the United Kingdom’s exit from the Union (Brexit) The relationship between the EU and Great Britain is mainly governed by four agreements:

  • the agreement on the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Union
  • trade and cooperation agreement
  • Agreement on information security between the EU and Great Britain
  • Cooperation agreement between the EU and Great Britain on the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy

These agreements, which have been signed and ratified by both the EU and the UK, cover a wide range of policy areas and aim to ensure fair competition and continued cooperation in areas of common interest, while protection of citizens’ rights.

The agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

The Withdrawal Agreement was signed by President Michel and President von der Leyen on 24 January 2020

Following the June 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, the EU and the UK negotiated the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit). Brexit negotiations began in June 2017 and ended when the UK Withdrawal Agreement entered into force on 31 January 2020 at midnight CET.

The Withdrawal Agreement has been approved and signed by the EU and Great Britain. It sets the conditions for one The UK’s orderly exit from the EU in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

The agreement covers issues such as the protection of citizens’ rights and economic settlement between the EU and the UK, as well as safeguards to avoid a physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland using a specific protocol.

The agreement covers issues such as the protection of citizens’ rights and economic settlement between the EU and the UK, as well as safeguards to avoid a physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland using a specific protocol.

Post-Brexit Agreements

Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel are sitting at a table.  Both show the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, open on the signature side.  In the background you can see a number of EU flags.
President Ursula von der Leyen and President Charles Michel during the signing of the trade and cooperation agreement on 30 December 2020

After the United Kingdom officially left the Union on 31 January 2020, the EU and the United Kingdom began negotiations on their future relationship. Part of the negotiations took place during a transition period (1eh February 2020 to 31 December 2020), when the UK was no longer a member of the EU but was still subject to certain EU rules.

L’trade and cooperation agreement between the EU and Great Britainconcluded by the EU and the UK, is a key agreement governing the relationship after Brexit.

The agreement was signed on 30 December 2020 and provisionally applied from 1eh January 2021. It entered into force on 1eh May 2021.

The agreement guarantees fair conditions of competition and respect for fundamental rights. This agreement consists of:

  • a free trade agreement that ensures ambitious cooperation in the economic, social, environmental and fisheries areas
  • a close partnership on citizens’ safety
  • an overall management framework

Alongside the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK and the EU have negotiated, signed and ratified two separate treaties: a security agreement and one nuclear energy agreement.

Although these agreements have been signed by both parties, there are still serious consequences for citizens, businesses and stakeholders in both the EU and the UK.

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