UK PM Johnson signs Withdrawal Agreement, paving way for Brexit

The UK expected to quit EU on Jan 31, following years of political division over how to carry out referendum result.

UK elections
The UK's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson poses after hammering a 'Get Brexit Done' sign into the garden of a supporter [File: Ben Stansall/Pool via Reuters]

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signed the EU Withdrawal Agreement, paving the way for Brexit to take place on January 31.

In what is considered a formality, the European Parliament will vote on the agreement on January 29.

“The signing of the Withdrawal Agreement is a fantastic moment, which finally delivers the result of the 2016 referendum and brings to an end far too many years of argument and division,” said Johnson, referring to EU membership referendum four years ago.

“We can now move forward as one country – with a government focused upon delivering better public services, greater opportunity and unleashing the potential of every corner of our brilliant United Kingdom, while building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals.”

Earlier on Friday, Charles Michel, European Council president and Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, signed the document in Brussels.

The original copy travelled to London by train and will return to Brussels to be archived. The UK will keep a copy.

Michel tweeted: “Things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain. We start a new chapter as partners and allies.”

After Brexit takes place on Thursday, the UK will enter a transition period, during which it will attempt to hammer out deals on future relations with the bloc. 

Johnson has stressed that this period must not go beyond the end of 2020, but critics and opposition figures say this deadline is unachievable.

Source: Al Jazeera