BRUSSELS, January 23. /TASS/. The European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs has held an urgent meeting on Thursday to approve the Brexit bill outlining conditions of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, TASS reports. The committee held a vote where 23 out of 26 members supported the agreement while three members opposed it.
Earlier on Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II signed the bill into law, finalizing preparations for the divorce on the British side after 10 months of extensions. Earlier, parliaments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland refused to approve the Brexit bill. All three regional legislatures opposed the divorce between the UK and the EU. Nevertheless, their opposition did not influence the eventual outcome.
The United Kingdom was initially supposed to exit the union on March 29, 2019, however, the departure date was postponed a few times as British MPs could not agree the conditions of the exit. Theresa May, former Prime Minister, had to resign in the face of unbreakable deadlock, while her successor Boris Johnson managed to win over support of the House of Commons and get his bill through. To achieve that, he called a snap parliamentary election in December and secured an overwhelming majority in the house which practically rendered all other steps in the process a formality.
After January 31, the UK will enter a transition period ending on December 31 without any meaningful changes taking place in the relations between the UK and the EU. However, before that date comes, London and Brussels are supposed to agree a new trade agreement to guide their future relations.