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UK premier signs withdrawal agreement with EU

The signing is a formal procedure, after which the document will be referred to the European Union for ratification

LONDON, January 25. /TASS/. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday put his signature under the Withdrawal Agreement, which specifies the terms of his country’s withdrawal from the European Union, his office said in a statement.

The signing is a formal procedure, after which the document will be referred to the European Union for ratification. On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II signed the bill into law, finalizing preparations for the divorce on the British side after 10 months of extensions.

"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," Johnson said, adding that the UK Government will now focus on solving internal problems, while "building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals."

The European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs approved the document during an urgent meeting on Thursday. Earlier on Friday, it was signed by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel.

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.