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Exiting the European Union

Volume 670: debated on Monday 27 January 2020

Signing of the withdrawal agreement

On Friday 24 January, the Prime Minister signed the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and European Atomic Energy Community. The Presidents of the European Commission and European Council signed the agreement on behalf of the European Union on the same date. The withdrawal agreement must now be ratified by both parties by 31 January to bring the agreement into force from the point when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. Ratification by the EU will take place after the European Parliament has given its consent to the conclusion of the agreement, which is expected to happen on 29 January.

Following ratification by both parties, the agreement will enter into force at 23:00 GMT on 31 January in the UK (00:00 on 1 February in Brussels).

UK-EEA EFTA separation agreement

On Tuesday 28 January the UK, alongside representatives from the EEA EFTA States (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) will also sign the UK-EEA EFTA separation agreement. First published in December 2018, this agreement protects the rights of our citizens who have chosen to call each other’s countries home, as well as resolving a small number of other issues arising from the UK’s exit from the EU. The UK-EEA EFTA separation agreement broadly mirrors the terms of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement.

The UK-EEA EFTA separation agreement will be provisionally applied by the UK from exit day. The UK-EEA EFTA separation agreement will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny processes under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, and will enter into force in respect of the UK following ratification by the UK and at least one other party.


Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the United Kingdom’s representation to the European Union (UKRep) in Brussels will become a third country mission to the European Union. Formally, the mission will be titled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s mission to the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. In practice, the mission will be referred to as the United Kingdom’s mission to the European Union, shortened to UKMis Brussels.

This change will take effect from 1 February 2020.