The withdrawal agreement and political declaration have been two key documents in the ongoing Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. While they are often referred to interchangeably, they are actually two separate documents with distinct purposes.
The withdrawal agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms of the UK`s departure from the EU. It covers issues such as the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, the financial settlement that the UK will need to pay to the EU, and the transition period that will take place after the UK leaves the EU.
The political declaration, on the other hand, is a non-binding document that sets out the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It covers areas such as trade, security, and cooperation on issues such as science and innovation.
Both the withdrawal agreement and political declaration have received a great deal of attention and scrutiny from both the UK and the EU. The withdrawal agreement was agreed upon by both parties in November 2018, but has since been repeatedly rejected by the UK Parliament. The political declaration was also agreed upon at the same time, but has been subject to ongoing negotiations as both sides seek to clarify and solidify the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
One of the key issues surrounding both documents is the issue of the Irish border. The withdrawal agreement includes the controversial “backstop” provision, which would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU until a permanent solution is found to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The backstop has been a major sticking point for many UK politicians, who fear that it could keep the UK tied to the EU indefinitely.
The political declaration includes a commitment to a “comprehensive and balanced” free trade agreement between the UK and the EU, but it is not yet clear what form this will take. Many have called for the UK to remain in the EU`s single market and customs union, but this is a position that has been rejected by the UK government.
Overall, the withdrawal agreement and political declaration are complex documents that have played a significant role in the ongoing Brexit negotiations. While they are not perfect and have been subject to much criticism and controversy, they represent an important step forward in the UK`s journey towards leaving the EU. As negotiations continue, it will be crucial for both sides to work together to find a solution that works for everyone involved.