British lawmakers approved on Thursday, the contentious bill that authorizes the country’s official exit – the first member state to do so – from the European Union on January 31.
Following three days of debate, the House of Commons passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill by majority vote – 330-231 – setting the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU which include continuing its trade activities and following EU rules as well as contributing to the Union’s budget.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was quick to warn that only by making major concessions after Brexit will the UK get the “highest quality access” to the EU’s market.
The bill must now receive the approval of the House of Lords and then be enacted into law ahead of the January 31 deadline.
It should be reminded that as of January 31, the UK enters the first phase of Brexit, which will still require negotiations with the EU regarding all sorts of issues including trade, travel and security by the end of 2020.
In the meantime, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out any further extension beyond the 2020 post-Brexit transition period.
Concerned that open issues cannot be addressed in a year’s time, the EU has proposed extending the transition period to 2022.
Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, the Brexit saga has thus far cost the British economy 170 billion dollars since the 2016 referendum.
Earlier this week, the Greek foreign ministry tabled a bill in parliament revising the regulatory framework covering details with regard to Brexit.