UK took a tentative step towards leaving the EU with a Brexit deal

European Commission

The UK took a tentative step towards leaving the EU with a Brexit deal announced on Tuesday (13 November), as negotiators appeared to reach a technical agreement on its withdrawal from the bloc more than two years after Britain voted to leave.

The draft withdrawal text is believed to be over 500 pages long, while the so-called ‘political declaration’ outlining future trade and political relations between the EU and UK is only five pages, indicative of the fact that little hard negotiation has taken place on a future EU-UK trade deal.

The principle hold up on talks – and most likely to be a deal-breaker for May’s Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party – has been how to agree on a backstop or insurance policy to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The backstop will be needed if an agreement on future EU-UK trade relations cannot be struck before the end of a 21-month transition period due to start after the UK formally exits the bloc on 29 March next year.

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