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  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in Parliament in London, Britain Jan. 22, 2020.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in Parliament in London, Britain Jan. 22, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 January 2020
Opinion

Prime Minister Johnson's allies at Upper House approved the exit of the U.K. from the European Union.

The British Parliament Wednesday finally approved the Brexit agreement, which opens the door to the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) within nine days.

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The final text, which was negotiated by conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the EU authorities, must now be promulgated by Queen Elizabeth II.

In early January, the House of Commons, where the conservative leader has an overwhelming majority, gave the green light to the Brexit, scheduled for January 31, before sending it to the House of Lords.

This chamber adopted five amendments to the text, inflicting separate setbacks on the government, especially concerning the rights of EU citizens residing in the U.K.

These amendments were rejected by lawmakers when the bill returned to the House of Commons on Wednesday. Finally, however, in a second vote, the members of the Upper House accepted the text.

Johnson's Conservatives won a large majority in the House of Commons in a general election last month, enabling the government to bring an end to more than three years of wrangling in parliament over Britain's departure from the European Union.

As of February 1, an eleven-month transition period will begin. Until Dec. 31, the United Kingdom will continue to be linked to the EU structures and comply with its rules.

In that period, London and Brussels must negotiate the terms of their future bilateral relationship, which are not detailed in the Brexit agreement.

"We are very interested, on both sides, to reach a magnificent free trade agreement with zero fees and zero quotas," Johnson said and added that he has "absolute confidence that we can achieve it."

In recent weeks, however, the EU authorities have warned that the 11-months transition period is too short a time to reach a full trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

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