EU and Britain announce agreement on the terms of the Brexit divorce

Britain and the EU agree on the terms of Brexit
(Image credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced Friday morning in Brussels that the U.K. and European Union had agreed on the general terms of their split, after six months of tense talks. May and Juncker both pointed to compromises their side had offered to get to this point, where talks can now begin on the separation details and a post-Brexit trade deal, but "although supporters of Brexit once insisted that Britain held all the cards in the withdrawal negotiations," The New York Times notes, May "has made nearly all the concessions."

Along with settling how much Britain will pay the EU for outstanding obligations, the agreement guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the U.K. and British citizens in the 27 EU countries, and ruled out imposing a hard border between Northern Ireland — part of the U.K. — and the Republic of Ireland, which will stay in the EU. The three million EU citizens "will be able to go on living as before" in Britain, their rights "enshrined in U.K. law and enforced by British courts," May said. Britain will not reimpose controls on the Irish-Northern Ireland border that had been removed as part of the Good Friday peace accord.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.