Michel Barnier, the Commission`s chief brexit negotiator, briefed EU-27 ministers on the situation that has followed negotiations with the UK in recent weeks. Michel Barnier said intensive negotiations were continuing, but no agreement had yet been reached. Some key issues are still under discussion, including a solution to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Updated to reflect the agreement in principle between the United Kingdom and Canada on trade continuity. On 14 January 2019, Presidents Tusk and Juncker exchanged letters with Prime Minister May. In their letter, the Presidents reacted to the points raised by the British Prime Minister and clarified the Brexit withdrawal agreement and the political declaration. „We will both be ready to sign the withdrawal agreement as soon as the useful vote in the British Parliament is over,“ he said. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed on 23 October 2020. Learn more about this agreement. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed the agreement late on Friday and said he was respecting „the democratic mandate of the British people.“ The heads of the European Commission and the Council – Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel – signed the withdrawal agreement before the UK leaves the EU on 31 January. On 22 October 2019, the House of Commons agreed, by 329 votes to 299, to give a second reading to the revised withdrawal agreement (negotiated by Boris Johnson earlier this month), but when the accelerated timetable it had proposed did not receive the necessary parliamentary support, Johnson announced that the law would be overturned.   This decision follows the approval by the European Council (Article 50) of the withdrawal agreement, as agreed by negotiators from both sides on 17 October 2019.
In their conclusions, the EU-27 heads of state or government called on the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to take the necessary steps to bring the agreement into force on 1 November 2019. The Council, in its EU-27 format, was informed of the state of Brexit by the EU`s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, due to the intensification of negotiations with the UK ahead of the European Council (Article 50) of 17 October 2019 in order to reach an agreement (Article 50). The agreement covers issues such as money, citizens` rights, border agreements and dispute resolution. It also includes a transition period and an overview of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It was published on 14 November 2018 and was the result of the Brexit negotiations. The agreement was approved by the heads of state and government of the other 27 EU countries and by the British government led by Prime Minister Theresa May, but it faced opposition from the British Parliament, which needed approval for ratification. The approval of the European Parliament would also have been necessary. On January 15, 2019, the House of Commons rejected the withdrawal agreement by 432 votes to 202.  The House of Commons again rejected the agreement by 391 votes to 242 on 12 March 2019 and rejected it a third time, on 29 March 2019, by 344 votes to 286. On 22 October 2019, the revised withdrawal agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson`s government approved the first phase in Parliament, but Johnson halted the legislative process when the accelerated approval programme failed to receive the necessary support and announced his intention to declare a general election.
 On 23 January 2020, Parliament ratified the agreement by adopting the withdrawal agreement; On 29 January 2020, the European Parliament approved the withdrawal agreement. It was then concluded by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020. The table „Signed Trade Agreements“ has been updated with the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics, after the British Parliament stopped, Prime Minister May resigned and new Conservative party leader Boris Johnson took over as Prime Minister.