23-24 January 2020
On 23 January 2020, the British Parliament passed the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act, paving the way for the UK’s signature and ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU (Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission) and UK (Prime Minister Boris Johnson) signed the Withdrawal Agreement on 24 January 2020. The signature of the treaty is an international act, which brings with it the obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of the treaty before its entry into force.
The Withdrawal Agreement will enter into force at midnight (Central European Time) / 11pm (Greenwich Mean Time) on 31 January 2020, provided that the parties have both notified the depositary of the Withdrawal Agreement (the Secretary General of the Council) of the completion of their necessary internal procedures. On the UK side, there are no further internal procedures to complete (the Withdrawal Agreement Act repeals the requirement for a “meaningful vote” and disapplies the usual parliamentary scrutiny requirements for treaties subject to ratification). On the EU side, the remaining internal procedures are the approval of the European Parliament (expected on 29 January) and the adoption by the Council of a decision on the conclusion of the agreement.