UK's withdrawal agreement to be finalised at EU leaders meeting on November 25

UK's withdrawal agreement to be finalised at EU leaders meeting on November 25

European Council president Donald Tusk has set out the process leading up to a Brussels summit of EU leaders on November 25 at which the UK's withdrawal agreement will be finalised and formalised.

At a press conference in Brussels, Mr Tusk was presented by the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier with a copy of the 585-page agreement approved on Wednesday by Theresa May's Cabinet.

Mr Tusk said that the agreement was already being analysed by all the member states, and by the end of this week the EU27 ambassadors will meet in order to share their assessment.

"I hope that there will not be too many comments," he said.


Ambassadors and ministers of the EU27 will also discuss the mandate for the European Commission to finalise the joint political declaration on future UK/EU relations published in outline form on Wednesday with the intention of agreeing a final form of the declaration by next Tuesday.

Over the following 48 hours, member states will evaluate the document and sherpas should conclude the work on November 22, allowing the European Council to convene at 9.30am on November 25 "if nothing extraordinary happens".

Welcoming the approval of the draft agreement by Theresa May's Cabinet, Mr Tusk said: "Of course, I do not share the Prime Minister's enthusiasm about Brexit as such.

"Since the very beginning, we have had no doubt that Brexit is a lose-lose situation and our negotiations are only about damage control."


Thanking Mr Barnier for his work as chief negotiator, Mr Tusk said: "You have achieved our two most important objectives: You ensured the limitation of the damage caused by Brexit and you secured the vital interests and principles of the 27 member states and of the European Union as a whole."

In a message to the British people, Mr Tusk said: "As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us."

Mr Barnier said: "This is a very important moment. What we have agreed at negotiators' level is fair and balanced, takes into account the UK's positions, organises the withdrawal in an orderly fashion, ensures no hard border on the island of Ireland and lays the ground for an ambitious new partnership."

Mr Barnier said that his team had "always followed the EU mandate scrupulously" and had achieved "decisive progress" together with the UK negotiators.


He added: "Our work is not finished. We still have a long road ahead of us on both sides.

"On my side, in the next few days we will all work on the text of the political declaration on the future relationship with the member states as well as with the European Parliament.

"This work will be intense. Our goal is to finalise this political declaration with the UK so that the European Council can endorse it."

Mr Tusk and Mr Barnier took no questions from reporters after their brief statements. Mr Barnier said he would now travel to Strasbourg to discuss the agreement with the European Parliament, adding: "We have no time to lose."

- Press Association