The EU rejected the UK`s arguments that the bill should protect peace in Northern Ireland, arguing that “it is the opposite.” 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.
EU-27 heads of state and government discussed Brexit and the preparation of negotiations on future EU-UK relations after the withdrawal. They reaffirmed their objective of establishing as close a relationship as possible with the United Kingdom in the future and welcomed the Commission`s decision to reinstate Michel Barnier. Following the discussions, the EU said the withdrawal agreement was a legal obligation, adding that “neither the EU nor the UK can change, clarify, modify, interpret, disobey or implement it unilaterally.” Representatives of the UNITED Kingdom and the EU signed the withdrawal agreement. The Council (Article 50) has been informed by the Commission`s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, of the progress of the ongoing negotiations with the UNITED Kingdom. Commissioner Barnier stressed the need to continue work on all withdrawal issues and reiterated that, given the lack of significant progress at the recent roundtables, preparatory work needed to be intensified so that the EU was ready to deal with any scenario.