Negotiations on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU officially began on 19 June 2017, one year after the referendum. The Withdrawal Agreement must be agreed between the UK and the EU before the UK leaves the EU. Agreement on the future relationship between the UK will be concluded once the UK has left the EU,

The negotiations are between the UK, as the withdrawing member state, and the EU and its 27 remaining member states (the 'EU 27').

The Prime Minister leads on the negotiations with the EU, supported by the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. The Cabinet Office supports the Prime Minister, and the Secretary of State as their deputy, in the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship.

The Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) is responsible for all of the UK Government’s preparations for leaving the EU, this includes domestic preparations in both a deal and a no deal scenario. DExEU is also responsible for all of the necessary legislation and preparations for the negotiations to agree and implement the future relationship. .

The EU is represented in negotiations by Michel Barnier, as Chief Negotiator for the 27 EU countries. The Task Force at the European Commission coordinates the work on all strategic, operational, legal and financial issues related to the negotiations.

In February 2018, Dr Andrew McCormick was appointed as Director General of International Relations, within the Executive Office to oversee the Northern Ireland Civil Service preparations for EU Exit.

The UK Government and the devolved administrations meet regularly in a Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations. This has been established to provide a forum for each of the devolved administrations to contribute their views on the process of planning for the UK’s departure from the EU. The meetings are chaired by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and the Northern Ireland Civil Service is represented at the meetings by Dr Andrew McCormick, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive.

Since negotiations began, there has been intensive engagement with the UK Government at official level and with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

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