We discussed the joint report agreed by the two negotiators. Prime Minister May has assured me that it has the backing of the UK Government. On that basis, I believe we have now made the breakthrough we needed. Today's result is, of course, a compromise.
Getting to this point has required give and take on both sides, and I believe that the joint report being published is in the best interests of the whole of the UK. I very much welcome the prospect of moving ahead to the next phase, to talk about trade and security, and to discuss the positive and ambitious future relationship that is in all of our interests.
On the basis of the mandate, which was given to me by the European Council, the Commission has just formally decided to recommend to the European Council that sufficient progress has now been made on the strict terms of the divorce.
The deal we've struck will guarantee the rights of more than 3 million EU citizens living in the UK, and of a million UK citizens living in the EU. EU citizens living in the UK will have their rights enshrined in UK law and enforced by British courts. They will be able to go on living their lives as before.
The UK has made significant commitments on the avoidance of a hard border after its withdrawal from the European Union. All of the EU 27 stand firmly behind Ireland and behind the peace process.
It's been finding the way through that enables us to deliver for citizens, to deliver on the financial settlement, and also crucially, to deliver in relation to Northern Ireland that agreement on no hard border, but also respecting the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom. That's what we've been working to, that's what I believe this joint report sets out.
Let me be clear, we still have a lot of work to do. The joint report is not the withdrawal agreement. That agreement needs to be drafted by the negotiators on the basis we have agreed to yesterday and today, and then approved by the Council and ratified by the UK Parliament and European Parliament.