The Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom establishes the terms of the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the EU, in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union.
The Withdrawal Agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020, after having been agreed on 17 October 2019. It consists amongst others of a Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
What the Withdrawal Agreement covers
- Common provisions: setting out standard clauses for the proper understanding and operation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
- Citizens' rights: protecting the life choices of more than 4 million EU citizens in the United Kingdom, and over 1 million United Kingdom nationals in EU countries, safeguarding their right to stay and ensuring that they can continue to contribute to their communities.
- Separation issues: ensured a smooth winding-down and enabled an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom, including, amongst others:
- enabled goods placed on the market before the end of the transition under EU rules to continue to their destination
- protects existing intellectual property rights including geographical indications
- winded down on-going procedures related to police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and other administrative and judicial procedures
- addressed the use and protection of data and information exchanged before the end of the transition period
- addressed issues related to Euratom
- A transition period (1 February – 31 December 2020) during which the EU treated the United Kingdom as if it were a Member State, with the exception of participation in the EU institutions and governance structures. The EU and the United Kingdom used these months to negotiate the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
- The financial settlement: ensuring that the United Kingdom and the EU honour all financial obligations undertaken while the United Kingdom was a member of the EU.
- The overall governance structure of the Withdrawal Agreement: ensuring the effective management, implementation and enforcement of the agreement, including appropriate dispute settlement mechanisms.
- Ireland: a legally-operative solution that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and safeguards the integrity of the EU Single Market.
- Cyprus: a protocol on the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus, protecting the interests of Cypriots who live and work in the Sovereign Base Areas following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU.
- Gibraltar: a Protocol on Gibraltar, facilitating close cooperation between Spain and the United Kingdom in respect of Gibraltar on the implementation of citizens' rights within the Withdrawal Agreement. The Protocol also concerns administrative cooperation between appropriate authorities in a number of policy areas.
The implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement requires measures both at EU and at Member State level.