On the European Union side, the European Parliament also approved the ratification of the agreement on 29 January 2020 and the Council of the European Union approved the conclusion of the agreement by e-mail on 30 January 2020.  That is why, on 30 January 2020, the European Union also tabled its instrument for ratification of the agreement, concluding the agreement and allowing it to enter into force on the date of the UK`s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, at 11 .m GMT. It could be said that the protocol contains a free trade agreement with a part of the United Kingdom. The UK sent its withdrawal notification to the EU on 29 March 2017. This triggered a process of withdrawal within the meaning of Article 50 of the Treaty on european Union. Negotiations ended on October 17, 2019. 4. The following part (Articles 126-132) contains provisions relating to the transition period that extends to the end of 2020 and is necessary to move from withdrawal to future relations. The transitional period involves extending the application of existing EU legislation. The only important exception is that Britain will no longer be part of the EU`s institutions and bodies and will no longer participate in EU decision-making. 1. The “common provisions” part of the agreement (Articles 1 to 8) mainly include provisions relating to the implementation, application and interpretation of the agreement. Neither the agreement nor the political declaration gives any indication of the future relationship in terms of choice of law, freedom of decision and recognition and enforcement of judgments.
The UK has already hinted that it hopes to agree on a large-scale agreement, broadly in line with the current position. On the issue of the Irish border, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the “backstop”) which is attached to the agreement and establishes a position of withdrawal which will only come into force in the absence of effective alternative provisions before the expiry of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will stick to aspects of the internal market until such an event is carried out. Neither party can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union. The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a “hard” border in Ireland, where customs controls are needed.  The withdrawal agreement also contains provisions for the United Kingdom to leave the Convention setting the status of European schools, with the United Kingdom bound by the Convention and its accompanying regulations on accredited European schools until the end of the last academic year of the transition period, i.e. at the end of the spring semester 2020-2021.  The withdrawal agreement also includes a protocol on the UK`s basic sovereign territories in Cyprus and a protocol on Gibraltar, which provides for the specific issues raised by the UK`s withdrawal from the EU with regard to Gibraltar.
The agreement provides for a transitional period that will last until at least 31 December 2020. During this period, the UK will remain in the EU customs union and internal market, and most of the EU legislation will continue to apply to the UK, but the UK will lose the opportunity to participate in EU legislation and the benefits of free trade agreements with third countries. In order for the UK to continue to benefit from these free trade agreements during the transition period, it will need the agreement of the EU and all third countries. In practice, trade in goods and services between the EU and the UK will therefore remain broadly unchanged during the transitional period. The political statement refers to the autonomy of regulation and decision-making of each bloc and its ability to make equivalency decisions in its own interest. From a British point of view, the latter reference to autonomy is less welcome when it comes to achieving considerable market access in equivalence.