The UK government and the remaining 27 EU member states accept the draft agreement. The British Parliament rejects the agreement for the third time. The UK has until 12 April 2019 to decide how to proceed: despite all the noise of recent days and weeks about the demands of British negotiators for a radically different and lighter political declaration (the document that sets out ambitions for the future relationship), it is remarkable how little the document has changed. The new version contains 141 clauses, only six fewer than the initial one adopted by Theresa May`s government in November 2018. Some of these adjustments are only there to align it with the new Withdrawal Agreement, like. B, the deletion of references to the Northern Irish backstop. The new agreement even retains a typo in the original that referred to “violent extremis [sic]” in Section E on terrorism. The EU and the UK reach a provisional agreement. It provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020 during which all EU rules will continue to apply. It also includes the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The 599-page Withdrawal Agreement covers the following main areas: On December 31, time runs out – what happens now? The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration, replacing the word “appropriate” with “appropriate” in relation to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, a trade researcher at the Centre for European Reform, the change excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the level playing field mechanism has been moved from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement to the Political Declaration and the line in the Political Declaration that “the UK will consider aligning itself with EU legislation in relevant areas” has been deleted.  With regard to the Irish border issue, the agreement is accompanied by a Northern Ireland Protocol (the “backstop”) setting out a fallback position that will only enter into force if no other effective arrangement is demonstrated before the end of the transition period. If this happens, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will remain in some aspects of the single market until such a demonstration is achieved. None of the parties 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 necessary.  According to the WAB law, the Withdrawal Agreement must also be ratified by the European Parliament. A controversial question was what role, if any, the European Court of Justice should play.