The NI protocol, known as « backstop, » is supposed to be temporary and applies unless it is replaced by a future relationship agreement that the parties will attempt to reach by December 31, 2020. The protocol provides that the common travel area and North-South cooperation will continue to a large extent as they do today, as well as the internal electricity market (so that some EU legislation on wholesale electricity markets will continue to apply). The agreement also provides for a transitional period, which will last until 31 December 2020 and can be extended by mutual agreement. During the transitional period, EU legislation will continue to apply to the UK (including participation in the European Economic Area, the internal market and the customs union) and the UK will continue to contribute to the EU budget, but the UK will not be represented in EU decision-making bodies. The transition period will give businesses time to adapt to the new situation and the new era, so that the British and European governments can negotiate a new trade agreement between the EU and the UK.   In this briefing, the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the EU and the UK and concluded on 14 November 2018 will be discussed in detail. It was approved by the heads of state and government of EU Member States at an extraordinary European Council on 25 November, and the British Prime Minister did so in the British Parliament and across the country. The agreement has been the subject of in-depth discussions in Parliament on several occasions and has been adopted three times. But the House of Commons did not accept it. A second extension of Article 50 lasted until 31 October 2019, but once again the UK faces the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal if the agreement or any other agreement is not ratified by the UK and the EU. These illustrate what applies, at the end of the transitional period, to a number of ongoing proceedings, rights granted, etc. In addition to the transitional period, the withdrawal agreement also addresses a number of other issues that need to be addressed following the WITHDRAWAL of the United Kingdom.
The most important elements of the draft agreement are: Free movement will continue until the end of the transition period (or the transposition period) and EU and UK nationals will be able to move to the UK or Member States, as currently permitted by EU legislation. EU citizens living in their host country before the end of the transition have a permanent right of residence under the withdrawal agreement due to certain requirements. Under the agreement, the UK and EU-27 have discretion under which EU or UK nationals must apply for new resident status. On 13 November 2018, the EU decided that « decisive progress » had been made in the Brexit negotiations, and on 14 November the European Commission and the UK Government published a draft withdrawal agreement as well as three protocols (on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the SOVEREIGN territories of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and Gibraltar) and nine annexes. The text of the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations were approved by EU heads of state and government at a specially convened European Council on 25 November 2018. The EU and the UK have reached an agreement on the withdrawal agreement with a revised protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (abolition of the « backstop ») and a revised political declaration. On the same day, the European Council (Article 50) approved these texts. The United Kingdom, as a member, will pay until the end of 2020 for the full duration of the current long-term budget. After 2020, it will contribute to what remains to be done within the framework of the long-term budget or previous commitments. The agreement defines the goods, services and processes associated with them. Any provision of goods or services legally put on the market before leaving the EU may be made available to consumers in the UK or in the EU Member States (Article 40-41). The withdrawal agreement provides for a trans-period