Brexit - new EU-UK partnership: where do we stand?
The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. In 2020 the EU and the UK reached an agreement on their new partnership. It sets out the rules that apply between the EU and the UK as of 1 January 2021.
New rules for the EU and the UK
The EU and UK negotiators reached an agreement on 24 December 2020. This agreement sets out the rules on the new partnership between the EU and UK that apply from 2021. The rules cover areas such as:
- travel and border controls
- trade in goods, such as flowers and food
- security, such as agreements on cooperation to combat crime and terrorism.
Read more about the new EU-UK partnership in documents from the European Commission.
European Parliament approves agreement
On 27 April 2021 the European Parliament approved the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The parliament's approval was needed in order to ensure the agreement entered in to force on 1 May. To minimise disruption, the agreement already provisionally entered into force on 1 January 2021. This why the rules on cooperation changed earlier.
Brexit timelineKey dates in the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU:
On 27 April 2021 the European Parliament gave final approval to the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. On 29 April 2021 the European Council approved the conclusion of the agreement by way of a Council Decision. As a result, the agreements between the UK and the EU came into force on 1 May 2021. This was the last official step in the formalising the new relationship between the EU and the UK.
The new relationship between the EU and the UK begins, provided an agreement has been reached that has been approved by the EU member states, the European Parliament and the UK parliament.
End of Brexit transition period.
The UK House of Lords passes the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, approving the agreement between the EU and the UK on a new partnership.
Queen Elizabeth II signs the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020, ratifying on behalf of the UK the agreement on a new partnership.
The UK House of Commons approves the agreement between the EU and the UK on a new partnership by passing the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sign the agreement on a new partnership.
The EU member states approve the agreement between the EU and the UK on a new partnership.
The negotiators from the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have reached an agreement on a new partnership. The European Parliament and the member states still have to approve the agreement. This process will begin very soon.
The United Kingdom (UK) has left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, at midnight Central European Time (23:00 GMT).
After the UK House of Lords approved the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill on 22 January, the Bill received royal assent from the Queen. The European Parliament approved the agreement on 29 January.
The House of Commons votes in favour of the Brexit bill. That means the UK is on track to leave the EU on 31 January. The House of Lords and the European Parliament still have to approve the agreement, however.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins the UK general election. This makes it likely that the Brexit agreement will be approved soon. If the UK parliament approves the agreement, the European Parliament can vote on it in January.
EU heads of state and government approve postponing the Brexit date to 31 January 2020, or earlier if the UK and European parliaments approve the withdrawal agreement before then.
The EU The EU agrees to push back the Brexit date to 31 January 2020. However, the heads of state and government of the remaining 27 EU member states must also give their approval.
On 22 October the UK parliament agreed to consider the Brexit legislation. But it decided more time was needed than the UK prime minister had proposed. This means that withdrawal with an agreement is no longer feasible on the intended Brexit date of 31 October. The Brexit agreement will not take effect before the Brexit legislation has been passed by the UK parliament.
The UK parliament decides that an additional extension of the Brexit date is necessary because it wishes to first consider the relevant legislation before voting on the withdrawal agreement. The British government then asks the EU to push back the Brexit date to 31 January 2020.
The European Union and the United Kingdom have approved the withdrawal agreement. The UK parliament and the European Parliament still have to approve the withdrawal agreement.
The UK parliament passes legislation requiring the UK government to request a delay to Brexit if there is no agreement with the EU by 19 October 2019.
The UK takes part in the European Parliament elections.
The 27 remaining EU-member states again allow the UK to postpone its departure, now until 31 October 2019 at the latest. Provided the UK takes part in the elections for the European Parliament, starting from 23 May 2019.
The UK parliament rejects the agreement for the third time. The UK has until 12 April 2019 to decide how it wants to proceed:
- approve the withdrawal agreement after all
- ask for another postponement Brexit
- cancel Brexit
- leave the EU without a deal
The other 27 EU member states indicate their willingness to allow the UK to postpone its departure (the UK had been due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019). If the UK parliament approves the withdrawal agreement on 29 March at the latest, Brexit will be delayed until 22 May to allow time to pass the necessary legislation. If the UK parliament has not approved the agreement by then, Brexit will be delayed until 12 April.
British Prime Minister Theresa May asks the EU to postpone Brexit until 30 June 2019. But this does not rule out the possibility that the UK will leave without a deal on 29 March. First, the other 27 EU member states must unanimously approve Mrs May's request.
On Tuesday 12 March, Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for leaving the EU was voted down by the British parliament again.
15 January 2019
The UK government and the 27 remaining EU member states approve the draft agreement.
The European Union and the United Kingdom reach a draft withdrawal agreement.
The EU and the UK reach a provisional agreement. It includes a transition period until 31 December 2020 in which all EU rules continue to apply. It also covers the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The EU27 (EU member states except for the UK) establish that sufficient progress has been made in phase 1. This means that phase 2 of the negotiations can begin. In phase 2, the EU and the UK continue to negotiate the withdrawal agreement. But they also start discussing a transition period and exploring their future relationship.
The EU and the UK reach a provisional agreement on citizens’ rights and the Brexit financial settlement.
Phase 1 of the negotiations between the EU and the UK begins.
The UK triggers Article 50. This means negotiations on the UK leaving the EU can begin. The EU and the UK have two years to reach an agreement.