Asked whether Britain`s withdrawal from the EU was “harmful” to the nation`s health, he said: “We already have an agreement, the question is whether we can achieve a future long-term trade agreement.” The withdrawal agreement provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which time the UK will remain in the internal market, to ensure the smooth flow of trade until a long-term relationship is concluded. If no agreement is reached by then, the UK will leave the single market without a trade deal on 1 January 2021. The withdrawal agreement is closely linked to a non-binding political declaration on future relations between the EU and the UK. Mr Barnier made no comment after being asked about a Financial Times report that Britain is preparing laws that could repeal the Brexit withdrawal deal. 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, which covers 599 pages, covers the following main areas: The EU and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the withdrawal agreement with a revised protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (elimination of the “backstop”) and a revised political statement. On the same day, the European Council (Article 50) approved these texts.
The fact that the UK government and the European Commission have agreed on a revised Brexit deal is a huge step in the Brexit process. However, as we explain below, this does not mean that the risks of a non-Brexit deal have been eliminated or that the Brexit process is over. It is far from over. 10.Am 28 February 2018, the European Commission published the first draft withdrawal agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom, in which the December joint report was implemented in accordance with the agenda. On 19 March, an amended text was published, highlighting the areas of concordance and disunity with the green, yellow and white colour codes9. Former Justice Minister David Gauke said reports have shown that the UK is considering laws to repeal parts of the withdrawal treaty, and each MP will have to decide whether they support “a strategy that involves waiving an international agreement reached last year.”