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Negotiation process


Phase one

In accordance with the guidelines approved by the European Council on 29 April 2017, phase one focused on citizens' rights, the financial settlement ("divorce bill"), the border with Northern Ireland and other issues relating to the separation.

Phase two

15 December 2017. The European Council on Article 50, of 25 November 2018, endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement, adopted certain declarations for the Minutes and a Political Declaration on Future Relations

29 January 2018. The European Council approved the guidelines for negotiations on phase two, specifying the position of the EU27 on the transition period.

14 November 2018. The European Commission recommended the European Council to conclude that decisive progress had been made on negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom and to bring an end to negotiations to initiate the next steps of the process. The negotiators also reached an agreement on the framework of the Political Declaration on Future Relations.

25 November 2018. The European Council (Article 50) endorsed the negotiated text of the Withdrawal Agreement and adopted the Political Declaration on Future Relations, together with other declarations annexed for the Minutes.

On 15 January, as well as 12 and 29 March 2019, the British Parliament voted against the Withdrawal Agreement. Since then, the British Government has been exploring alternatives to prevent a withdrawal without an agreement.

At the European Council on 21 March 2019 an extension was approved to 22 May 2019, provided that the House of Commons approve the Withdrawal Agreement in the week following this Council meeting. In the case that the House of Commons did not approve the Withdrawal Agreement on that date, the European Council approved an extension until 12 April 2019.

However, after the vote against the Withdrawal Agreement by the British Parliament on 29 March 2019, an Extraordinary European Council meeting was held on 10 April 2019, agreeing an extension of Article 50 of the Treaty for European Union (TEU) until 31 October 2019. If the agreement were ratified before this date, the withdrawal would take place on the first day of the following month.

At the European Council meeting of 21 June 2019, which dealt with the issue of Brexit, it was agreed to work with the new UK Prime Minister to avoid a disorderly Brexit.

Following negotiations between the EU and UK negotiators in September and October 2019, an agreement was reached on a revised text of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland included in the Withdrawal Agreement, on the necessary technical adaptations of Articles 184 and 185 of the Agreement, and on a revised text of the Political Declaration.

On 17 October 2019, the European Council backed the modified Withdrawal Agreement and approved the revised text of the Political Declaration.

On 19 October 2019, the UK presented a request for an extension of the period provided for under Article 50(3) of the TEU until 31 January 2020.

The EU and UK have not yet completed their internal procedures required to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.

On 29 October 2019, the European Council agreed on a further extension of the period provided for under Article 50(3) of the TEU until 31 January 2020, in order for all the necessary steps for ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement to be concluded.

The UK may withdraw earlier, on 1 December 2019 or 1 January 2020, if both sides ratify the Agreement.


The UK must resolve the matter of the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, which is currently suspended because on 29 October 2019 the House of Commons approved the Bill allowing an early general election on 12 December 2019. The text must also be approved by the House of Lords.

If the Bill is approved in the House of Lords, Parliament will be dissolved to comply with the legal periods governing the calling of elections in the UK.