Withdrawal Agreement Plain English

    The Withdrawal Agreement Plain English: What You Need to Know

    The UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) has been a complex and controversial process since it began, including lengthy debates and negotiations around the Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms and conditions for the UK’s departure from the EU, including issues such as citizens’ rights, transition arrangements, and financial obligations.

    In this article, we will provide a plain English summary of the Withdrawal Agreement and its implications for the UK and EU.

    Citizens’ Rights

    One of the most important aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement is the protection of citizens’ rights. UK and EU citizens residing in each other’s territories before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) will have their rights protected, including the right to live, work, and study. This includes family members, who will also be protected by the Agreement. The Agreement also allows for visa-free travel for short-term visits.

    Transition Period

    The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period where the UK will continue to follow EU rules and regulations until the end of 2020. During this period, the UK and EU will negotiate a trade agreement and other future arrangements. The Agreement can be extended once for up to two years if the UK and EU agree before 1 July 2020.

    Financial Obligations

    The UK will continue to contribute to the EU budget until the end of the transition period. The Withdrawal Agreement requires the UK to pay its outstanding financial obligations to the EU, including contributions to the EU budget and pensions for EU officials. The amount owed will be determined by a joint committee of the UK and EU.

    Northern Ireland

    One of the most contentious issues in the Withdrawal Agreement is the Northern Ireland Protocol. This Protocol aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (an EU member state) by keeping Northern Ireland aligned with the EU’s customs rules and regulations. This means that Northern Ireland will remain part of the EU’s single market for goods, and customs checks will take place between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

    Implications for the UK

    The Withdrawal Agreement has significant implications for the UK, including a significant economic impact. The Agreement provides for a transition period, during which the UK will not be able to negotiate its own trade agreements with other countries. The Agreement also requires the UK to pay a financial settlement to the EU, which could be as much as £39 billion.


    The Withdrawal Agreement is a complex document that will have significant implications for the UK and EU. It protects citizens’ rights, provides for a transition period, and addresses financial obligations. However, the Northern Ireland Protocol remains a contentious issue, and the Agreement may have a significant economic impact on the UK. As the UK and EU work to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, it will be important to monitor developments closely and understand the implications for the future of the UK and EU.