The beginning of the end – agreement between the EU and the UK ratified.

IF – 04/2021

On January 1, 2021, the UK left the single European market and customs union, as well as all international agreements negotiated by the EU. This brings the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between the UK and the EU to an end. The EU and the UK will form two separate markets from now on. Barriers to trade in goods and services and to cross-border mobility and exchange are expected both from the EU to the UK and vice versa. The withdrawal agreement can be found here.

Transition period ends at the end of April

The agreement has been applied provisionally since January 1, 2021 and will expire the day after tomorrow, on April 30, 2021. Therefore, the European Parliament's approval was necessary for the agreement to enter into force on a permanent basis.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement contains provisions in areas such as:


  • social security coordination
  • trade in goods and services
  • e-commerce
  • public procurement
  • air and road transport
  • energy and fisheries
  • law enforcement and cooperation in criminal matters
  • thematic cooperation and participation in EU programmes.

Long live Europe!

In the last plenary session in the European Parliament in Brussels, mistakes were admitted on both sides after emotional speeches by Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier and the rapporteur of the trade pact for the European Parliament, Andreas Schieder (S&D/AT). It was agreed to see the end as a new beginning.

"While Brexit remains a historic mistake, the EU has sought to limit the damage in recent years. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement is the best available option under the current circumstances", stated Schieder.

Majority in the EU Parliament

Although there were threats from Parliament to delay the agreement because of the recurring disputes with London over the special Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, the long overdue conclusion had to be finally drawn up.

MEPs approved the agreement with 660 votes in favour, 5 against and 32 abstentions.

You can find the reached agreement here and further information here.