Future relationship between the EU and the UK

The UK withdrawal agreement does not lay down provisions on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. Its sole purpose is to dismantle the cooperation based on the UK’s EU membership in a controlled manner. The EU and the UK will negotiate arrangements for their future relationship in different sectors during the transition period – that is, during 2020. The aim is for the future relationship to enter into force on 1 January 2021

The European Commission, with Michel Barnier as Chief Negotiator, is in charge of the negotiations on behalf of the EU. The Commission will negotiate with the UK based on the negotiating directives issued on 25 February 2020 by the General Affairs Council. The negotiating directives are based on a joint political declaration on the framework for the future relationship as agreed with the UK in October 2019.

Commission’s negotiating directives
Britain published its own negotiation objectives on 27 February 2020

On 18 March 2020, the Commission published its first draft proposal for an agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. The draft is based on the joint political declaration of the EU and the UK and on the negotiating mandate submitted to the Commission; it does not yet take into account the UK’s negotiating positions.

Draft proposal for an agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK 18.3.2020
Foreign Policy, Security and Defence part of the Draft text of the Agreement on the New Partnership with the United Kingdom

In all sectors, the future relationship will be clearly more distant than EU membership. The schedule for the negotiations is tight, as according to the Act on the Approval of the UK Withdrawal Agreement, the transition period cannot be extended. It is therefore possible that by 1 January 2021, certain sectors will not have reached an agreement or will be subject to the terms of international agreements. Businesses in particular should be prepared for this possibility.

Commission's readiness notices

In Finland, the future relationship between the EU and the UK is being dealt with at different ministries in accordance with their respective administrative branches. Finland’s positions are coordinated by the Prime Minister's Office, which has submitted reports to Parliament (available in Finnish).

Further information on the negotiations for the future relationship and other negotiation documents are available on the Commission’s website.