On 13 November 2018, the EU decided that “decisive progress” had been made in the Brexit negotiations, and on 14 November the European Commission and the UK Government published a draft withdrawal agreement as well as three protocols (on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the SOVEREIGN territories of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and Gibraltar) and nine annexes. The text of the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations were approved by EU heads of state and government at a specially convened European Council on 25 November 2018. If the EP approves the agreement by a simple majority, it will have to be adopted by the EU by the overqualified majority of the European Council of the remaining 27 Member States (20 from the other EU-27 representing 65% of the EU-27 population). The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration and replaced the word “appropriate” with “appropriate” with respect to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, a trade fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the amendment excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the Equal Competition Mechanism has been postponed from the legally binding withdrawal agreement to the political declaration, and the line of the political statement that “the United Kingdom will consider taking into account alignment with trade union rules in the relevant areas” has been removed.  The agreement defines goods, services and related processes. Any provision of goods or services legally put on the market before leaving the EU may be made available to consumers in the UK or in the EU Member States (Article 40-41). The UK has launched the formal process of withdrawal negotiations by formally announcing the European Council`s intention to leave the EU. The United Kingdom has opted for a regime that requires EU citizens to apply for a new resident status known as “settled” or “pre-settled.” It is not yet clear whether each EU-27 will exercise its discretion under the withdrawal agreement to force British residents to apply for a new resident status.
The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the Irish Backstop, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement outlining provisions to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union.