Budget. A financial agreement ensures that the UK and the European Union will fulfil all their obligations under EU law, which sets the UK`s contribution to the 2019 and 2020 budgets. If the transition period is extended beyond 2020, the UK must make an additional contribution to the EU budget. On the issue of the Irish border, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the « backstop ») which is attached to the agreement and establishes a position of withdrawal which will only come into force in the absence of effective alternative provisions before the expiry of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will stick to aspects of the internal market until such an event is carried out. Neither party can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union. The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a « hard » border in Ireland, where customs controls are needed.  The British Parliament approved the draft agreement by adopting 2020 implementing laws (The European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Withdrawal Agreement) 2020 Act. Following the signing of the agreement, the UK Government adopted and tabled the UK`s ratification instrument on 29 January 2020.  The agreement was ratified by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020, after approval by the European Parliament on 29 January 2020. The UK`s withdrawal from the EU came into force on 31 January 2020 at 11 .m GMT, when the withdrawal agreement came into force in accordance with Article 185. Some EU rules on food and agriculture also apply to NI during the backstop period. Existing controls on animals and animal products moving from the UK to NI need to be strengthened.
The political statement states that provisions to address health and plant protection barriers to trade barriers should be introduced « on the basis of WTO agreements and going beyond. » The protocol also contains a unilateral exit mechanism for Northern Ireland: the Northern Ireland Assembly will vote every four years on whether these rules, which require a simple majority, should be maintained. These votes take place two months before the end of each four-year period, with the first period beginning at the end of December 2020 (when the transition period is scheduled).  If the Assembly is suspended on that date, the GG vote shall be held. If the Assembly expresses inter-community support in one of these periodic votes, the protocol will apply for the next eight years instead of the usual four years.  However, if the Assembly votes against the continuation of these rules, the UK and the EU will be given two years to adopt new rules.   The Irish backstop is withdrawn and replaced with a new protocol on Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland.