you're reading...
Institutional and Legal Affairs, PUBLICATIONS

Ratifying the EU-UK withdrawal deal: State of play and possible scenarios

Written by Carmen-Cristina Cîrlig,

Brexit concept. March 12th, the new proposed date of Brexit, written and circled on a calendar.

© David / Fotolia

On 14 November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) negotiators announced their approval of the legal agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At a special European Council meeting on 25 November 2018, EU leaders endorsed the draft withdrawal agreement, as well as the text of a non-binding political declaration setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship. While the process of approving the withdrawal deal (the agreement and the political declaration) began rapidly in both the UK and the EU, it immediately met with significant difficulties in the UK. In particular, the House of Commons’ rejection of the withdrawal deal in the ‘meaningful vote’ of 15 January 2019, led to renewed UK attempts at renegotiation. Although the EU and the UK eventually agreed additional guarantees with respect to the Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop, the withdrawal deal was again voted down on 12 March 2019.

Faced with the prospect of a ‘no deal exit’ on 29 March 2019, the initial Brexit date, the UK government, as instructed by the House of Commons, eventually requested an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period. On 22 March, the European Council extended the UK’s EU Membership until 22 May 2019, on the condition that the UK parliament approved the withdrawal agreement by 29 March. As the House of Commons rejected the withdrawal agreement for a third time, the new Brexit date was instead set, under that European Council decision, at 12 April 2019.

With a ‘no deal’ Brexit becoming a highly likely scenario, both sides stepped up their contingency planning. However, other outcomes remain possible, in particular a further Article 50 extension, given the UK Prime Minister’s request of 5 April. The EU-27 are set to decide on this within the European Council on 10 April 2019, most likely on the basis of conditions set for the UK. While a parallel process for establishing a majority for an alternative solution to the negotiated deal is under way in Westminster, its outcome remains uncertain. Finally, although rejected by the government, the UK still has the option to unilaterally revoke its notification to withdraw from the EU, or to organise another referendum on the issue (the latter dependent on an extension).

Please see also the parallel Briefing, Brexit: Understanding the withdrawal agreement and political declaration, of March 2019. And visit the European Parliament homepage on Brexit negotiations.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Ratifying the EU-UK withdrawal deal: State of play and possible scenarios‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Brexit timeline

Brexit timeline


4 thoughts on “Ratifying the EU-UK withdrawal deal: State of play and possible scenarios

  1. Where does this stand if The English Democrats Court Action proves that due to the agreement made by the EU and UK that the UK would have left 29/3/2019 ? The Law for Teresa May to ask for any extension was not passed in Parliament before 29/3/2019. ? Following in the Gina Miller Act ,The Court could state it was ileagal for the extensions to take place


    Posted by Jon Rogers | April 9, 2019, 11:54
    • Dear Jon,
      The briefing explains the situation in international law. It is an internal matter for the UK to decide whether, constitutionally, asking the EU27 for an extension to the Art.50 negotiating period is in the power of the government or must be mandated through an Act of Parliament.


      Posted by EPRS Admin | April 12, 2019, 09:02


  1. Pingback: Brexit Highlights 8 – 14 April 2019 | Middle Temple Library Blog - April 15, 2019

  2. Pingback: Ratifying the EU-UK withdrawal deal: State of play and possible scenarios | - April 9, 2019

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,513 other followers

RSS Link to Members’ Research Service

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: