The withdrawal agreement provided for an extension of the transition period to avoid the „non-deal“ of Brexit if no agreement between the EU and the UK could be reached by 31 December 2020. Such an extension should have been requested until July 2020. Following a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he would not use this option and that 11 months would be enough to reach a comprehensive agreement, the British government added a provision to the 2020 Law to prohibit a British minister who wants such an extension, and no extension was sought. If the EU wants to give up its customs protection, it will want to know that British companies are not getting „unfair“ competitive advantages through lax labour or environmental legislation, subsidies or breaches of competition law. (These are the so-called playing level playing terms.) The current government clearly hates these constraints, but the EU will not commit to free trade without such commitments – a dead end. Mr Johnson`s incisive proposal on 29 November for the UK to relax EU rules on state aid to businesses will doubly complicate this situation. Immediately after the announcement of a revised withdrawal agreement on October 17, 2019, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the DUP said they could not support the new agreement.  The 599-page withdrawal agreement covers the following main areas: The UK voted to leave the EU by referendum on 23 June 2016. On 29 March 2017, Theresa May, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, wrote to european Council President Donald Tusk triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, triggering the process for a member state to leave the EU. The Article 50 procedure provides for a two-year period for the negotiation of a withdrawal agreement which should take into account future relations between the EU and the outgoing Member State. At the request of the United Kingdom, the Article 50 deadline was finally extended until 31 January 2020. On 17 October 2019, the EU and the UK agreed on the text of a withdrawal agreement, which was unanimously approved by the European Council. During the transitional period, the UK and the EU-27 will seek to conclude the agreement that will strengthen their trade relations after the end of the transition period.
On the basis of the revised political declaration, the EU and the United Kingdom appear to be aiming for a comprehensive but „classic“ free trade agreement for goods, services and investment.