EU’s future relationship with the UK


When the UK left the EU at midnight on 1 February 2020, a transition period began that will run until the end of 2020. It is envisioned that at the end of transition period, the future relationship between the EU and the UK will take effect.

Paula Carvalho Olovsson
Paula Carvalho Olovsson, State Secretary to Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Government Offices of Sweden

The approach of the UK Government is that they do not want the transition period to be extended. Provided that this position does not change, only eleven months remain in which to put the future relationship in place. In this case, the negotiations in 2020 are expected to focus on a few core areas, such as free trade agreements, agreements in the area of security, governance structures and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Some of the issues that are not resolved before the end of the transition period will need to be dealt with by means of temporary measures.

Considering the very short time available, it is uncertain which specific parts of the future relationship it will be possible to put in place before the end of the transition period. Relevant parties are urged to keep up-to-date and make any necessary preparations.

Basis for the negotiations: Declaration on the future relationship 

Future negotiations will be based on the joint political declaration that the parties have agreed on. The text, which is not legally binding, summarises what is expected to form the basis of the future relationship.

It consists of 141 points, divided across an introduction and five main parts:

1. Introduction: States basic goals etc.

2. Initial provisions: Establishes the basis for cooperation, including core values and rights, and areas of shared interest, etc. that are to form the basis of the relationship.

3. Economic partnership: States the ambition in a number of areas: goods; services and investment; financial services; digital; capital movements and payments; intellectual property; public procurement; mobility; transport; energy; fishing opportunities; global cooperation; and a level playing field for open and fair competition.

4. Security partnership: Deals with the ambition for cooperation on internal and external security.

5. Institutional and other horizontal arrangements: Specifies the structure for the relations and the main ingredients of a future dispute settlement mechanism.

6. Forward process: Sights are set for the future relationship to be in place by the end of 2020.

The Political Declaration on the future relationship on the EUR-lex website