Wales and the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement

Published 11/10/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

The Withdrawal Agreement set the terms for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It entered into force on 1 February 2020 but has never been fully implemented.

Our publications on the Withdrawal Agreement are brought together here. More will be added as they become available. For more information, visit our Brexit section, where you can subscribe to receive new articles by email.

What does the Withdrawal Agreement do?

The Withdrawal Agreement deals only with the separation of the UK from the EU and Euratom.

Among other things, it introduced new border and customs arrangements for UK-EU trade and new rules for Northern Ireland. It protects the rights of UK and EU citizens living in the territory of the other. It also established governance arrangements, including how to resolve disputes and enforce its terms.

Some arrangements have never been introduced. There are many reasons for this, including because the UK and EU disagree on how to put them in place. Where arrangements are in place, there are concerns that progress is unsatisfactory. Other parts have expired, either because the duties have been fulfilled or they’re no longer needed.

Importantly, Article 5 is designed to ensure that the UK and EU perform their duties. They must assist each other with tasks “in mutual respect and good faith” and refrain from doing anything which could jeopardise the agreement’s objectives.

Northern Ireland Protocol

The Northern Ireland Protocol set up new arrangements for the UK-EU land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, an EU Member State.

The Protocol is part of the Withdrawal Agreement but not all of its arrangements are in place because the UK and EU disagree on how they should work. Despite their differences, the UK and EU agree that the Protocol has led to issues in Northern Ireland and they want a resolution.

Further reading:

Citizens’ rights

After Brexit, European citizens who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 must have applied to stay by 30 June 2021.

Citizens from EU Member States, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland must have applied to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Irish citizens are exempt under separate arrangements. The EUSS remains open to receive late applications and second applications from those who want to convert a temporary status, which is valid for five years, to a permanent one.

Senedd Research publishes regular analyses of EUSS statistics relating to Wales. The Senedd’s Equality and Social Justice Committee has chosen to monitor the EUSS in Wales and reports regularly to the Senedd. Links to the latest Senedd Research analysis and to the Committee’s activity can be found below.

Further reading:

Article by Sara Moran, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament