The EU-27 (with the exception of the UK) notes that sufficient progress has been made in Phase 1. This means that phase 2 of the negotiations can begin. In Phase 2, the EU and the UK continue to negotiate the withdrawal agreement. But they are also beginning to discuss a transition period and explore their future relationship. The transition period ends in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. The country allows the free movement of people and is a member of the Schengen area without a passport. It is subject to many rules of the internal market, without having much say in their design. It is outside the customs union and allows it to negotiate free trade agreements with third countries; as a general rule, but not always, it has negotiated with EEA countries. Switzerland has access to the internal market for goods (excluding agriculture), but not to services (except insurance). It pays a modest amount to the EU budget.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said there was a “path to an agreement” but that there were still differences between Britain and the EU over fisheries, subsidies and tariffs. On 14 March 2019, the British Parliament voted for May to ask the EU to postpone Brexit until June and then in October. After May did not approve her approval, she resigned as prime minister in July and was replaced by Boris Johnson. He tried to replace parts of the agreement and pledged to leave the EU before the new deadline. On 17 October 2019, the UK government and the EU agreed to a revised withdrawal agreement with new rules for Northern Ireland.  Parliament approved the agreement for further consideration, but refused to bring it into force before the 31 October deadline and forced the government (through the Benn Act) to ask for a third delay in Brexit. Early parliamentary elections were held on 12 December. The Conservatives won a large majority in the election, with Mr Johnson saying the UK would leave the EU in early 2020.  The withdrawal agreement was ratified by the United Kingdom on 23 January and by the EU on 30 January; it came into force on 31 January 2020.    The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the Irish Backstop, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement outlining provisions to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union. The protocol provided for a provision of the safety net to deal with the circumstances in which satisfactory alternative arrangements were to come into force at the end of the transition period. This project has been replaced by a new protocol that will be described as follows.
The EU and the UK have reached an agreement on the withdrawal agreement with a revised protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (abolition of the “backstop”) and a revised political declaration. On the same day, the European Council (Article 50) approved these texts. The UK government and the other 27 EU member states approve the draft agreement. The Netherlands does not negotiate directly with the United Kingdom. The European Commission is doing so on behalf of the remaining 27 EU Member States, on the basis of the mandate given to it by EU countries. This mandate sets out what the Commission can discuss with the United Kingdom and its negotiating position. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 at midnight (23:00 GMT). A transitional period is now in effect until 31 December 2020. During this period, all EU laws and regulations continue to apply in the UK. For businesses and the public, virtually nothing will change. This will give everyone more time to prepare for the new agreements that the EU and the UK intend to conclude after 31 December 2020.