The agreement also provides for a transitional period, which lasts until 31 December 2020 and can be extended once by mutual agreement. During the transition period, EU law will continue to apply to the UK (including participation in the European Economic Area, the Single Market and the Customs Union) and the UK will continue to contribute to the EU budget, but the UK will not be represented in EU decision-making bodies. The transition period will give businesses time to adjust to the new situation and give THE UK and EU governments time to negotiate a new EU-UK trade deal.   The main issues that Sunningdale omits, which are addressed in the Belfast Agreement, are the principle of self-determination, the recognition of both national identities, British-Irish intergovernmental cooperation and legal procedures to make power-sharing compulsory, such as inter-community voting and the D`Hondt system for the appointment of ministers to the executive.   Former IRA member and journalist Tommy McKearney says the main difference is the British government`s intention to negotiate a comprehensive deal involving the IRA and the most intransigent trade unionists.  With regard to the right to self-determination, two reservations are mentioned by the legal author Austen Morgan. Firstly, the transfer of territory from one State to another must be done through an international agreement between the British and Irish Governments. Secondly, the people of Northern Ireland can no longer achieve a united Ireland alone; they need not only the Irish Government, but also the people of their Irish neighbour to support unity. Morgan also pointed out that, unlike the Ireland Act 1949 and the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973, which were drafted under Sunningdale, the 1998 Agreement and the resulting UK legislation expressly provided for the possibility of a united Ireland.  On the issue of the Irish border, there is a Northern Ireland Protocol (the “backstop”) annexed to the Agreement which establishes a fallback position that will only enter into force if no other effective arrangement is demonstrated before the end of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will remain in some aspects of the single market until such a demonstration is achieved. None of the parties can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union.
The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a “hard” border in Ireland where customs controls are necessary.  The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the Policy Statement by replacing the word “adequate” with “adequate” in relation to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, Trade Fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the change excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the level playing field mechanism has been moved from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement to the Political Declaration and the line in the Political Declaration that “the UK will consider aligning itself with EU rules in relevant areas” has been deleted.  As part of the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing British-Irish interparliamentary body. Prior to the agreement, the body consisted solely of parliamentarians from the British and Irish parliaments. In 2001, as proposed in the agreement, it was extended to parliamentarians from all members of the British-Irish Council. During negotiations on the UK`s planned withdrawal from the European Union in 2019, the EU produced a position paper on its concerns about the UK`s support for the Good Friday Agreement during Brexit. The position paper covers issues such as the avoidance of a hard border, North-South cooperation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the birthright of all northern Irish residents (as defined in the agreement) and the common travel area.   Anyone born in Northern Ireland and therefore entitled to an Irish passport under the Good Friday Agreement can retain EU citizenship even after Brexit.  Under the European Union`s Brexit negotiating directives, the UK was asked to convince other EU members that these issues had been raised in order to enter the second phase of Brexit negotiations.
The text of the treaty was published on 17 October 2019 and is a renegotiated version of an agreement published six months earlier. The previous version of the Withdrawal Agreement was rejected three times by the House of Commons, leading Queen Elizabeth II to accept Theresa May`s resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and to appoint Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister on 24 July 2019. The agreement was reached after many years of complex discussions, proposals and compromises. Many people have made important contributions. Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern were at the time leaders of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. It was chaired by US Special Envoy George Mitchell.  The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement. In the republic, 56% of voters voted, with 94% of the vote in favour of the constitutional amendment. Turnout in Northern Ireland was 81%, with 71% in favour of the deal.
The agreement covers issues such as money, civil rights, border regulation and dispute settlement. It also includes a transition period and an overview of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It was published on 14 November 2018 and was the result of the Brexit negotiations. The agreement was approved by the heads of state and government of the remaining 27 EU countries and the British government of Prime Minister Theresa May, but met with resistance in the British Parliament, whose approval was required for ratification. The consent of the European Parliament would also have been required. On 15 January 2019, the House of Commons rejected the Withdrawal Agreement by 432 votes to 202.  The House of Commons again rejected the agreement on March 12, 2019 by a vote of 391 to 242 and rejected it on March 29, 2019. March 2019 a third time with 344 to 286 votes.
On 22 October 2019, the revised withdrawal agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson`s government completed the first phase in Parliament, but Johnson interrupted the legislative process when the accelerated approval programme failed to find the necessary support, announcing his intention to call a general election.  On 23 January 2020, Parliament ratified the agreement by adopting the Withdrawal Agreement Act; On 29 January 2020, the European Parliament approved the Withdrawal Agreement. It was then closed by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020. .