Agreeing to Disagree: The European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit

Brexit Institute Working Paper Series, No 07-2020

27 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2020 Last revised: 4 Nov 2020

Date Written: July 17, 2020


The 2020 Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is not, as its usual title implies, an instrument whereby the Union agrees to the United Kingdom’s putting an end to almost 50 years of closer integration with its nearest European neighbours and partners. Instead, the Agreement may be considered a reasonably successful exercise in damage limitation in three areas of particular vulnerability - ‘people, money and Ireland’ – along with the establishment of robust governance structures in those areas, including limited but essential provisions for judicial review by the CJEU, and procedures for dispute settlement and enforcement, as well as a brief transition period before withdrawal kicks in fully at the end of 2020. While the United Kingdom’s political interest in concluding such an agreement was significantly less than the Union’s, it might nonetheless be seen as the price to pay for avoiding the economic, legal, and possibly political, chaos which would probably have resulted from a disorderly withdrawal on exit day [...]

Keywords: EU, UK, Brexit, Withdrawal Agreement, Court of Justice, dispute settlement, right of withdrawal, withdrawal procedure, Article 50 TEU, asymmetric hostility, sequencing, due regard, arbitration panel, reference procedure, hybrid legal character, transition period

Suggested Citation

Bradley, Kieran St C, Agreeing to Disagree: The European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit (July 17, 2020). Brexit Institute Working Paper Series, No 07-2020, Available at SSRN: or

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