The U.K. will remain in the European Union until the end of 2020, but with restricted powers, officials announced Monday.
The EU and the United Kingdom have agreed to a transition process of 21 months — from 29 March 2019 until the end of 2020 — before the country leaves the member bloc completely.
During that period, the "U.K. will no longer participate in European decision-making procedures," the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters in Brussels Monday.
Starting March, 30 of 2019, European laws will continue to apply in the U.K., but London will not have any say in decision-making that involves the future of the European Union.
The transition period is aimed at giving businesses and citizens, both in Britain and the EU, more time to prepare for the U.K.'s complete departure from the bloc. It will also allow negotiators time to conclude their talks on how the relationship between the EU and the U.K. will be starting from 2021 — which at the moment is far from certain.
"We're not at the end of the road," Barnier warned at the start of his address. One the biggest sticking points, the Irish border, remains unsolved.
The U.K. has agreed to insert in the legal text, which will outline all the details of its departure, a "backstop" solution for the Irish border. But for the moment there isn't a compromise on what that solution will look like.
The EU proposed that Northern Ireland should continue following EU rules, even if that would mean being isolated from the British mainland. But the U.K. hasn't agreed to that. According to Barnier, that arrangement will only apply if other solutions aren't found.