with the United Kingdom in the future. It stands ready to embark on preparations immediately
after signature of the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that negotiations can start as
possible after the UK’s withdrawal.
3. The European Council underlines that the backstop is intended as an insurance policy to
prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and ensure the integrity of the Single Market. It
is the Union’s firm determination to work
by 31 December 2020 alternative arrangements, so that the backstop will not need to be
it would apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that
ensures that a hard border is avoided. In such a case, the Union would use its best
to negotiate and conclude expeditiously a subsequent agreement that would replace the
backstop, and would expect the same of the United Kingdom, so that the backstop would only
be in place for as long as strictly necessary.
5. The European Council calls for work on
United Kingdom’s withdrawal to be intensified, taking into account all possible outcomes."