This triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which sets out the procedure for a member state`s exit from the Union and introduces a two-year countdown to withdrawal. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 at midnight Eastern European Time (23:00 GMT). A transitional period now applies until 31 December 2020. During this period, all EU rules and laws continue to apply in the UK. For businesses and the public, virtually nothing will change. This will allow everyone to prepare for the new agreements that the EU and the UK intend to conclude after 31 December 2020. The EU and the UK have reached an agreement on the Withdrawal Agreement, with a revised protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (removal of the backstop) and a revised political declaration. On the same day, the European Council (Article 50) approved these texts.