The UK and the EU deal on their future relationship, struck at the eleventh hour, is one of the most critical agreements the UK will negotiate in the post-Brexit era.

It comprises the basis of the future economic and security relationship with the UK's nearest trading partner, and for this reason, it is important that the deal comes under proper scrutiny.

This briefing, published shortly after the text of the agreement was released, offers a first attempt at assessing the deal and its implications.

It finds advantages of the deal over no deal at all, but also highlights some of the shortcomings compared even to the limited expectations in the run-up to the UK's departure from the EU. In particular it finds important implications for future UK policy on labour and environmental protections, as well as rules for state aid.

The deal leaves workers’ rights and environmental protections at serious risk of erosion, the analysis finds. This is because the new process agreed for safeguarding a “level playing field” between UK and EU businesses after Brexit sets such a high bar for proof that key elements are likely to be enforced only rarely.