The loss of rounds of negotiations, the switch to videoconferencing negotiations and the diversion of resources and political attention in the management of the coronavirus epidemic have increased concerns about the feasibility of the timetable for reaching an agreement. However, in his testimony before the House of Commons Future Relations Committee on 27 April, Michael Gove suggested that the coronavirus crisis “concentrate the heads of EU negotiators”. On the issue of the Irish border, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the “backstop”) which is attached to the agreement and establishes a position of withdrawal which will only come into force in the absence of effective alternative provisions before the expiry of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will stick to aspects of the internal market until such an event is carried out. Neither party can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union. The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a “hard” border in Ireland, where customs controls are needed.  Prof. Anand Menon states that “an agreement would at least allow both parties to continue to speak.” Assuming that such ongoing (and ongoing) negotiations would create a series of ancillary agreements, the United Kingdom would be a similar position to that of Switzerland. The author is a little skeptical, especially with regard to the motivation of the EU. The EU has made it clear that it does not see its relations with Switzerland as a `model`. The EU Task Force 50 said: “The situation in Switzerland: the shortcomings of the existing framework, i.e. no model.” The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration and replaced the word “appropriate” with “appropriate” with respect to labour standards.
According to Sam Lowe, a trade fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the amendment excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the Equal Competition Mechanism has been postponed from the legally binding withdrawal agreement to the political declaration, and the line of the political statement that “the United Kingdom will consider taking into account alignment with trade union rules in the relevant areas” has been removed.  Before the third round of negotiations in early May, Frost said that the UK had now presented a comprehensive agreement, including a comprehensive draft free trade agreement and a fisheries framework agreement.