After more than 2 years of negotiations, the EU and UK are still uncertain of how the UK will exit from the EU.


EDC News: Brexit

On the 24 June 2016, 51.9% of UK citizens voted to leave the European Union based on their concerns over immigration and the EU’s influence in the UK. The British Government submitted a letter (29 March 2017) to the European Council, which officially began the exit procedure by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This started the two year negotiation period between the UK and EU taskforce for agreeing the terms for the transition deal that would phase the UK out of its membership of the EU.  These terms were agreed and outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement on November 2018. The agreement has been approved by the European Council but still awaits approval from the UK Parliament.

After three failed attempts to pass the Withdrawal Agreement through the UK Parliament, the EU granted the UK an extension on the negotiation period (until 31 October 2019) to either pass the Withdrawal Agreement or leave the EU without a deal (‘hard Brexit’):

  • Withdrawal Agreement route
    • Sets out a Transition Period for negotiating terms mainly relating to:
      • EU-UK Trade Deal – outlining trading between UK businesses and those in the EU.  Once the new deal has been implemented UK businesses will be given an adjustment period.
      • Border in Ireland – contingency plans to avoid barriers along the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland border, even in the case of a ‘Hard Brexit’.
      • Future political relationship – based on political declaration outlining the framework (goods, services & investments, financial services, etc.) for the EU and UK future relationship.
      • UK financial settlement – focusing on the calculation of the EU and UK financial obligations with relation to the EU 2014-2020 budget.
    • During the Transition Period, the UK:
      • will be subject to EU law and international agreements
      • will remain part of the Customs Union and Single Market
      • will not be represented in EU institutions, agencies or bodies
    • The Agreement itself is not a permanent deal between the EU and UK but a temporary arrangement for an organised exit of the UK from various EU bodies and institutions.
  •  ‘Hard Brexit’ route
    • UK leaving with no EU-UK deal being established
    • Most pre-existing arrangements between the EU and UK will be terminated  thereby fundamentally affecting UK and EU, for instance with regard to the economy and trade
    • European Commission proposed measures to mitigate the impact of a ‘hard Brexit’
    • UK citizens living in Member States will be recognised as legal residents   

Recent events, such as, the resignation of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the EU’s stance on not renegotiate a new exit deal and the results of the European Elections, with the ‘Brexit Party’ winning the largest share of the vote, indicates that the possibility of the Withdrawal Agreement coming into action is unlikely. 


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