Brexit Bulletin, 7 February 2020

Feb 06, 2020

It is the end of the first week of the UK-EU transition period. With the EU having launched their draft negotiating blueprint for the trade talks between UK and the EU, read this week’s bulletin for a timeline of developments so far.


EU publishes draft document to open negotiations between UK and EU – 3 February 2020

European Commission has published the comprehensive draft negotiating blueprint for a new partnership between UK and the EU. The draft is now due to be studied by the EU27 member states, with Council of the EU expected to formally adopt the mandate on 25 February 2020, authorising the opening of negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.


Brexit day: UK officially leaves EU on 31 January 2020  – what’s next?

The European Parliament gave its final approval of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday by 621 votes in favour, 49 against and 13 abstentions. On Thursday, the European Council took the final vote enabling the Withdrawal Agreement to enter into force - the last step in finalising the UK’s exit from the bloc.

“The Withdrawal Agreement will enter into force upon the UK’s exit from the EU, on 31 January 2020 at 11pm….From that time on, the UK will no longer be an EU member state and will be considered as a third country….The Council has adopted, by written procedure, the decision on the conclusion of the Withdrawal Agreement on behalf of the EU,” said the European Council in conclusion.


What’s next?

The UK will now be entering into a transition period with the EU until 31 December 2020, during which they will be negotiating a free-trade agreement aiming for frictionless trade going forward. While they cease to be an EU member state during the transition period, the following stay the same:

1. Travel

UK nationals will still be treated the same as EU nationals during the transition. Flights, boats and trains will operate as usual. The Common Travel Agreement between Ireland and UK is retained as well.

When it comes to passport control, during the transition period, UK nationals will still be allowed to queue in the areas reserved for EU arrivals only.

2. Pensions

UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension and will also receive the annual increase.

3. EU Budget contributions

The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget during the transition.

4. Trade

UK-EU trade will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.


Brexit Bill receives royal assent and becomes law – 23 January 2020

The Brexit bill received royal assent yesterday and is now officially an act of parliament - the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act. The bill has completed its passage through the UK Parliament and has been signed into law by the Queen. The UK's exit from the EU has also received formal endorsement from the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council and is now expected to move to the European Parliament for ratification on 29 January. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also anticipated to sign the instrument of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement in the next few days.


British MPs give final backing to Brexit deal, talks to restore power sharing at Stormont continue – 9 January 2020

British MPs have given their final backing to the Brexit bill last night, securing the UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. This approval comes following three years of debate over the outcome of the UK’s decision to exit the European Union. The House of Commons voted 330 to 231 in favour of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will now move on to the House of Lords to be passed as legislation next week.

Additionally, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith have published the text of a deal to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland. Read the press release and full text.


UK Prime Minister’s Brexit bill wins approval in parliament – 20 December 2019

British MPs voted by a majority of 358 to 234 to pass the second reading of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit legislation, as the revised Withdrawal Agreement Bill was brought before the House of Commons. The Brexit bill now also includes a new clause to "legally prohibit" any further extension beyond the end of December 2020.

The bill is now due for approval in the House of Commons later this week on Thursday 9 January, giving it just over three weeks to then pass through the House of Lords and receive Royal Assent to meet the Brexit deadline of 31 January 2020.


Conservatives win in UK elections, Brexit deal back on table – 13 December 2019

The Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, won an overwhelming majority in the UK general elections. With the Conservatives now having secured the 326 seats required for a majority in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson is back on track for a 31 January 2020 Brexit deadline.

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