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Source: Fotolia / Grecaud Paul

After the elections in the United Kingdom on 12 December 2019, won by the Conservative Party under the leadership of Boris Johnson, the British parliament and the EU institutions have almost completed the adoption and ratification process of the withdrawal agreement. The agreement can therefore enter into force at midnight on 31 January 2020.

What is going to happen after the United Kingdom withdrew from the EU on 31 January 2020?

There will be a transition period from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020 during which Union law is generally still applicable for and in the United Kingdom, yet without British voting rights in the EU institutions. During this period, the United Kingdom will remain in the EU Single Market and the EU Customs Union. So for the time being, the current situation will remain unchanged for citizens and businesses. The same is true of the entire transport sector.

Negotiations during the transition period:

In accordance with the withdrawal agreement, the transition period can be extended once for a maximum of two years. The corresponding decision needs to be taken by 1 July 2020.
The negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK will presumably start at the beginning of March. Before, the 27 Member States of the European Union will have to agree on the negotiating mandate for the European Commission. Initial talks are already underway. The Council is to adopt the mandate at the end of February.
The EU and the UK will make intensive use of the transition period and conduct negotiations on their future relationship. The EU aims at continuing its close economic and security partnership with the United Kingdom in the future. This includes regulations on the future proceedings in the transport and digital sectors.

After the transition period:

The withdrawal agreement also ensures legal certainty in vital areas for the time following the transition period:

  • The rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom as well as those of British citizens living in the EU will be comprehensively protected for life. They can continue to live, work and study in the United Kingdom or in the EU and will enjoy the protection afforded by social security systems.
  • Due to the special regulations for Northern Ireland, the integrity of the EU Single Market remains unchanged. At the same time, controls at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will be avoided and the Good Friday Agreement continues to apply to its full extent.
  • Moreover, the withdrawal agreement covers, among other things, the financial obligations of the United Kingdom towards the EU.

We would like to refer to the following additional information:

On its website, the European Commission has compiled Brexit preparedness notices for businesses and citizens, including on transport issues, and set out the consequences in a range of policy areas:
https://ec.europa.eu/info/brexit/brexit-preparedness/preparedness-notices_en

If you have any questions concerning general developments in the course of the withdrawal negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, please refer to the Federal Foreign Office's website on Brexit at the following link:
https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aussenpolitik/europa/Brexit

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) provides comprehensive information on its website. It has also set up a Brexit information hotline, which citizens and companies can contact with their questions and concerns.
https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/EN/Artikel/Europe/after-the-brexit-referendum-an-overview-of-important-information.html

Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), an agency of the Federal Republic of Germany, regularly provides information on topical issues and backgrounds on the Brexit negotiations.
https://www.gtai.de/GTAI/Navigation/EN/Invest/Business-location-germany/brexit-specialexpanding-to-germany.html

On their website, the German customs authorities provide information regarding customs regulations and excise taxes in connection with Brexit.
http://www.zoll.de/DE/Fachthemen/Zoelle/Brexit/brexit_node.html (German only)

“Brexit Checklist” of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce
https://www.ihk.de/brexitcheck-en