Brexit countdown begins - One year to go!
The UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) on 23 June 2016 and will officially do so at 23:00 on Friday 29 March 2019. As of March 2018, both parties have reached provisional agreement on how much the UK owes the EU, what happens to the Northern Ireland border once the UK leaves and what happens to UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and EU citizens living here in the UK. There is still much to be agreed and it is envisaged that the coming twelve months will be focussed upon the future relationship between both parties, with an agreed 21 month transition period to help smooth the process.
What has been agreed to date?
As outlined above, provisional agreement has been reached in three key areas. First, the UK will continue to contribute into the EU budget until 2020 and will meet its share of agreements made in the past but not yet paid out. This will total circa £37.1 billion with the Office for Budget REsponsibility indicating that the final payment will not be paid out until 2064. Second, the Government has committed to no "hard border" between Northern Ireland and Ireland but the intricacies of a solution are still being discussed. Finally, it has been agreed that the free movement of people will continue until December 2020, the end of the agreed transition period. EU citizens and their families who have been in the UK for five years before 29 March 2019 will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. Those who arrive during the transition period will be able to apply for temporary leave to remain, and after five years’ residence, settled status. This is also true for UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU although it is not yet known on their subsequent ability to move between member states.
What still needs to be agreed?
While provisional agreement has been reached in these initial key areas, both parties have made it clear that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed and so all is technically subject to change. Both parties still need to agree on what will happen in the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, what trade deal will be agreed between the UK and the EU post-Brexit and importantly, there is still a raft of legislation that needs to be ratified by parliament before the 29 March 2019 as well as agreement over how the UK's membership into several European agencies will be replaced, covering to name but only a few consumer protections, data protection and aviation.
The one-year countdown has begun and the to-do list remains long. We'll keep in touch over the year and let you know where provisional agreements are reached and what they mean for you.