Brexit: where do we stand?

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. A transition period is now in place until 31 December 2020. During this period the UK must comply with all EU rules and laws. Virtually nothing will change for businesses or for the public. There will be changes after the transition period, whether or not an agreement is reached on the new relationship between the UK and the EU.

Read this information in Dutch.

Transition period after approval of withdrawal agreement

The UK left the EU at midnight CET (23.00 GMT) on 31 January 2020.  A transition period is now in place until 31 December 2020. During this period all EU rules and laws will continue to apply to the UK. Virtually nothing will change for businesses or for the public. This will give everyone more time to prepare for the new agreements that the EU and the UK intend to make after 31 December 2020.

On 17 October 2019 the UK and the EU reached an agreement on the conditions for the UK’s departure from the EU (Brexit), and on a transition period until 31 December 2020.

The transition period will not be extended. The UK has said that it does not want an extension. The option of an extension was contained in the withdrawal agreement. The UK and the EU had until 1 July 2020 to agree on a possible extension.

Read the Withdrawal Agreement of 12 November 2019 on the website EUR-lex (the web portal for European Union legislation).

Arrangements in the withdrawal agreement

The agreement includes arrangements on:

  • the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British nationals in the EU (almost nothing will change for them until after 31 December 2020);
  • the amount the UK will contribute to the EU budget (and for how long);
  • the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

You can read more about the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British nationals in the EU in a document published by the European Commission. You can download the document in English and Dutch.

New relationship between the EU and the UK

During the transition period the UK and the EU are continuing to negotiate their new relationship. This includes agreeing on how companies in the EU will be able to do business in and with the UK after the transition period. They will also negotiate on security cooperation.

The new relationship will only become clear when the negotiations are complete, at the end of the transition period. The new agreements will enter into force after the transition period, which will end on 31 December 2020. The EU countries must first approve these new agreements. If the UK and the EU are unable to reach agreement, there will be a ‘no deal’ Brexit. This will happen at the end of the transition period.

In any case the relationship between the UK and the EU will change. For example, there will be checks and more administrative procedures at the border between the UK and the EU. This includes declaring goods you import or export.

Negotiations between the EU and the UK

The Netherlands is not negotiating with the UK directly. The European Commission is doing so on behalf of the remaining 27 EU member states, on the basis of the mandate it has been given by the EU countries. This mandate sets out what the Commission can discuss with the UK and what negotiating position it should take.

In June the EU and the UK agreed to step up negotiations through weekly meetings and video conferences.

Brexit timelineKey dates in the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU: