The transition period
The 1 February 2020 marks the start of the transition period which is intended to allow time for the UK and the EU to agree their future relationship. During the transition period the UK will have no say in the making of new EU laws but will have to follow all EU rules, including freedom of movement. The UK will cease to be a Member State of the European Union and will become a non-European Economic Area country. However, the UK will remain part of the EU Single Market and customs union. This in effect means that there is no change to the current situation, other than the UK will now be outside of the political institution and there will be no British members of the European Parliament until the end of the transition period or until a future trade deal is agreed and ratified.
Future trade deal
The first priority of the UK government will be to negotiate a trade deal with the EU. The UK wants as much access as possible for its goods and services to the EU. But the European Parliament has made it clear that the UK must leave the customs union and single market and end the overall jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
It is expected that this will take some time as all the remaining 27 member states and the European Parliament have to be in agreement. The UK government has ruled out any form of extension to the transition period so if no trade deal has been agreed and ratified by the end of the year, then the UK faces the prospect of tariffs on exports to the EU.
There are also other issues to sort out – like how the UK is going to cooperate with the EU on security and law enforcement.
What this means for you
There will be no change to the current services and products currently available to you during the transition period. There is no need for you to take any action and we will keep you updated as the details of the future trade agreement becomes clearer over the coming year. If you have any questions, please contact us through your normal channels.