21 December 2018

UNITED KINGDOM: Brexit negotiations update

As per 18 December 2018, there is still no formal agreement made between the United Kingdom and the EU with regards to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. 

The European Council met at the end of November and approved a draft Brexit Withdrawal agreement after endorsement from the 27 member states however the agreement has not yet gone before Parliament in the UK which is required in order for it to be ratified.

British MPs' vote on the withdrawal agreement

Under Section 13(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 the draft withdrawal agreement is required to be put to both houses of parliament and then MP’s must approve it and at the same time pass legislation that will assist with implementation; this has been called the ‘meaningful vote’.

Due to division between and even within the main political parties however, the Prime Minister Teresa May has decided to postpone putting the agreement – in fear that it would not pass - before parliament which has further delayed the process. Essentially the government cannot ratify the withdrawal agreement until parliament has approved it.

What will happen if there is 'No Deal'?

In case no deal is reached by the Brexit deadline of 29 March 2019 at 11pm, there will be no 21 month transition period applicable and no clarity about the relationship between the UK and EU in such diverse matters as trade, immigration, aviation and even medical supplies and regulations. Since time is running out both the UK and EU member states governments are preparing for a no deal scenario and what the implications will be.

Negotiations however are still ongoing and as per 18 December the next scheduled date for the ‘meaningful vote’ is 21 January 2019. In the meantime the UK government will continue discussions with the EU to seek resolutions and compromises to some of the most contentious Brexit issues.

How does this affect the client?

Employers should remain flexible and ready to change their policy with regards to British expats in Europe and European expats in the UK once more is known of the final decision. It is also advisable to keep up to date with the immigration policies of the various member states as they publish them.




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