As the UK leaves the European Union and the final trade deal negotiations begin, Tony Randle, Brexit partner at Shoosmiths, sets out some of the anticipated key dates during the next eleven months.
After a quick exchange between the House of Commons and the House of Lords (which saw the latter concede all of its suggested amendments), the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 received Royal Assent last week. Now the European Parliament has given its consent to the Withdrawal Agreement allowing the Council of the European Union to adopt a decision to conclude the Withdrawal Agreement, and paving the way for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) tomorrow night.
But where one chapter ends, another begins. Yes, the UK will no longer be part of the EU but, for all intents and purposes, very little will change, with the transition period largely maintaining the status quo until the end of the year. What the 31 January 2020 date does signify, is the start of the next round of Brexit-related negotiations, arguably the more important negotiations as the resulting trade deal will dictate the UK’s long term arrangements with the EU27.
The prime minister has made it clear he does not want to extend the transition period beyond 31 December 2020, and even went as far as including a prohibition on any extension in the new Act, which means the government effectively has to conclude ‘stage two’ negotiations in the next ten months, it being anticipated the trade deal must be finalised, translated and presented to the European Parliament by 26 November 2020.
Whether that is possible remains to be seen, and while we cannot provide businesses with any certainty a deal will be concluded to prevent an ultimate ‘no deal’ exit at the end of the year, the attached timeline sets out some key dates, which will hopefully aid businesses to benchmark progress as the year progresses.
2020: The key dates you need to know