Brexit and the transition period – the future of EU-UK relations
Brussels, 31 January 2020
With the adoption of the Withdrawal agreement of the UK from the EU in the European Parliament on 29 January, we concluded the final step and allowed Brexit to happen. It is a very unfortunate event and I would have preferred that our British friends decided differently. But at the other side, more than three and a half years after the Brexit referendum, it is good to have some clarity about the UK’s future.
Although the UK will not be a Member State of the EU anymore and will have no voting right in its decision taking procedures, the country will still be bound to European legislation during a transition period, initially planned to last until the 31 December 2020. During this period, many things will remain the same. The UK will stay as member of the European Single Market and the Customs Union, decisions of the European Court of Justice will continue to apply and travelling to the UK will not become more burdensome.
This transition period allows the EU and the UK to set out the details of their future relationship and to get the UK prepared to be as independent from the EU as they wish. The UK Prime Minister wants to get a UK-EU trade deal done in less than one year, nevertheless, it will not be an easy assignment Next to the vast amount of European internal legislation, the EU has more than 750 bilateral agreements with regions all over the world. Unless the EU and UK agree differently, the UK will lose all the benefits and legal certainty of these agreements and will have to negotiate them again by themselves. We as European Union are eager to negotiate, but we will also protect our interests. We need the UK as a strong partner, but being outside the EU means losing the benefits of EU membership. Seeing the complexity of the task ahead it seems that the negotiations on any trade agreement will be much more complicated than the Brexit agreement. Therefore, I believe it will not be surprising if the transition period will be extended.
Now that the UK is no longer a Member State of the EU, the UK-EU relations will be dealt with in the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs. As EPP vice-coordinator for foreign affairs, I will always be open work with the UK to a constructive and positive future. We have many things in common. We share history, culture and values and we are both part of NATO and other international organisations And if one thing can be clear, it is that the EU wants the best relations with the UK as possible