Brexit Readiness Action Plan
This Brexit Readiness Action Plan supports and promotes the necessary preparations for the substantial and enduring changes that will arise at the end of the transition period in a little over one months’ time, on 31 December 2020. In many respects it draws on the Government’s Brexit Contingency Plans of December 2018 and July 2019.
The United Kingdom left the European Union on 1 February 2020 after both sides had concluded a Withdrawal Agreement which facilitates an orderly departure. The Withdrawal Agreement also includes the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland which protects the peace process and avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, while preserving the integrity of the EU Customs Union and Single Market and Ireland’s place therein. Regardless of the outcome of the future relationship negotiations, the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol will apply. The Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK will also continue to operate as it does today. Citizens of either country will continue to be able to live, work, study and to access associated entitlements and services in the other.
The Withdrawal Agreement also provides for a transition period. The transition period is intended to give time for national administrations, businesses and citizens to prepare for the changes that will definitively arise on 1 January 2021. From this point, the UK will be outside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, and will no longer be bound by EU law. This will significantly change the way the EU and the UK engage into the future.The EU and the UK are currently negotiating a future partnership agreement. The EU’s approach to the negotiations is underpinned by the Political Declaration signed by the EU and UK in October, 2019. The Declaration set out the parameters for an ‘ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation with a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at its core’. One of the key issues addressed in the Political Declaration is the need for a strong level playing field, to ensure fair and open competition and to prevent businesses gaining an uncompetitive advantage by diminishing important protections of workers and the environment–an important element of any deal given the geographic closeness and interconnected nature of the EU and UK economies.