With the UK's withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, a transition period began until the end of 2020.
During the transition period, the current rules continue to be in place as if the UK were still a member of the EU. The EU and the UK will negotiate their future relationship during 2020. Due to the tight negotiation schedule, some sectors may fall outside the scope of the agreement starting on 1 January 2021. Businesses in particular should be prepared for this possibility.
Withdrawal agreement and transition period
The EU–UK withdrawal agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020. The withdrawal agreement dismantles all cooperation based on the UK’s EU membership in an orderly manner. The withdrawal agreement does not lay down provisions on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
The withdrawal agreement provides for a transition period until the end of 2020, during which the relationship between the EU and the UK continues under the EU’s current rules, as if the UK were still a member of the EU. The only significant exception is that, during the transition period, the UK no longer participates in EU decision-making or in the activities of EU bodies.
The withdrawal agreement also safeguards, among other things, the residence, employment and social security rights of EU citizens residing in the UK and UK citizens residing in the EU under EU law for life if they have settled in the UK or the EU before 1 January 2021. Their status and rights are safeguarded as they were under the key EU legislation as of 31 December 2020. The free movement of EU and UK citizens moving to each other's territory after 31 December 2020 will end and restrictions will be placed on their entry and rights.
Future relationship between the EU and the UK
The EU and the UK will negotiate their future relationship during 2020. The aim is for the future relationship to enter into force once the transition period is over on 1 January 2021. Further information on the future relationship will be provided later as the negotiations proceed.
Martti Salmi, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 400 510 304, martti.salmi(at)vm.fi