WTF Brexit: We’re Officially One Year Away, But What Does That Mean For You?

What's left to be decided? Well, quite A LOT it seems...

One Year To Brexit: What Does This Mean For You?

by Georgia Aspinall |
Published on

On the 29th of March 2019, Britain will officially leave the European Union. That means the government have 365 days to sort their shit out, of which they will most likely leave till the last minute if previous Brexit decisions are anything to go by. But what is there to decide? What’s already been decided? What does the one-year deadline ACTUALLY mean? There are SO MANY QUESTIONS. Alas, we are here, answer cards in hand, ready to give you the lowdown on all things Brexit, sans weird political jargon.

What has been decided so far?

Three major issues have been PROVISIONALLY decided so far. So basically, we have three ideas of what’s going to happen, but no formal agreement. Yes, it’s been almost 21 months since the UK voted to leave the EU and we have NO formal agreements. Alas, here are our provisionally agreed issues:

Firstly, that the UK has to pay between £35-39bn to leave the EU, this is the so-called ‘divorce bill’. The money covers contributions due and outstanding from earlier commitments, contributions to future liabilities of the EU and pensions to EU civil servants, as well as loans the EU has made to different countries. It also covers paying off our assets, for example the UK has a capital share of the European Investment Bank.

The second issue agreed so far was that there would be no ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic, which has been a huge source of tension since Theresa May is committed to leaving the EU customs and single market, which would imply that a border is necessary.

Finally, they decided that EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa will not have their rights impacted by Brexit. This means they will still have the right to live, work and study where they are. In this agreement, it was also concluded that relatives who do not live in the UK will have reunification rights to join their family in their host country in future.

So yes, it took over a year and coming uncomfortably close to the deadline, but three issues have been provisionally agreed. And in typical ‘we-take-ages-to-do-anything’ fashion, the government also managed to ensure there was also a 21-month transition period agreed from the 29th of March 2019, to the 31st of December 2020, to give everyone a chance to prepare and get used to post-Brexit life.

What still needs to be decided?

Talks are now moving onto trade, travel and security. These are three HUGE issues, arguably much more complex and divisive than the previous three issues agreed, which means the snail pace we’ve currently been going at has to pick up if anything is to be decided before the year is up.

Currents talks have centered around trade, as the UK needs to negotiate a new trade deal to replace the existing free trade we have with the EU bloc (yes, we are negotiating away from a free trade deal).

With Theresa May adamant the UK will leave the customs union and single market (we’ve explained what that means here). However, negotiations are ongoing and until a new agreement is made we will continue with the single market rules with essentially no tariffs for trade.

Leaving the EU means the end of free movement of people from the UK to the EU and vice versa, so the UK also needs to decide new migration rules.

Another ginormous issue is security, as we are involved in a tonne of defense and foreign policy treaties. Essentially, we need to negotiate how involved the UK will be in EU foreign affairs and how involved they will be should we need help with security.

Then there’s also how the UK and EU will work together in fields of research, education and transport.

What are the key Brexit dates to look out for?

• 18-19 October 2018 – The deadline for agreeing the final withdrawal treaty

• January 2019 - The month the withdrawal treaty should be ratified if they stick to their target

• 29 March 2019 –British membership of the EU ends at 11pm GMT and midnight in Brussels.

• 30 March 2019 - The transition period begins! It will last 21 months and enables Britain to negotiate future trade deals with non-EU countries.

• 31 December 2020 – End of transition period

• 1 January 2021 – The new trade deal between the EU and UK will begin, and any trade deals with external countries can then be ratified.

WATCH: The Debrief speak to Nick Clegg about the EU Referendum

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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