January 31, 2020, 23:00 GMT, the world was still welcoming the new year, and everyone was busy working on their resolutions, while the U.K., on the other hand, had other plans to accomplish— to finally cut ties with the E.U.
Brexit was born back in 2016 by the Government of the U.K. Article 50 of the law that binds member countries—aka, the Treaty of European Union(TEU)— allows any state to exit the Union as per its constitutional needs.
A 2016 Referendum voted in the motion, and the exit plan was set for on March 29, 2019, as directed by law. However, the U.K. requested a postponement—which was granted up to January 31, 2020.
So what next for the independent U.K.?
First, the U.K. has 11 months to cut ties with the Union completely. The switch is procedural, so the United Kingdom has up-to-the close of 2020 to pack up and leave.
That means the U.K. may not experience significant changes until Dec 2020. It will stay in the Union’s market & customs segment and keep contributing to E.U.’s budget.
The United Kingdom (like other member states) will still enjoy the tariff-free movement of goods, people, services, and funds throughout the Union.
When will things get underway?
Steve Barclay, ex Brexit Secretary, has said the U.K. would launch discussions on future ties with the E.U. on March 3.
He also mentioned that much of what the U.K. prioritizes remain secret in the midst of worries that the conservative party is planning to remain discreet.
A 40-member team headed by David Frost, the PM’s right-hand-man for Europe, will lead the U.K. in talks. The Union will be led by E.U.’s chief Brexit mediator, Michel Barnier.
What’s the Main Agenda, and What lies Ahead?
For either side, the prime concern is to discuss a free-trade arrangement that will form the foundation for their future economic dealings. In particular, both sides want quota-free and tariff-free movement of goods.
The Union also said it is willing to enter a deal “ONLY if the United Kingdom vows to NOT compromise environmental safety in a bid to compete against the bloc.”
But Boris Johnson, British PM, has maintained that the U.K. is not mandated to follow any E.U. conditions.
Finally, the curtains have fallen—after years of talks that seemed to never come to a close. The United Kingdom is out of the bloc. What follows next will depend on discussions scheduled to start in March.