What did Brexit change so far?

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Half the country held some muted celebrations at 11pm on Friday while the other half held mourning vigils at the moment Big Ben didn’t strike 11pm but regardless the United Kingdom left the EU. So what happened? What did Brexit change so far?

Brexit Change as of 11pm, 31st Januray 2020

UK residents are still Europeans but no longer EU Citizens. The UK lost 73 MEPs and will no longer attend EU summits unless as a specially invited guest. The Government Brexit department has also shut down. However the UK will continue to pay into the EU budget and also be bound by it’s rules and regulations (with no say in any new ones) until the end of the year.

Freedom of movement hasn’t changed which means you can still live and work in any EU country and the same applies to trade with no new checks or tariffs. This will continue until the end of the year.

Travel won’t change much in the short term, no visas are needed in 2020 and you can still use the queues designated for EU citizens. Your European Health Insurance Card will remain valid as will your pet passport if you have one. If you renew your passport in the near future, you may still receive a burgundy EU style British passport, but once stocks run out they will be replaced with the traditional Blue and Gold passport colours we used prior to 1988. It’s worth noting that the UK have always been free to have blue passports – much as many blame the EU the burgundy colour was never compulsory.

What we will hear a lot of during 2020 will be trade. The UK is now free to commence free trade negotiations with every country in the world and is likely to do so alongside EU trade negotiations. This will be a tricky task as it’s likely that some countries will have objectives diametrically opposed to those objectives of the EU. No new trade deals will be implemented during 2020, even in the unlikely event that negotiations are concluded. It’s likely that many trade deals could take years to be realised so don’t expect too many changes in the short term.

The next key date and one that could have the more far reaching Brexit change implication is June. This is the deadline for the UK to request an extension to the transition period – a request that the Prime Minister has vowed he will not ask for.

If no trade agreement is reached by the end of 2020 then in theory the UK would fall back on WTO rules, with the exception of Northern Ireland where trade in goods with the EU would be covered by the Northern Ireland Protocol. However, although EU rules make it difficult to extend the transition period if it’s not formally requested before July, the reality is that the EU are generally pragmatic and their trade with the UK would make it attractive for them to find a solution.

2 Responses

  1. In ecommerce news here’s something*.

    If you business import/export goods from/to EU then you need to ensure below:
    – make sure you register for EORI,
    – prepare for customs declarations.

    *tryly inspired by HRMC knowledgeable email we received last week.

    Not sure if I’d luagh here.

  2. the EU are (sic) generally pragmatic’

    cf https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/01/opinion/global-trade-after-the-failure-of-the-doha-round.html

    US & EC wrecked the post second world war trade liberalisation process years ago – both treating domestic farming (property speculation) interests as more important.

    that defines EU ‘pragmatism’; we traders, merchants, industrial businesses do not count.

    better to find our own way – that will highlight the unfairness, distortion and pay-offs without vested interest and governments smothering dissent.


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