Friday, January 31st, is a Brexit Day. At 11:01 P.M. GMT, the UK — under the leadership of prime minister Boris Johnson — formally leaves the European Union and immediately enters an 11-month transition period.
Not so good.
On Wednesday (01/29/20), the European Parliament voted in Brussels to ratify the withdrawal agreement that governs Britain’s departure from the European Union. During the transition, the United Kingdom will continue to obey European Union rules and pay money to the EU coffers but:
- Because the UK will leave all of the EU’s political institutions and agencies, the Britons will lose any influence over how things are run in the EU. At the same time, the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes in the UK.
- British will also no longer attend regular EU meetings, and if Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to attend any EU Council summits, he will have to be specially invited.
- Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK (Germany’s constitution does not allow its citizens to be extradited unless it’s to another EU country). Still, The European Arrest Warrant will continue to apply during the transition period. (That means Germany will be able to extradite non-German citizens from UK.)
On a better note, the UK will be allowed to negotiate trade agreements with countries like the US and Australia, which as an EU member it could not do. (Brexit supporters believe that having the freedom to set its trade policy will boost the UK’s economy.) Still, trade between the UK and EU will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.
No Immediate changes.
Leave it alone. No complaints.
If it comes to things like travel, the way medical care is handled, and rules governing living and working in EU countries, no changes are anticipated during the transition period.
- Driving licenses will be honored.
- European Health Insurance Card will continue to be valid.
- UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension.
So, the life of ordinary British citizens living in the EU is not going to face any drastic change. At least till December 31st.
The last thought.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hail the “dawn of a new era” on Friday, as the UK will leave the European Union.
The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning. This is the moment when the dawn breaks, and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change.Boris Johnson
Over the next 11 months, the world will closely monitor Europe’s second-largest economy, breaking ties with the Union. If the process runs relatively painless and will create a positive impact on the British economy, no one should be surprised when some other EU member will realize that maybe breaking out of the pack is not such a bad idea.
Good luck to all Britons. I wish you the best.
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