Information about Brexit
The UK’s withdrawal from the EU entered into force on 1 February 2020. With the entry into force of the withdrawal agreement, a transition period began that will last until the end of 2020. During this time, the EU’s current rules will remain in force and the future relationship will be negotiated. During the transitional period, the UK will have all the rights and obligations of a Member State. The only significant exception is that the UK will no longer participate in EU decision-making or in the activities of EU bodies.
The purpose of the withdrawal agreement is to ensure the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU. Among other things, the withdrawal agreement safeguards 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 the end of the transition period. Their status and rights will be safeguarded as they were under the key EU legislation as of 31 December 2020. With regard to persons moving to each other’s territory after 31 December 2020, free movement will end and restrictions will be placed on the entry and rights of EU and UK citizens.
The withdrawal agreement will dismantle all cooperation based on the UK’s EU membership in an orderly manner. The goal is to negotiate a new relationship for each individual sector during the transition period – that is, during 2020. The European Commission, with Michel Barnier as Chief Negotiator, is in charge of the negotiations on behalf of the EU. The Commission will negotiate with the UK based on the negotiating directives issued on 25 February 2020 by the General Affairs Council. On 18 March 2020, the Commission published its first draft proposal for an agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
The future relationship will be clearly more distant than EU membership. The schedule for the negotiations is tight, as according to the Act on the Approval of the UK Withdrawal Agreement, the transition period cannot be extended. 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.
On 9 July 2020, the Commission published a Communication entitled “Getting ready for changes – Communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom”. The Communication examines the most important changes that will take place in any event as of the end of the transition period, regardless of whether or not the EU and the UK reach an agreement on their future relationship.
The UK pet passport, with the exception of Northern Ireland pet passports, is no longer valid in the EU and cannot be used for the import of pet dogs, cats or ferrets from the UK to EU Member States. The health certificate required for third country imports shall be used for imports of pet animals. Pet dogs, cats and ferrets imported from the UK will be required to vaccinate rabies, but not to determine antibodies. Dogs should be treated against Echinococcus multilocularis infection. When pet animals are exported from EU Member States to the UK, the EU pet passport remains valid and pet animals can return from the UK to EU Member States with this pet passport. The UK demands that pet dogs, cats and ferrets from EU Member States be vaccinated against rabies, but not tested for antibodies. Dogs other than those exported directly to the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta and Norway must be treated against Echinococcus multilocularis.