Brexit: Main points to remember


On the 23rd of June 2016, the British people spoke in favour of their country leaving the European Union (EU). The withdrawal procedure was launched on  the 29th of March 2017. In principle, this procedure lasts two years, which means the United Kingdom should have left the EU on the 29th of March 2019. The European Council of 10 April decided to extend the procedure till 31 October 2019.

In order to ensure an orderly withdrawal, the EU and the British government have negotiated a withdrawal agreement, which needs to be approved by the British parliament in order to be enforced. If this agreement is approved, the U.K. will effectively leave the EU on 1 November 2019. There will be a transition period that will last until 31 December  2020 (this period could be prolonged by maximum two years, by common agreement). During this transition period, EU law will still be of application in the United Kingdom, which means the situation of Belgian residents will remain unchanged.

During this transition period, the EU and the United Kingdom will negotiate agreements setting the framework for their future relations. These would come into effect after the end of the transition period. It is these future agreements that would apply to Belgians wishing to travel to the United Kingdom after the end of the transition period.

The British Parliament has rejected the negotiated withdrawal agreement three times. This rejection does not necessarily mean a hard Brexit, without an agreement (“no deal”). All scenarios remain possible.