On January 1, 2021, the UK left the single
European market and customs union, as well as all international agreements
negotiated by the EU. This brings the free movement of people, goods, services
and capital between the UK and the EU to an end. The EU and the UK will form
two separate markets from now on. Barriers to trade in goods and services and
to cross-border mobility and exchange are expected both from the EU to the UK
and vice versa. The withdrawal agreement can be found here.
Transition period ends at the end of April
The agreement has been applied
provisionally since January 1, 2021 and will expire the day after tomorrow, on
April 30, 2021. Therefore, the European Parliament's approval was necessary for
the agreement to enter into force on a permanent basis.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement
contains provisions in areas such as:
- social security coordination
- trade in goods and services
- public procurement
- air and road transport
- energy and fisheries
- law enforcement and cooperation in criminal matters
- thematic cooperation and participation in EU programmes.
Long live Europe!
In the last plenary session in the European
Parliament in Brussels, mistakes were admitted on both sides after emotional
speeches by Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, EU chief negotiator,
Michel Barnier and the rapporteur of the trade pact for the European
Parliament, Andreas Schieder (S&D/AT). It was agreed to see the end as a
"While Brexit remains a historic
mistake, the EU has sought to limit the damage in recent years. The Trade and
Cooperation Agreement is the best available option under the current
circumstances", stated Schieder.
Majority in the EU Parliament
Although there were threats from Parliament
to delay the agreement because of the recurring disputes with London over the
special Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, the long overdue conclusion had to
be finally drawn up.
MEPs approved the agreement with 660 votes
in favour, 5 against and 32 abstentions.