The UK’s declaration of withdrawal means that the EU is faced with a mammoth task. By the end of March 2019, the United Kingdom’s existing ties with the EU must be dissolved and the future UK-EU relationship has to be redefined and worked out.
An important step towards this was the draft withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union published by the European Commission on 28 February 2018. According to the draft agreement, there are to be no changes to the implementation of EU regulations until the end of the transitional period and the status quo will be extended until 31 December 2020. This would mean that citizens of the EU and the UK will retain the same rights they have had so far with respect to the free movement of workers. Other than a few ‘practical’ amendments, such as registrations, there are to be no other changes in this area. The rules set out in the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems (EC) No. 883/2004 and (EC) No. 987/2009 will also continue to apply to those who are affected by these rules. This is particularly significant for the aggregation and payment of pension entitlements from statutory pension insurance schemes. The same is true for medical care when in other European countries and the use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Current time limitations set by statutory pension and health insurance for the A1 Certificate will be extended to 31 December 2020 at the latest.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom will continue to adhere to all EU rules and continue to make financial contributions. In return, the UK will retain access to the EU internal market and remain a member of the customs union. Products will continue to circulate as freely as possible, provided they have been approved in accordance with the rules currently in place in the European or British market. Rules on the mutual recognition of medicinal product authorisations, drug safety and monitoring will continue to apply until at least the end of the transitional period. This also holds true for products that comply with European standards, certification procedures or conformity procedures, for example, products that are important for the safety and health of workers.
The aim of this is to hopefully soften the impact of Brexit on citizens and the economy. However, during this period, the United Kingdom will no longer have any co-determination rights and will have to implement new EU rules that arise without any formal involvement by the UK.
The European Commission’s goal is to reach agreement with the UK by October 2018 so that the withdrawal agreement can be ratified by the European Council, European Parliament and the UK Parliament by 29 March 2019. Ratification in the other Member States is not necessary.