One of the most important events in modern European history has to be Britain’s EU departure, commonly referred to as Brexit. This event isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds and the EU and UK are still trying to agree on new rules that will establish how they go forward. Since this was, and still is, a very long and eventful process, let’s take a look at some of the key moments that already happened in 2020 and see what’s to come.
The UK leaves EU
Four years after the people of the UK took their vote, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union on 31 January. This is the first country to ever leave this institution so the process is a novelty for both parties. Of course, even though 31 January is the official date of the event, these things don’t happen instantaneously. Until the end of the year, The UK will be in the transition period in which the UK and EU need to work out all the issues surrounding this departure. The main problem lies in the EU’s Single Market which the UK won’t be a part of from January 2021.
On 2 March, the negotiations regarding trade began in Brussels between the UK and EU. Both parties agree that they don’t want to implement new taxes on trading, but the issue is not that simple. The problem is that the UK now wants to set its own rules, independent of the EU; however, some of those rules give the UK an unfair advantage over the countries that are still in the EU. Since this was the time when the global pandemic began all over Europe, these talks were postponed, and since then, little progress has been made.
UK trade deal with Japan
Even though some of the most important issues regarding Brexit are still unsettled, the UK started to make its own, independent deals with other countries, such as the trade deal with Japan. This is the UK’s first trade deal since it left the EU, and it won’t be the last.
New policies and changes
The United Kingdom is also planning on implementing a new immigration policy with big changes regarding the EU countries – the citizens of these countries will lose their preferential treatment and the right to move to the UK. There will also be some limitations regarding travel, and many more small, but significant rules that will change Europe in 2021.
What can we expect now?
The future of the UK-EU relationship is still uncertain, and there is little hope that any big breakthrough will be made by the end of the year. Like we mentioned before, the UK is already planning on implementing many changes that will have a huge effect on the EU. Moreover, if trade talks fail, tariffs – taxes on trading – will be implemented on both sides. This means that the products coming from the UK will be more expensive in the EU and vice versa. Neither side wants this to happen, but the truth is, there isn’t much time left.