At midnight French time on January 31, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. But the effects of Brexit (for ? British exit) will, in reality, be barely visible the next morning. It will take until December 31, 2020, the end of the transition period provided for in the agreement between London and Brussels, to really cut the bridges. Unless there is a further extension, possible until the end of 2022, if both parties agree.
This reprieve should allow the British and Europeans to renegotiate one to one some 600 international agreements (trade, traffic, justice, defense, etc.).
In this 1st In February, the 3.2 million EU nationals living in the United Kingdom and the 1.2 million British in Europe are obviously not asked to leave. They still retain all their rights (work, pensions, social security, etc.), at least until December 31, 2020.
Europeans expatriated across the Channel must, however, if they have not already done so, take steps to obtain a « settled status » (residence). So far, the European Parliament has worried, most have only obtained temporary and not permanent residence status.
Since the United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen area, a passport or identity card is already required to get there. Nothing new, therefore, at first. Ditto for the European health insurance card, necessary in the event of hospitalization in the United Kingdom: it remains valid for the time being. And after that ? Everything will depend on the negotiations to come.
Note however a concrete change for the British: they will be able to benefit from this 1st February, a national passport, blue in color, which will no longer bear the words « European Union ».
Over 300,000 European cats, dogs, ferrets and other pets travel to the UK each year for vacation or to live there. And about 250,000 farts British do the opposite. Their conditions of entry or exit from the country will not vary, until December 31, 2020. Just barely will they, as before, be microchipped and up to date with their vaccinations. For the rest, everything is possible: new vaccines (rabies, etc.), quarantine at the border, etc. These arrangements will also be at the heart of the upcoming negotiations between London and Brussels.
For “duty free”?
The United Kingdom remains in the customs union until the end of the transitional period. So there is no question, for the moment, of re-establishing duty free: if product taxes are settled in the country of purchase, the EU does not impose any restrictions on the quantity of alcohol or tobacco. Customs will continue to ask, beyond 800 cigarettes and 10 liters of spirits acquired in the United Kingdom, if these products are intended for personal consumption, recalls the European Consumer Center.
For the driving license?
The European driving license will remain valid in the United Kingdom for the next few years, confirmed the British government. After the transitional period, on the other hand, the British could be forced to acquire an international permit to circulate in the EU, unless otherwise agreed.
For Erasmus +?
The student exchange program is maintained for the time being: Europeans who are already studying or doing an internship in the United Kingdom and British people in a Member State will be able to complete their studies under the same conditions, continuing to receive their scholarships. What happens next will also depend on the negotiations to come.
For customs tariffs?
Nothing changes until December 31. Beyond that, Northern Ireland, the only British province to have a common land border with an EU country (the Republic of Ireland), will enjoy a special status. Goods produced in Northern Ireland will continue to flow to the EU without control. Those imported into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or a third country (non-European), and intended for the European market, will however be subject to customs controls in the ports or airports of Northern Ireland where they will arrive.
The question of access to British territorial waters for European fishermen is already shaping up to be one of the main areas of tension to be feared in the upcoming negotiations between London and Brussels. But fishermen can continue as before, at least until December 31, 2020.
For the British in our cities?
757 Britons are elected to French municipal councils: it is the most represented nationality among the 2,500 non-French elected representatives of European origin. During the March 2020 elections, they will no longer be allowed to run on the lists, unless they have taken care to change their nationality, to acquire that of France … or another Member State. Same scenario for voters: the British will no longer have the right to vote in France.
For the British in Brussels?
They pack up. From this 1st February, the British no longer have the right to sit in European institutions, nor to take part in debates and votes. Their country, on the other hand, will continue, until the end of the transition period, to pay its contribution to the European budget, and will remain subject to all European rules and legislation.
The departure of the 73 British MEPs from the European Parliament leaves a big void. The number of elected officials rose from 751 to 705. Twenty-seven seats were also redistributed to demographically under-represented Member States. France recovers five…
For English in Brussels?
Among the 24 official languages recognized by the European Union, according to the treaties (art. 352 of the TFEU and art. 55 of the TEU), English remains the most widely used within the institutions. According to European treaties, each new member state is free to indicate « its » language at the very moment of its accession. In theory, Brexit requires, English – chosen by the United Kingdom alone – could therefore disappear. But that would require a unanimous vote of the 27 states. It seems unlikely that Ireland and Malta – which had promoted Gaelic and Maltese when they joined – would give up English, the common language of their countries.