The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (‘United Kingdom’ or ‘UK’) left the European Union (‘EU’) and the European Atomic Energy Community (‘Euratom’) – hereafter referred together as ‘Union’ – on 1 February 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the Union and the United Kingdom entered into force on that date, securing the United Kingdom’s orderly departure, and providing legal certainty in important areas, including citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.
As a third country, the United Kingdom no longer participates in the Union’s decision-making. It is not represented in the EU institutions, EU agencies, offices or other Union bodies.
However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, Union law continues to apply to and in the United Kingdom for a ‘transition period’ lasting until 31 December 2020.
During the transition period, the United Kingdom continues to participate in the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, to benefit from Union policies and programs, and has to continue to abide by the obligations of the international agreements, to which the Union is a party. This transition period therefore offers a period of continuity.
The European Commission drafted a checklist that aims to help EU companies doing business in the United Kingdom (UK) and/or UK companies doing business in the EU to double-check their state of readiness for 1 January 2021. The checklist and more about what have already been agreed and what is currently being negotiated and prepared can be found at the websites of the European Commission.