2020 is the year of the Rat. The Chinese New Year in starts on Saturday, 25th January. This is going to be a pivotal year for those born in 1960, like myself. I hope that all the Rats out there are going to be as ambitious, creative and intelligent as astrologically predicted. Certainly, that would help with Brexit just days away.
Brexit Day is Friday, 31st January. It’s like passing through a one-way valve and not so much a bell ringers paradise. Or even a reason for fanfares. It’s the date of entry into force of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (WA), or at least it should be. Thus, the UK will leave the EU in a fully legal way. Nevertheless, EU law will continue to apply in the UK for the period of the WA. That is, that the UK will remain bound by EU treaties. Also, the EU will ask its partners to treat the UK as if it were still a Member State for all those existing treaties.
The biggest impact of the end of the month is that there will no longer be the possibility of revoking the Article 50 TEU. From then on, the way back for the UK to re-join the EU is provided for in Article 49 TEU. In that foreseeable but unlikely case the UK would be viewed as an applicant State.
In addition to the above, from the 31st the UK loses its institutional representation in the EU. So, no more British members of the European Parliament, or European Commissioners or European Council members. Interestingly, at the time of the signing of the Lisbon Treaty the EU had 27 Member States and now it’s returning to that number.
Outside the EU, will the UK be better placed to tackle the major challenges that all States face, including globalisation, climate change, energy security, terrorism and organised crime? That’s the big open question. The UK will leave the EU on 31st, but there remains a lot of complex negotiations to come. This is the start of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
So, is there general happiness and contentment? No. In fact, businesses continue to be cautious and concerned. In particular, the aerospace industry has been alarmed by talk of major regulatory upsets. What will the institutional framework be for the future? How will it be staffed and funded? Businesses would like to know where the UK Government intends to go next. It remains difficult to plan if there’s only a scant idea of the intended destination. That said, Brexit is not bad for everyone. Germany has seen an increase in interest from British businesses.