On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom officially requested to exit the European Union (Brexit) by invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The Withdrawal Agreement is what lays out the conditions for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). Its text was agreed by the negotiations of 14 November 2018 and endorsed on 25 November 2018 by an Extraordinary European Council. It is awaiting the signature and ratification of the United Kingdom and the EU.
Whether the agreement is ratified or not, at 00:00 (CET) on 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will stop being a European Union member State unless it withdraws its decision or the scheduled Brexit date is unanimously extended.
Therefore, two scenarios are possible:
One in which an effective Brexit agreement is reached, or “Brexit with a Deal”. In this case, a transitional period will be opened running from 30 March 2019, the date on which the United Kingdom will be a third country, until 31 December 2020, with the possibility of an extension of one or two years. During this period, the stipulations of the Withdrawal Agreement would apply. These are designed to provide for an orderly exit while giving sufficient time for the agreement that will govern the future relationship between the two parties to be negotiated and finalised.
The text agreed between European Union and United Kingdom negotiators on 14 November 2018 stipulates that during this period, the United Kingdom will continue to apply practically all of the Acquis Communautaire, even though it will no longer be involved in the European Union’s decision-making process.
Another in which an effective agreement is not reached, called “No-deal Brexit”. In this case, the Agreements and all the EU acquis will no longer apply to the relations with the United Kingdom on 30 March 2019. This scenario supposes that the United Kingdom will be a third country and it will not participate in the domestic market or the binding freedoms therein.
For the case in which the Withdrawal Agreement is not signed and ratified before 30 March 2019, and to mitigate the impact on our citizens and economic operators to the extent possible, the Government of Spain has approved Royal Decree-Law 5/2019, of 1 March, adopting contingency measures in the event of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union without reaching the agreement considered in article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. (BOE [Official State Bulletin] of 2 March 2019).
The European Union also is working on a solution in order to avoid any serious disturbances in general, and in the field of transport in particular, through various “contingency regulations”, which are likely to be approved shortly.
The purpose of this space is to address any potential questions and concerns that citizens and professionals have on how Brexit might impact those areas that fall under the purview of this Department.
It is important to keep in mind that we do not yet know for certain the conditions under which Brexit will take place; as a result, as these conditions are specified, it is likely that the answers will have to be updated.