Context

Warning: The contents may be modified regularly depending on the negotiations.

On 23 June 2016, the British public voted for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU).

On 29 March 2017, the British Government formally notified the President of the European Council of Britain's intention to withdraw. On this basis, the United Kingdom was expected to leave the EU two years after formal notification of its intention to withdraw.

The United Kingdom's withdrawal opened up complex and difficult negotiations, which resulted in a draft withdrawal agreement between the British Government and the European Council, validated by the European Council on 25 November 2018.

This draft withdrawal agreement is designed to manage the consequences of BREXIT, including:

  •  the rights of citizens
  •  the Irish border
  • the financial settlement
  • governance
  • the transition period

The terms of the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom have been validated separately from the withdrawal agreement, and have been the subject of a joint political declaration, which sets out the basis for the future partnership between the two parties. These two texts were submitted to the British Parliament on 15 January 2019, but were rejected.

The British Government now needs to indicate which solution it envisages. In the meantime, in Belgium, the federal authorities, federated entities, businesses and the public continue to prepare for all eventualities, including the possibility of a no-deal.

New relations

The EU and the United Kingdom will only be able to negotiate the details of their new relations after Brexit. These relations will therefore only become clearer when this new stage of the negotiations is completed. The EU and the United Kingdom have until 31 December 2020 to agree on a deal. In effect, a transitional phase has been agreed for this period, during which all EU laws and regulations will continue to apply in the United Kingdom. The agreement also specifies that this transitional phase may be extended only once, for two years, if necessary.

No-deal

The provisional agreement on Brexit has not yet been approved by all parties. Belgium, like all EU Member States, is therefore still considering all possible scenarios. One of these is that the United Kingdom leaves the EU without a deal: there will therefore be no agreement in any sector.

If this scenario plays out, the Belgian federal government has drawn up a list of the measures to be taken at all levels. The aim is to safeguard the interests of the Belgian public and businesses. In concrete terms, no fewer than 250 potential measures are planned at all levels of government, whether regulatory, administrative and technical, financial or purely informative.

The European Commission, in consultation with the Member States, is preparing the necessary measures at EU level. Belgium is actively involved in all these negotiations.

In Wallonia

In order to safeguard the interests of its citizens, the Walloon Region has prepared decree to handle the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without a deal.

Below is the decree adopted in plenary session of the Parliament of Wallonia on 3 April 2019 :

  • Decree on temporary measures following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without a deal. This draft decree sets out temporary measures that will be necessary if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal. In this case, the United Kingdom would become a "third country" and the British citizens concerned would be affected from one day to the next by a change in the system applicable to them under the various Walloon regulations. In certain cases, this could be a problem, not only for British citizens, but also for Walloon companies and citizens. For this reason, the Government proposes establishing a temporary system, based on reciprocity and in line with the transitional measures agreed at European level, by neighbouring countries and by the federal government and other federated entities.
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