It had previously been assumed that the United Kingdom’s membership would end two years after the declaration of the withdrawal, irrespective of whether or not the country had concluded a withdrawal agreement with the EU. The UK has however now requested an extension of the withdrawal deadline. The European Council has complied with this request, resulting in the following options:
Scenario 1: A withdrawal agreement
The UK can approve the withdrawal agreement until 31 October 2019. The withdrawal agreement may enter into force on an earlier date, should the EU and the UK complete their respective ratification procedures before 31 October 2019. In that case the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the following month.
The withdrawal agreement that has been negotiated between the EU and the United Kingdom provides for a transition period which is to last until 31 December 2020, and the regulations on the coordination of social security systems are to continue to apply during this period (e.g. to tourists, posted workers, pensioners and students). These are Regulations (EC) No 883/2004, (EC) No 987/2009 and (EC) No 859/2003, in conjunction with Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71.
Scenario 2: A disorderly exit (no-deal Brexit)
If the UK is still a Member of the EU on 23-26 May 2019 and if it has not ratified the withdrawal agreement by 22 May 2019, it must hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law. If the UK fails to live up to this obligation, the withdrawal will take place on 1 June 2019. This applies also if the UK does not approve the withdrawal agreement until 31 October 2019.
Scenario 3: An extension of the withdrawal deadline
The UK requested an extension of the withdrawal deadline. The European Council has complied with this request, so that the withdrawal period will be extended until 31 October 2019 if the UK does not approve the withdrawal agreement that has been negotiated with the EU before that date.
Scenario 4: Cancellation of Brexit
The European Court of Justice has ruled that the United Kingdom could unilaterally rescind its intention to withdraw from the EU. Brexit could be cancelled in this way until the date on which the United Kingdom’s EU membership comes to an end, provided that no withdrawal agreement has yet come into force.