TGT On-The-Go: What Happened to Brexit? | By Vikrant Sharma

TGT On-The-Go 
What Happened to Brexit? 
By Vikrant Sharma

Brexit has been a messy affair for the last 4 years now.
After Boris Johnson scored a sizeable majority for the Conservatives in December last year, a Withdrawal Agreement Act was passed in UK, after agreement with the European Union, that gives UK and EU a ‘transition period’ of 11 months.
UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. The transition period, in force till 31 December 2020, effectively means the UK remains, during this period, a part of the customs union and the single market. It also means that the UK remains a part of the EU economic institutions and security co-operation mechanisms for the time being. However, UK has with its January exit already left all the political institutions of the European Union.[1]
This transition period, which the UK Government calls ‘an implementation period’, is meant to facilitate negotiations between the two parties that will lead to deals in place that ensure stability when the UK finally severs ties with EU completely. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has practically thrown the entire process out of the window. Negotiations continue but the focus of every government is now the saving of lives and not drafting of new deals.
While the withdrawal agreement does have a provision to extend the transition period by 2 years at max, the same has to be agreed upon by the UK and EU before 31 July 2020; after which it will be legally difficult to seek an extension. The present Boris administration has shown strict disdain at the prospect of another extension and seems focused on leaving the EU completely at the end of the year- even if that means it has to do so without a deal in place. Such a no-deal would mean that the UK and EU would have to trade on WTO terms.
Do comment below what your views are- should the UK government seek an extension? What would the impact of a no-deal be? We want to know what you think!

[1] Brexit Transition Period, Institute for Government,


  1. I think Yes, UK should go for the extension. Because the harm that would be inflicted on UK's economy if they don't settle for tight deals especially now after the economic loss due to Covid-19 would be devastating. Therefore, it is better to suffer ridicule of people for their slow actions to leave EU than to forego the only opportunity in near future to settle for beneficial deals with various institutions.

    1. Vikrant Sharma15 May 2020 at 15:20

      I agree Nipun, that's a fair analysis

  2. I feel like there is another legal route through which Britain and EU can make an extension. Article 49A, paragraph 3, of the Lisbon Treaty states that the EU treaties will cease to have effect on the exiting member "from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or...,unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period." Considering that there is lack of clarity as to whether Britain will be able to extend the period via the Withdrawal Agreement, in a future situation where they decide to do so, UK and EU may use Article 49A , paragraph 3's last phrase as a resort to extend their time for negotiations. The provision does not have a bar on the limitation period too, so they may use it flexibly.

    1. Vikrant Sharma30 May 2020 at 15:08

      Good point Ashwin. I feel Brexit has become a very politically sensitive issue in UK and as Boris has ardently refused to extend the time, it will be very interesting to see how he justifies a possible extension to his voters, considering he ran for office on a promise to deliver a quick Brexit no matter the cost.


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