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Brexit transition act

The transitional Brexit act is intended to provide legal clarity in the transition period.

The transitional Brexit act is intended to provide legal clarity in the transition period., © dpa-Zentralbild

05.09.2018 - Article

On 5 September 2018, the German Cabinet approved the bill submitted by the Federal Foreign Office for the post-Brexit transition period.

Working with all the federal ministries and the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Foreign Office presented a Transitional Brexit Bill aimed at creating legal certainty across the board in federal law for the transition period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The German Cabinet approved the bill on 5 September 2018. A parliamentary process will now be launched.

Background

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland informed the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union, thus officially triggering the procedure under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that the United Kingdom will no longer be a member of the EU from 30 March 2019. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020, during which EU law will fundamentally continue to apply to the United Kingdom. The aim is to give the public, companies and administrations time to adapt to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

Aim and content

The main aim of the bill is to create legal clarity for the transition period as regards provisions of federal law that refer to membership of the EU.  The bill contains a clear and simple transitional rule for the transition period: wherever federal law refers to the EU Member States, this will also include the United Kingdom as long as none of the stated exceptions apply.

The bill also includes a provision to help British and German citizens who apply for citizenship of the other country before the end of the transition period.  Under this provision, they will be allowed to retain their original citizenship even if the decision on their naturalisation is made after the end of the transition period. In such cases, dual citizenship will be tolerated under certain conditions.

Further steps

The act must be approved by the German Bundestag with the consent of the Bundesrat. 

The aim is for it to enter into force on the same date as the Withdrawal Agreement, that is, presumably on 30 March 2019, thus ensuring that its provisions are not applied should the Withdrawal Agreement not come about. 

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