Working in coordination with all the Federal ministries and the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Foreign Office has presented a ministry draft for a Brexit transition act. The act aims to create legal certainty across the board in Federal law for the transition period after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
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. Accordingly, the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU will end on 30 March 2019. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020, during which the United Kingdom will in principle continue to be treated like a Member State in EU law.
Aim and content
The aim of the ministry draft is to create legal clarity for the transition period as regards all the provisions of Federal law which refer to membership of the EU. The ministry draft contains a clear and simple transitional rule for such provisions: wherever Federal law speaks of the Member States of the EU, this will also include the United Kingdom after its withdrawal from the EU and up until the end of the transition period, as long as none of the stated exceptions applies.
In addition, there is to be a regulation in favour of British nationals who apply for German citizenship before the end of the transition period. They can acquire the German citizenship without having to give up their British citizenship, provided that all other naturalisation requirements are met before the end of the transition period. German citizens wishing to acquire the British citizenship would also benefit from the ministry draft. If they acquire the British citizenship before the end of the transition period, they will not lose their German citizenship.
The Länder, associations and other stakeholders now have the chance to comment on the ministry draft. Then the Federal Cabinet is to adopt it and initiate the parliamentary procedure. The aim is for the act to enter into force on the same date as the Withdrawal Agreement.