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UK | EU Leaders Approve Britain’s Brexit Deal

December 3, 2018

European Union leaders officially approved Britain’s separation–their Brexit—from the EU on Sunday, November 25. For Brexit to be finalized, the U.K. Parliament will have to vote to approve. Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain is pushing to have Brexit voted on before Parliament recesses on December 20, 2018.

Update on December 10: The parliamentary vote scheduled for December 11 has been delayed.

What to Expect:
If approved by Parliament, the U.K. will be scheduled to depart the EU on March 29 at 11 p.m. followed by a 21-month grace period to ensure a smooth transition. As the deal is structured now, free movement between Britain and the EU would come to an end. The details surrounding the departure, specifically how trade and the financial sector will function, have yet to be solidified. U.K. banks will transition out of the EU’s integrated financial system, and into an independently run network, similar to that of the U.S. or Japan. The details of an independent system will be determined during the transition period to limit market disruption.

If Parliament does not approve the deal, the future becomes more uncertain. In one scenario, Prime Minister May could try to renegotiate the terms with the EU leaders, though they’ve already stated they’re not willing to change the terms. There is a possibility that the U.K. would leave the EU without a deal. Under the EU Withdrawal Act, on March 29, the EU treaties would no longer apply to the U.K. Another scenario is what’s being called a negotiated “no-deal” where the UK would request a one-year extension before leaving on World Trade Organization terms. Further options include a new referendum or general election.

In the near term, Prime Minister May will be trying to secure a confirmation vote before the end of December. As we learn more, we’ll be sharing our analysis at every vote and next step to ensure you and your colleagues are informed and prepared.