Blog: Brexit deal is signed, but the saga isn’t over yet
Anders Ladefoged, Director and Head of European Affairs at DI, blogs about last Sunday’s extraordinary EU summit.
On Sunday morning, British prime minister Theresa May and the EU’s 27 other heads of state and government signed a deal setting out the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU. The fact that there is now a detailed and signed withdrawal deal on the table is good news for Danish businesses. It is an important step forwards in the process, not least because it reduces the risk of a disorderly no-deal Brexit, which would be seriously detrimental to Danish companies.
In addition to the 585-page withdrawal deal, heads of state and government from the UK and EU27 respectively signed a political declaration regarding future relations between the two parties post-Brexit. The document will form the basis for negotiations regarding the future partnership. Negotiations will commence following the UK’s formal exit from the EU on 29 March, 2019.
See also: Blog: Five tips to prepare for Brexit
Brexit deal sets out sensible framework
From the perspective of the Danish business community, the content of the political declaration on the future is sensible. It recognises that both the UK and EU have much to gain from maintaining as close an economic relationship as possible. Meanwhile, the document also makes it clear that no compromises will be made in terms of the balance between the rights and obligations the single market is founded upon.
There should therefore be no illusions. The UK has decided to leave the single market, and European companies must therefore expect that it will become more difficult to do business in the British market. This applies to the buying and selling of goods, provision of services and stationing of employees. As expressed by several EU leaders during Sunday’s summit: There are no winners in Brexit. It is solely a matter of limiting the damage.
The threat of a no-deal Brexit still looms
The deal must now be ratified by the British parliament and European Parliament before it can come into force. The British lower house is expected to vote on 11 or 12 December. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the deal in January or February at the latest.
But it is still too early for businesses to breathe a sigh of relief. Until a majority in the British parliament has approved the deal, there is no guarantee of an orderly Brexit, a transition plan or a sensible process giving way to an ambitious free trade agreement between the EU and UK.
If there is one thing that has been certain throughout the entire Brexit ordeal, it is that everything is uncertain. This remains true even though we’re nearing the end. It is therefore still wise to make the necessary preparations for a no-deal Brexit. The saga’s last chapter has begun, but it is not over yet.
Learn more about how to prepare for Brexit here:
DI’s Brexit Toolkit offers inspiration for how to map the risks Brexit may have for your company specifically.
The Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has a Brexit Checklist that gives you an overview of how Brexit can affect your business and what kinds of changes you should prepare for.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has gathered Brexit guides from various Danish ministries on its Brexit page. Among other things, you can find guides about customs duties and customs procedures after Brexit.