How often could Brexit be postponed?
Brexit in a nutshell: a chronology of the major events of 2016-2021
In a referendum on June 23, 2016, the British voted with a narrow majority to leave the European Union. Since then, Brexit has dominated public discourse in Great Britain and the rest of Europe. Above all, the general conditions for leaving and future relations with the EU are disputed.
For many companies in Europe, the uncertainty surrounding the UK's exit means great uncertainty and makes long-term planning difficult. Travelers or British people who live in other European countries also suffer from the uncertainty.
The never-ending dispute over the Brexit course leaves many observers confused and dissatisfied. We have summarized the most important events for you at a glance.
The course of Brexit in the current summary for 2021
January 1, 2021: EU-UK trade agreement provisionally enters into force
The Brexit trade agreement between the European Union and Great Britain will provisionally come into force on January 1, 2021. The negotiations on the agreement were concluded on Christmas Eve 2020, followed by approval by the British House of Commons and the 27 EU member states. Now only the EU Parliament has to give its retrospective approval for the trade agreement to come into force properly.
November 21, 2020: UK signs trade deal with Canada
Great Britain and Canada sign a trade agreement. The agreement means that the UK will be able to trade with Canada after Brexit on the same terms as before the UK left the EU.
Boris Johnson and his Canadian colleague Justin Trudeau previously agreed a preliminary free trade agreement in a video link, which continues the advantages of the EU-Canada Ceta agreement.
November 16, 2020: Trade deal with the EU remains uncertain
In the final phase of the Brexit negotiations, Great Britain is signaling that it can do without a trade agreement with the EU.
Boris Johnson says he will not accept proposals that undermine Britain's sovereign rights. If the EU does not accept the country's sovereign rights, Great Britain will be satisfied with a status of trade relations with the EU similar to that of Australia.
November 13, 2020: Johnson's chief advisor, Cummings, resigns
Shortly after the resignation of Head of Communications Lee Cain, Boris Johnson's chief advisor Dominic Cummings is also stepping down. The reason for this development is probably a power struggle in the British government. Cummings and Cain were the two leaders of the Vote Leave camp at government headquarters.
November 12, 2020: Johnson's head of communications resigns
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief communications officer Lee Cain is stepping down from office. His departure weakens the Brexit camp. Lee Cain is one of the most important representatives of the “Vote Leave” camp - the force around chief advisor Dominic Cummings that won the Brexit referendum in 2016 and brought Johnson to power in 2019.
November 9, 2020: US election puts pressure on Johnson
The election of Joe Biden as US President increases pressure on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to conclude a trade deal with the EU. Biden is not a Brexit fan like incumbent President Donald Trump. Rather, Biden sees Britain's departure from the EU as a mistake. A failure of the talks with Brussels would therefore, according to experts, also put a strain on the “special relationship” with Washington.
October 23, 2020: UK and Japan sign free trade agreements
Japan and Great Britain agree on a bilateral free trade agreement. This should come into force after the current Brexit transition phase has expired. Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and the British Minister for International Trade, Liz Truss, sign an agreement in Tokyo. In doing so, they pave the way for the agreement to come into force on January 1, 2021.
October 20, 2020: Johnson demonstrates toughness
The British Prime Minister continues to demonstrate harshness in the Brexit dispute with the EU over a trade deal. Johnson lets it be known through a spokesman that talks with the EU are de facto over because the EU is not prepared to change its negotiating position. Accordingly, a hard Brexit threatens at this point in time.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had announced via Twitter that the international community was ready to intensify the free trade talks in London this week, "on all topics and based on treaty texts."
October 11, 2020: Boris Johnson in conversation with Angela Merkel
The Brexit negotiations between the EU and Great Britain are still not making good progress. In a telephone conversation with Chancellor Angela Merkel about the intended Brexit trade pact, Johnson emphasized that a deal would be positive for both sides.
October 06, 2020: Deal or No-Deal Brexit?
The time for a deal with the UK is getting scarcer. The countdown for a Brexit without a contract has already started and due to the negotiation deadline until October 15, 2020, which was suspended by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, many experts expect the talks to drag on into November.
The EU chief negotiator Michael Barnier is also trying to find a way to conclude the deal on the exit of the United Kingdom promptly in Berlin with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Despite all attempts to approach Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a solution, he still shows no will to withdraw from the controversial internal market law.
October 02, 2020: Brexit dispute continues without agreement
Furthermore, there is no breakthrough in the dispute over Great Britain's exit from the EU. Michael Barnier explains that the EU still has insurmountable and serious differences with Great Britain. Another representative of the EU also indicated that skepticism about a deal with Great Britain continues to grow among the 27 member states.
October 01, 2020: Formal complaint from the EU Commission
The EU Commission is following up on its threat and has formally lodged a complaint against the British Internal Market Act. It is designed to bypass parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. According to Ursula von der Leyen, the draft law would violate the exit contract. In addition, the chairman of the EU Commission has announced that it will take legal action due to the breach of the Brexit agreement.
July 01, 2020: No extension of the transition phase
The transition phase set out in the Withdrawal Agreement will end on December 31, 2020, as the deadline for a decision to extend the transition phase was dated July 1, 2020. However, the UK has missed this deadline. This means that from January 1, 2021, Great Britain will no longer be part of the internal market and the customs union.
February 01, 2020: The United Kingdom leaves the EU
January 29, 2020: The EU Parliament votes on Brexit
On Wednesday, MEPs in Brussels voted for the British exit agreement, clearing the way for Brexit. In the vote, 621 MPs voted for the exit treaty, 49 MPs were against and 13 abstained. Before the UK leaves the EU on January 31st at midnight (CET), the remaining 27 EU states must also agree to the treaty.
The most important point in the contract is a planned transition period until the end of the year, during which almost nothing changes in everyday life. Great Britain will remain in the EU internal market and in the customs union during this period. Even when traveling and in the movement of goods, everything stays the same. In the eleven-month period, it should be clarified how things will continue from 2021. This is the latest news about Brexit.
January 22, 2020: Brexit can come
An agreement on Britain's exit from the European Union passed the British Parliament after changes made by the House of Lords a day earlier were reversed by the House of Commons. Now only the Queen has to sign the law. The EU Parliament also has to approve the divorce deal. A vote is expected on January 29, 2020, because the UK is expected to leave the EU just two days later, on January 31. This is the latest news on Brexit.
December 12, 2019: New UK Parliament elections
The British re-elected parliament on Thursday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins an absolute majority in the British House of Commons in the elections. Johnson announced that his administration "received a powerful mandate to pull off Brexit." The deadline for Brexit is January 31.
October 29, 2019: MPs vote for new elections
The London MEPs are 438 to 20 in favor of bringing forward the elections, which are actually planned for 2022. The new British Parliament should therefore be elected on December 12, 2019. The Brexit deal that was agreed between the EU and Boris Johnson seems to be off the table for the time being.
October 28, 2019: Brexit postponement until January 31, 2020
The remaining EU countries have decided to postpone Brexit again. After France actually spoke out against a postponement, French President Emmanuel Macron voted for Great Britain to remain in the European Union by the end of January at the latest.
October 22, 2019: Approval of the Brexit law
On Tuesday, a majority of parliamentarians voted in favor of the government's Brexit bill. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered another defeat, however: In the second vote, his schedule for leaving the EU was only just voted against. Great Britain's exit from the EU will not take place on October 31, 2019. The most important question now is whether the European Union will agree to an extension of the deadline or not.
October 21, 2019: Vote on the Brexit deal is rejected
John Bercow, the British Conservative Party politician and underspeaker, declined to vote again on the Brexit treaty. The reason for this rejection is the unchanged circumstances. Instead of voting, Bercow proposes postponing the ratification law.
October 19, 2019: Great Britain's exit from the EU is postponed again
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson had hoped that he could claim a triumphant victory. In a special session of the lower house on Saturday, the MPs should vote on the Brexit deal. Instead of a victory, the MPs gave him a disgraceful defeat: They voted with a majority of 16 MPs for an amendment by the former Conservative MP Oliver Letwin, who is now an independent MP. Letwin is one of 21 Tory MPs Johnson kicked out of the Conservative group in early September for voting against the government. Oliver Letwin's amendment says that the House of Commons will withhold approval of Johnson's Brexit deal until the accompanying laws necessary to give Brexit a legal framework have been passed.
The government then withdrew the vote on the Brexit agreement and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was legally obliged to ask the EU to postpone the Brexit date from October 31 to the end of January 2020 by Saturday evening. Johnson did not comply with this request, but instructed diplomats to send an unsigned letter to the EU with a request to postpone the Brexit date.
October 17, 2019: Brexit negotiations in Brussels
Immediately before the EU summit, Great Britain and the European Union announced an agreement in the Brexit dispute. Apparently, the chief negotiator of the EU, Michael Barnier, has achieved his goal: The chances are increased that an exit agreement will come about and the British exit from the EU can be carried out in a regulated manner. Michael Barnier and his British counterpart Stephen Barclay have managed to agree on a regulation for Ireland's future external border. This regulation states that Ireland remains in the EU customs territory and in the European single market until a free trade agreement is reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The EU chief negotiator appeals to the British House of Commons to show responsibility and to accept the Brexit agreement.
The Brexit dispute seems to have been resolved. But there is still one problem: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cannot assume with certainty that the Brexit Treaty will also be ratified by the British House of Commons, as the Northern Irish DUP MPs are reluctant to accept this agreement. You were against this rule from the start, as it separates Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
September 24, 2019: The Supreme Court of Great Britain ruled on the compulsory break
Boris Johnson has to accept a defeat. The Supreme Court condemned the UK Parliament's forced break as unlawful. Accordingly, the British Parliament is resuming its work and many MPs are calling for the Prime Minister to resign.
September 04, 2019: Parliament rejects Boris Johnson
Parliament rejects several of Boris Johnson's concerns. Some MPs introduced a law that forbids Boris Johnson to carry out a disorderly Brexit if no agreement can be reached with the EU by October 31. In this case, the British government would have to request an extension of the Brexit negotiations until January 31, 2020. The parliamentarians approved the bill in all three readings.
In addition, the prime minister proposed new elections for October 15, which was rejected by the parliamentarians.
August 28, 2019: Boris Johnson ordered Parliament to take a break
August 21, 2019: Prime Minister Johnson visits Chancellor Merkel in Berlin
The British Prime Minister is traveling to Berlin after he previously announced in a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk that he would like to renegotiate the exit agreement - especially the backstop. Both Donald Tusk and Chancellor Merkel made it clear, however, that they would adhere to this version of the backstop clause in the Brexit treaty.
July 24, 2019: Johnson named UK Prime Minister
Boris Johnson has been appointed the new Prime Minister of Great Britain by Queen Elizabeth II and is allowed to move into his residence on Downing Street. Shortly after the change of government, Johnson turned the cabinet upside down. 13 new ministerial posts are being filled, most of them by Brexit hardliners. Four opponents of the Brexit course anticipate being thrown out and leave voluntarily, including the Minister of Justice.
Boris Johnson's personnel decisions make the political course of his government clear: The previous Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, will be the new foreign minister. Priti Patel, also an avowed Brexit advocate, will be the new British Home Secretary. His inaugural address should also raise the alarm bells in Brussels. The new British Prime Minister announced that he would like to renegotiate the Brexit referendum. But Brussels does not agree to any new negotiations. Johnson cannot achieve a conceivable no-deal Brexit on his own, as his party lacks a majority of its own. Parliament and the British population will remain deeply divided on leaving the EU.
July 23, 2019: Boris Johnson becomes the new leader of the Conservative Party
Theresa May's successor has been determined: Boris Johnson will be the new Tory boss and will also be appointed as the new British Prime Minister in the next few days. Johnson is considered a Brexit hardliner and wants to lead Great Britain out of the EU on October 31, 2019. For this he also accepts a no-deal Brexit.
July 09, 2019: Labor leader Corbyn calls for a second Brexit referendum
The head of the British Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is calling for a second Brexit referendum from the future Prime Minister. In contrast to his previous strategy, Corbyn spoke out in his letter to all members of the opposition party in favor of Great Britain remaining in the European Union. Boris Johnson could be appointed as the new Prime Minister at the end of the month, succeeding Theresa May.
June 07, 2019: Theresa May resigns
Today the British Prime Minister resigns as Tory party leader. It is still unclear who will succeed Theresa May. There are enough applicants, ex-Foreign Minister Boris Johnson should have very good chances for the top position.
May 24, 2019: The Prime Minister announces her resignation in London
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she will step down as party leader.May failed her Brexit deal in front of parliament three times. She plans to resign on June 7th, so her days as prime minister should also be numbered.
May 22, 2019: Theresa May continues to fight with her new Brexit deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May wants to inform Parliament about her new Brexit plan and is holding out the prospect of a second referendum on leaving the EU. But only on the condition that the MEPs of the British House of Commons approve their Brexit bill.
Great Britain must take part in the 2019 European elections on May 23. It is therefore also clear that Great Britain will not leave the EU on May 22nd.
April 11, 2019: Great Britain is allowed to stay in the EU for the time being
The remaining 27 EU member states are discussing another Brexit postponement for Great Britain until late at night. It is now clear: Theresa May will receive an extension of the deadline until October 31. This gives the British Prime Minister another six months to agree on a deal with Parliament. There is still a chance that Great Britain will leave the EU earlier on May 22nd and before the 2019 European elections. Before that, however, May had failed her proposal three times. How things will go with Brexit and Theresa May's future remains to be seen.
April 09, 2019: Brussels could grant Great Britain another Brexit extension
Chancellor Angela Merkel receives the British Prime Minister May in Berlin three days before the departure date next Friday. Both want to prevent a chaotic Brexit without an agreement. Theresa May is sticking to her proposal to postpone the EU exit to June 30th. EU Council President Donald Tusk is again in favor of a Flexi-Brexit. Further dates for Great Britain's exit from the EU are December 2019 and March 2020. A request for an extension of the deadline is for Great Britain to participate in the European elections on May 23rd. The remaining 27 EU states will decide at a special Brexit summit whether the deadline will be extended.
April 05, 2019: Great Britain and the EU are considering postponing Brexit again
EU Council President Donald Tusk is in favor of a flexible period of up to twelve months. In this case, however, Great Britain would have to take part in the European elections, which many MEPs in London reject. The British Prime Minister Theresa May, however, proposes an extension until June 30th. Individual EU member states are skeptical. A final decision is expected at the EU special summit next Wednesday. If there is no agreement by April 12, Great Britain will not be able to prevent an unregulated Brexit on that day.
April 02, 2019: Prime Minister May wants to apply for a further extension of the deadline
Theresa May is counting on another postponement of Brexit and a compromise search with the opposition in order to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal on April 12th. How long the deadline extension should be, May did not say. The tension in the British is also noticeable in the European Union, after all, a few days before Brexit, there is still no precise timetable.
March 29, 2019: Theresa May fails for the third time in parliament
Prime Minister May suffered another defeat. The British House of Commons rejected their proposal for the Brexit agreement with 344 votes to 286. A disorderly Brexit on April 12th or a longer postponement of the exit from the EU with the participation of the British in the European elections at the end of May are possible.
March 27, 2019: Parliament votes on alternatives to Theresa May's Brexit deal
The British Parliament is taking Brexit into its own hands. Against the will of the government, the MPs are looking for an alternative to the negotiated Brexit agreement. However, none of the eight variants prevailed in the vote. Theresa May meanwhile tries to push through her deal and even offers her resignation. The deal will soon be put to parliament again for a vote.
March 20, 2019: Theresa May asks the EU to postpone Brexit
Theresa May asks the European Union to extend the deadline. She suggests a postponement until June 30th. Instead, the UK will have until May 22nd to leave the EU, if Parliament votes for the exit agreement in a third vote. In the event of another no to the deal, the country only has until April 12 to determine how to proceed. The original exit date is now off the table.
March 14, 2019: Great Britain rejects a second Brexit referendum
Parliament firmly rejects another referendum on remaining in the EU. Instead, it is in favor of postponing the departure date. However, such an extension of the deadline still has to be approved by the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May should now submit a corresponding application.
March 13, 2019: British Parliament votes against no-deal Brexit
After the British House of Commons rejected Theresa May's agreement twice with great clarity, it is now also voting against a Brexit without an agreement. But time is of the essence. If no agreement has been reached between the EU and Great Britain by March 29, a disorderly exit from the EU will take place despite a rejection by parliament. Postponing Brexit now seems the only possible solution.
March 12, 2019: Parliament votes again against the Brexit agreement
After Theresa May was able to wrest a few concessions from the EU, she is seeking parliamentary approval again. In the second vote, the MEPs in London again vote against the proposed agreement by a large majority.
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