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What do you need to know with regard to Brexit?

What is Brexit?


Brexit is the impending withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland  (UK) from the European Union (EU). On 29 March 2017, the UK Government informed the European Council about its intention to leave the EU. The United Kingdom has time will leave the EU until 31 October 2019. Until this date, the UK remains an EU Member State with all the rights and obligations associated with membership.

Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the withdrawal from the European Union (based on Article 50 of the Treaty on EU) have been concluded, and the European Council and the government of the United Kingdom have approved the withdrawal agreement. For the agreement to enter into force, ratification in the parliament of the United Kingdom and the approval of the European Parliament is required.

Estonia’s continued conviction is that the current agreement is the best possible solution, however, European Union member states, led by the European Commission, are coordinating preparations for the possibility of United Kingdom’s exit without an agreement on 1 November 2019.  

 

*On 10 April 2019, the European Council agreed to a further extension to allow for the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by both Parties. Such an extension should last as long as necessary and, in any event, no longer than 31 October 2019. 

 

 

 

  • On 25 November 2018 an agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union and the declaration on the framework for the future relationship has been backed by EU leaders.
  • The withdrawal agreement between the EU and UK sets out the terms for the UK’s departure from the EU. The terms describe the rights and obligations of both the EU and the UK
  • A declaration on the framework for the future relationship of the EU and the UK will accompany the agreement. The declaration is a political agreement that will establish the framework for the formalisation of future agreements.
  • The Withdrawal Agreement must be ratified by the European Parliament and the UK Parliament in order to enter into force. If the United Kingdom is still a Member State on 23-26 May 2019, and if it has not ratified the Withdrawal Agreement by 22 May 2019, it will be under an obligation to hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law. In the event that those elections do not take place in the United Kingdom, the extension should cease on 31 May 2019 and the UK will no longer be a Member State of the EU and their relationship will be regulated by international law. Such a result is not the goal of either party, which is why the EU and the UK are making every effort to reach an agreement.
  • Any agreement(s) on the future relationships of the EU and the UK can only be negotiated and entered into force after the UK has become a third country. For example, an agreement on the future trade relationship can only be negotiated after UK has left the EU under the Agreement.  If the EU and the UK do not conclude a trade agreement, their trade relationships will be regulated by the rules and norms of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • The draft Withdrawal Agreement prescribes a transition period that will last from 31 October 2019 (Withdrawal Agreement may enter into force on an earlier date) to 31 December 2020. During that period, EU law will apply to the UK as if it were still a Member State. However, certain exceptions will be applied during the transition period - for example, the UK will not participate in the decision-making process of the EU or vote in the European Parliament elections. During the transition period, the UK will still participate in the customs union and the common market of the EU, it must adhere to the trade policy of the EU and implement EU customs tariffs.
  • Chronology of negotiations
  • Brexit page of the European Commission

 

 


Preparations for Brexit


 


Preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU have started in Member States in parallel with the completion of the negotiations. The preparations are coordinated by the European Commission by information exchange and publication of guidelines for national activities.

Various authorities in Estonia are also making the necessary preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

 

 

FAQ
 

Citizens of the United Kingdom

 

Leaving with an agreement
 

  • After the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (before 31 October 2019), a transition period will start, which will last until 31 December 2020. Until the end of the transition period the law of the European Union will generally remain applicable to citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members.
  • Citizens residing in Estonia will be able to continue to reside here on the basis of a valid ID card.
  • Family members of UK citizens who are third-country nationals will be able to stay in Estonia on the basis of their current residence permit.
  • Citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members who reside in Estonia or arrive in Estonia before the end of the transition period will not have to apply for a new document (e.g. residence permit) as a result of the withdrawal agreement.
  • A new document certifying the right of residence in Estonia will be issued from 2021.
  • Additional information is available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior: What will change for citizens of the United Kingdom who are presently residing in Estonia
  • 21 February 2019 Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) passed the Act that regulates the conditions for residing in Estonia after Brexit for the citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members. Read more from the Riigikogu homepage

 

Leaving without an agreement

 

  • Citizens of the United Kingdom currently residing in Estonia will be able to continue to reside here on the basis of the principle of legitimate expectations, therefore they will be legal residents of Estonia even if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a withdrawal agreement. The aim is to make the continuation of people’s everyday life here as smooth as possible.
  • Family members of UK citizens who are third-country nationals will be able to stay in Estonia on the basis of their current residence permit.
  • Citizens of the United Kingdom who have lived in Estonia for at least five years and have received the right of permanent residence on the basis of the Citizen of the European Union Act have the right to acquire a long-term residence permit of the European Union after the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Citizens of the United Kingdom who have lived in Estonia for less than five years can acquire a residence permit for taking up permanent residence in Estonia after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.
  • Citizens of the United Kingdom who arrive in Estonia after Brexit must apply for a residence permit under the terms and conditions provided for in the Aliens Act, i.e. on similar conditions that currently apply to third-country nationals. The government has made a proposal to exempt the citizens of the United Kingdom from the immigration quota; for example, the exemption already applies to citizens of the United States of America and Japan.
  • All citizens of the United Kingdom residing in Estonia should make sure that the data about their place of residence is accurate in the Population Register of the Republic of Estonia and their ID card is valid.
  • Additional information is available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior: What will change for citizens of the United Kingdom who are presently residing in Estonia
  • 21 February 2019 Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) passed the Act that regulates the conditions for residing in Estonia after Brexit for the citizens of the United Kingdom and their family members. Read
  • more from the Riigikogu homepage

 

Students of the United Kingdom in Estonia in case of a no-deal Brexit:
 

  • The status, rights and obligations of students who are citizens of another country are regulated by the Aliens Act of Estonia. After the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, any student, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom must apply for a residence permit to begin or continue their studies in Estonia. Tuition fees and related issues are regulated by an agreement signed between the student and the university.
  • In the case of students studying or beginning their studies in Estonia as part of various exchange programmes, the aim is to preserve circumstances that are as similar as possible to the current conditions.

 

 

Estonian citizens

 

Leaving with an agreement

 

  • The United Kingdom will leave the European Union before 31 October 2019. Until that day the United Kingdom is a member state of the EU, and all the rights and obligations arising therefrom will apply to it (including EU law regarding the right of free movement of EU citizens).
  • By today, the European Union and the United Kingdom have approved a withdrawal agreement, which also stipulates the protection of the rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom under the conditions that have applied so far.
  • The same rights remain valid until the end of the transition period (31 December 2020, with the possibility of a one-time extension) for EU citizens arriving in the United Kingdom.
  • The United Kingdom is planning a new residence permit application process for the citizens of Estonia and other EU member states residing in the UK (the EU Settlement Scheme). An electronic platform will be opened for applications by 30 March 2019 and the registration deadline is 30 June 2021.

Leaving without an agreement

 

  • The status of the citizens of Estonia and other EU member states in the United Kingdom currently remains unchanged from before the referendum of 23 June 2016.
  • The United Kingdom will leave the European Union before 1 November 2019. Until that day the United Kingdom is a member state of the EU, and all the rights and obligations arising therefrom will apply to it (including EU law regarding the right of free movement of EU citizens).
  • In the event of the UK withdrawing without an agreement, the free movement of people will end. The European Union is planning to establish visa exemption for the citizens of the United Kingdom, presuming that the UK will reciprocate. Thus, as of 1 November 2019, EU citizens would be able to stay in the United Kingdom for 90 days without a visa.
  • The United Kingdom is planning a new residence permit application process for the citizens of Estonia and other EU member states residing in the UK (the EU Settlement Scheme). An electronic platform will be opened for applications by 30 March 2019 and the registration deadline is 30 June 2021.

 

 

     Citizens of the United Kingdom and Estonia
                             ( Social Security )

 

Leaving with an agreement

  • Upon leaving with an agreement (before 31 October 2019), a transition period will follow, lasting until 31 December 2020. During this time, social security is subject to the usual EU rules.
  • Until 31 December 2020, the cross-border payment of social security benefits (e.g. health insurance and sickness benefits, family benefits, pensions, unemployment benefits) will remain the same as before the withdrawal date of the UK.
  • It is recommended to always buy travel insurance before travelling; this also applies when travelling in the European Union. This service is provided by private insurance companies.

Leaving without an agreement

 

  • Estonia will continue to pay retirement pensions to people who receive a retirement pension from Estonia and live in the United Kingdom as of 1 November 2019 and will remain there after that date.
  • When determining retirement pensions, we continue to take into account the periods worked in the United Kingdom exceeding one year and accumulated before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (i.e. 1 November 2019). It is not important whether the person lives in the United Kingdom or another member state.
  • It is important for the people working in the United Kingdom to preserve the documents proving their residence and employment or to be willing to request them from the relevant authority in the UK. Proof of employment is a prerequisite for calculating pensions.
  • Family allowances are based on the state of residence and are paid in Estonia for the children living here. Therefore, the cross-border payment of family allowances in the United Kingdom in the event of a no-deal scenario will end. The state of residence is paying family allowances for the children living in the United Kingdom.
  • European Health Insurance Cards issued previously, and in the future, will remain valid in the EU27 countries. European Health Insurance Cards will not be valid in the United Kingdom as of 1 November 2019. It is recommended to buy a private insurance policy when travelling there. Estonian pensioners residing in the United Kingdom will have to explore the possibilities of obtaining health insurance there. UK pensioners residing in Estonia may join a voluntary insurance scheme under the Health Insurance Fund, if necessary.
  • If the need for treatment arises even an hour before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is verifiable and the treatment lasts for several weeks, payment for the treatment is ensured according to current rules.
  • The A1 certificate issued in Estonia used by posted workers or people working in several countries will no longer be valid in the United Kingdom, and the certificate issued in the United Kingdom will no longer be valid in Estonia. To complete work in the United Kingdom, the employer or the employee must be prepared to pay local social security payments. As of January 2018, Estonia has issued 112 certificates that will still be valid at the time of the withdrawal.

 

 

More information:

 

Entrepreneurs

 

Leaving with an agreement

 

  • The UK will leave the EU before 31 October 2019 (Withdrawal Agreement may enter into force on an earlier date). Pursuant to the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, there will be a transition period from the date that UK leaves until 31 December 2020.
  • The UK will remain a member of the internal market during this period and EU law will apply in and to the UK as it does today. After the end of the transition period, a future economic relationship should be regulated by a new agreement, which will be negotiated after the UK has left the EU. 
  • We advise entrepreneurs to think about the following in order to manage risks:
    • find out how goods are currently exchanged with third countries (customs issues, mutual recognition, product labelling, standards, etc.);
    • keep an eye on developments in EU law (e.g. specific amendments in relation to Brexit may be introduced);
    • take a look at how the goods/services related to the market of the UK are covered in other international agreements of the EU;
    • sector-specific preparations could be initiated by comparing the EU law in your sector with the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement(CETA).
  • The European Commission has prepared technical Brexit preparedness notices in a number of areas that provide primary information about the impending changes and their possible consequences. The list of notices is regularly updated. More information can be found on the Brexit website of the EU Information Centre:

Leaving without an agreement

 

  • In the absence of an EU/UK agreement, the UK will become a third country for the EU and WTO regulations will apply to trade as of 1 November 2019.
  • The changes concern several sectors. It is estimated that the most evident changes will occur in relation to the movement of goods as well as in the transport and financial services sectors.
  • The scope of the changes depends on connections with the UK market, the economic sector in question, the size of the company, etc.
  • We advise entrepreneurs to think about the following in order to manage risks:
    • find out how goods are currently exchanged with third countries (customs issues, mutual recognition, product labelling, standards, etc.);
    • keep an eye on developments in EU law (e.g. specific amendments in relation to Brexit may be introduced);
    • take a look at how the goods/services related to the market of the UK are covered in other international agreements of the EU;
    • sector-specific preparations could be initiated by comparing the EU law in your sector with the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement(CETA).
  • The European Commission has prepared technical Brexit preparedness notices in a number of areas that provide primary information about the impending changes and their possible consequences. The list of notices is regularly updated. More information can be found on the Brexit website of the EU Information Centre:



More information: 

 

 


Relations between Estonia and the United Kingdom

 

An overview of the bilateral relations between Estonia and the UK, including our economic relationship and trade, can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

 

Further information

On 10 February 2017 the Minister of Foreign Affairs established a national working group for mapping the interests of Estonia and developing the positions of Estonia in the negotiations of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The working group, which consists of the representatives of all ministries, is led by Matti Maasikas, Undersecretary for EU Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Department for European Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Telephone: (372) 637 7260
E-mail: vminfo@vm.ee

 

Last updated: 27 May 2019

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