Business and citizens must get ready for the end of the transition period


Negotiations between the EU-27 and the United Kingdom are still ongoing and it remains to be seen if an ambitious future partnership can be agreed upon. But businesses and citizens must anyhow get ready for the inevitable changes that will arise at the end of the transition period. Changes will occur to cross-border exchanges between the EU and the UK as of 1 January 2021– irrespective of whether an agreement on a future partnership has been concluded or not.

The European Commission therefore adopted last week a “Getting ready for changesCommunication, setting out a sector-by-sector overview of the main areas where there will be changes regardless of the outcome of the ongoing EU-UK negotiations. It sets out measures that national authorities, businesses and citizens should take in order to be ready for these changes, without prejudging the outcome of negotiations, the possible implications of a failure to reach an agreement or the need for contingency measures. The initiative complements over 100 sector-specific preparedness notices (including type-approval), which are now being updated into readiness notices.

On the UK side, the Cabinet Office released this week a guide describing how the border with the European Union will work after the transition period. As the United Kingdom will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation, controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU. To afford industry extra time to make necessary arrangements, the UK Government has taken the decision to introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021.