Brexit Timeline – Key Dates You Need To Know

Brexit is probably the biggest event in recent memory to shake up the European Union. As the Brexit negotiations unfold, the implications on the “four freedoms” (goods, capital, services and labour) will potentially start to impact you, your friends, family and colleagues. With this in mind, it is critical to understand the the events past and present in overall the Brexit timeline.

Last week, the UK government released a Brexit timeline briefing paper, titled Brexit timeline: events leading to the UK’s exit from the European Union. In this post, i provide a summary of the Brexit timeline and the key dates you need to know.

[For non-UK / EU folks it is worth pointing out that the UK is made up of 4 countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.]

Brexit Timeline: 2015 Key Dates

  • 14th April, 2015:
    • In readiness for the 2015 General Election the Conservative Party in their Manifesto commit to a in-out EU referendum before the end of 2017
  • 17th December, 2015:

Brexit Timeline: 2016 Key Dates

  • 22nd February, 2016:
    • The then (!) Prime Minister (David Cameron) announces the date of the EU referendum – 23rd June, 2016
  • 23rd June, 2016:
    • UK holds a referendum to either remain or exit the EU
    • The UK Brexit Referendum question was “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
  • 24th June, 2016:
    • The referendum result is declared, the UK population voted as follows:
      • Remain: 16,141,241 (48.1%)
      • Leave: 17,410,742 (51.9%)
    • The Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigns
  • 13th July, 2016:
    • Theresa May becomes Prime Minister
  • 2nd October, 2016:
    • At a Conservative Party speech, Theresa May states that Article 50 will be triggered before the end of March 2017

Brexit Timeline: 2017 Key Dates

  • 2nd February, 2017:
    • UK Government publishes Brexit White Paper, stating the UK strategy to leave the EU
  • 16th March, 2017:
    • European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act is given Royal Assent
  • 29th March, 2017:
    • UK Prime Minister Theresa May invokes Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union – starting a 2 year countdown within which the UK must leave the EU
  • 19th June, 2017:
    • UK-EU exit negotiations start
  • 12th September, 2017:
    • European Union (Withdrawal) Bill also known as the “Great Repeal Bill” or more commonly as the “EU Divorce Bill” is approved by the UK Parliament
  • 8th December, 2017:
    • The UK and EU release a Joint Report on the status of Phase 1 negotiations, and the move to Phase 2 negotiations
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Brexit Timeline: 2018 Key Dates

  • 8th February, 2018:
    • UK Government publishes guidance highlighting the governments position on international agreements during the implementation period
  • February – March, 2018:
    • UK EU exit negotiations continue….
  • *End of March, 2018:
    • End of Phase 2 negotiations – which will highlight transition/implementation arrangements
  • *May / June, 2018:
    • UK Parliament to pass the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
  • *October, 2018:
    • UK – EU Exit negotiations to end with:
      • Publication of “Withdrawal Agreement”
      • Political declaration on “Framework for the Future Relationship”
  • *November / December 2018:
    • European Parliament votes on the “”Withdrawal Agreement”

Brexit Timeline: 2019 Key Dates

  • *March 2019:
    • Withdrawal Agreement to be reviewed by European Council (requires EU majority 20 out of 27)
    • Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill to be passed by UK Parliament 
  • *29th March, 2019:
    • Brexit Day – UK ends its membership of the European Union, leaves the European Union 
  • *30th March, 2019:
    • UK moves into a “transition period”

Brexit Timeline: 2020 Key Dates

  • *31st December, 2020:
    • Transition period ends, and the UK – EU start a new economic and political relationship 

* Expected timeline / events

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