Preparations for a new relationship with the UK


Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations and the nature of the new relationship with the UK, major changes are expected when the transition period ends 31 December 2020. This will entail major changes for businesses, public authorities, organisations and citizens. All concerned parties need to prepare for this.

Paula Carvalho Olovsson
Paula Carvalho Olovsson, State Secretary to Minister for EU Affairs Hans Dahlgren. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Government Offices of Sweden

The transition period will not be extended, which means that as of 1 January 2021, the UK will no longer be covered by EU regulations nor participate in the EU single market and customs union. The Withdrawal Agreement contains provisions that deal with the ongoing procedures in connection with the end of the transition period, called ‘separation provisions’. You can read more about these on the following page:

What does the withdrawal agreement entail?

The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU single market and customs union will mean unavoidable changes in several areas, regardless of whether an agreement that regulates the future relationship is entered into or not. There will be changes for trade in goods and services, for travel and tourism, with regard to the coordination of the social security systems and concerning the transfer and protection of personal data and more. Furthermore, the United Kingdom will no longer be covered by the international agreements the European Union has entered into with third countries.  

To highlight these changes and make it easier for businesses and other affected parties to prepare for the end of the transition period, the European Commission has published a communication on getting ready for the coming changes. Affected parties are urged to consult this information and prepare their own activities accordingly.

In addition, the Commission continuously publishes special readiness notices on changes that will take place in various specific sectors. These are available on the Commission website. The webpage also contains a checklist for companies doing business with the United Kingdom. The page is updated continuously.

Information on prepatations on the Commission website

Any additional provisions will depend on the results of the negotiations on the future relationship. Considering the very short amount of time available, it is uncertain exactly which parts of the future relationship will be put into place in time before the transition period ends.

Some of the issues that are not resolved in time before the end of the transition period may need to be dealt with by temporary measures. Affected parties are urged to keep up-to-date and make any necessary preparations.