Brexit FlagBrexit: EU citizens in Great Britain now need a residence permit

The UK Parliament has adopted the Ratification Act for the Brexite Agreement. After the House of Commons, the bill passed the House of Lords on Wednesday evening. Several changes made by the Lords to the bill had previously been reversed by the House of Commons members. The Lords finally gave in.

Among other things, the amendments had provided that EU citizens living in Britain would automatically be granted a right of residence for the period after the brexite. However, the government rejected this. EU citizens in Great Britain now have until the end of 2020 to apply for a residence permit.

No automatic right of residence for EU citizens living in the UK

A right for unaccompanied minor refugees stranded in the EU to join relatives in Great Britain was also removed by the government majority from the bill.

In Great Britain, international treaties must be transposed into national law through a legislative procedure in order to become valid. Now that the House of Commons and House of Lords have given their approval, all that is missing is the approval of Queen Elizabeth II, but that is a mere formality.

The European Parliament is due to approve the treaty on 29 January. Two days later, on 31st January at 24.00 (CET), Britain wants to leave the European Union.

The step comes more than three and a half years after the British voted to leave the community of states in a historic referendum in June 2016. Until the end of 2020, however, Great Britain will remain in a transitional phase during which practically nothing will change.

Short transition period packed with key negotiations

In this short period of time, Brussels and London must now agree on their future relations. The spectrum ranges from a trade agreement to a future partnership in the fight against crime and terrorism. It is possible to extend the complex negotiations. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already firmly rejected this.

Since the overwhelming victory of Johnson’s Conservative Party in the December elections, no significant opposition to the Brexit deal was expected from Parliament. The situation was still different with his predecessor Theresa May. The then head of government had failed three times in parliament with her brexite deal negotiated with Brussels. Eventually she resigned from office.

The celebrations to mark her departure from the EU seem to be rather modest in the United Kingdom. Johnson plans to make a speech on 31 January. The leader of the Brexite Party, Nigel Farage, is planning a celebration with supporters near the Parliament. He has been banned from using fireworks. London’s landmark Big Ben, which is currently being renovated at great expense, is not to ring the bell for EU withdrawal.