In the referendum two years ago, 53.4% of the population voted for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, compared to 46.6% who voted against it. Unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date or the European Council, in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union and in agreement with the UK, unanimously decides that the Treaties cease to apply at a later date, all EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK on March 30, 2019(“the withdrawal date”). The UK will then become a third country.

On July 19, the European Commission published a notice regarding the ongoing preparations for Brexit as well as the potential outcomes. Right now there are two main scenarios that stakeholders and businesses should prepare for:

  • If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before March 30, 2019, EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK on January 1, 2021, i.e. after a transition period of 21 months.
  • If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified before March 30, 2019, there will be no transition period, and EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK as of March 30, 2019. This is referred to as the "no deal" or "cliff-edge" scenario.

A second referendum has also been put on the table as a way to get a clear answer. On July 16, a former cabinet minister of Prime Minister May proposed a referendum with three options: 1) stay in the EU, 2) accept the agreement that May reaches with Brussels, or 3) leave without an agreement.

To read more about the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, visit the EU Commission and The Economist.