What happens next with Brexit?

Now that the European Commission has agreed that "sufficient progress" has been made on the UK's EU withdrawal deal, what happens next?

Friday, 8th December 2017, 10:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:07 am
British Prime Minister Theresa May, left, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker address a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May, met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker early Friday morning following crucial overnight talks on the issue of the Irish border (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

:: December 13 - European Parliament debates and votes on the joint report drawn up by negotiators for the UK and EU on the divorce issues of citizens' rights, the Irish border and the financial settlement.

:: December 14-15 - Leaders of the remaining 27 EU states, meeting at a scheduled European Council summit, are expected to give the green light to move negotiations on to trade and the transition to a post-Brexit relationship.

:: December 20 - The Government's EU (Withdrawal) Bill is due to complete the crucial committee stage in the House of Commons, with further debates in both Houses of Parliament expected to take up months of 2018.

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:: Winter/spring - Negotiations on the transition to future EU/UK relations, along with "exploratory talks" on a possible free trade agreement.

:: March 22-23 - European Council summit in Brussels. An opportunity to assess what kind of trade deal can be expected.

:: May - English local government elections will provide the Prime Minister Theresa May with her first widespread electoral test since the disastrous snap election of June 8 2017.

:: October - A final agreement on withdrawal and transition should be ready by this point in order to allow time for ratification before the end of the two-year Article 50 deadline. A free trade deal could take longer to finalise, and many observers believe it may not be in place until long after the date of Brexit.


:: Winter/spring - Possible ratification process involving up to 38 national and regional parliaments, with any of them effectively holding a veto.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has promised that Parliament will have to approve any deal in a Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill, although this will be on a "take it or leave it" basis. MPs will consider the legislation before MEPs in the European Parliament carry out the final vote on any agreement.

:: March 29 - Two years after the invocation of Article 50, the UK ceases to be a member of the EU and is no longer subject to its treaties, whether or not a withdrawal agreement has been reached. Because the exact moment of exit is midnight Brussels time, the UK is due to leave at 11pm on March 29. Under the terms of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, the bulk of Brussels legislation would be automatically transposed on to the UK statute book.

:: June - European Parliament elections will take place without the UK.


:: December 31 - Britain ceases payments into the EU budget.


:: If a two-year "implementation period" is agreed, Britain will finally move to its new relationship with the EU in the spring of 2021, ceasing to observe EU rules and regulations.


:: Expected end for the European Court of Justice's role in the oversight of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.