So, Brexit Day passed on January 31, and the timetable through the transition period to December 31, 2020 (with a possible end in June), is as follows:
- March 12: EU trade ministers hold a regular meeting in Brussels. This gathering may offer a guide to progress on the trade aspects of the EU-U.K. negotiations.
- March 26-27 and June 18-19: EU summits in Brussels. These two regular meetings of the EU’s national-government leaders will be opportunities to gauge progress in the overall negotiations with Britain. The bloc has said for months that end-2020 is in all likelihood too tight a deadline for both sides to reach even just a free-trade accord.
- Sometime in June: An EU-U.K. meeting at a “high level” is foreseen in the political declaration on the future relationship that accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement. This gathering, possibly among government heads, could be the political moment of truth for deciding whether to prolong the transition period beyond 2020. In the wake of his election win, Johnson said he would rule out any extension. EU officials hopehe’ll show more flexibility on the matter once Brexit has taken place and the talks on the future relationship have begun.
- June 30: Deadline for deciding whether to prolong the transition period by one year or two years. Forgoing the chance for any extension would revive the threat of an economically disruptive severing of U.K. ties with the EU — this time at the start of 2021.
But, even though the idea of celebrating Brexit will grate many, proposals for holiday are in the air (possibly for June 23, the date of the 2016 referendum).