On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom officially requested to leave the European Union (Brexit), invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Withdrawal Agreement lays out the conditions for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). Its text was agreed by negotiators on 14 November 2018 and approved by a Special European Council on 25 November 2018. It is awaiting signature and ratification by the United Kingdom and the EU.

The European Council has agreed an extension until 31 October 2019, with a review in the European Council in June. The option exists that if the British Parliament so decides, the United Kingdom can stop being a Member state of the European Union before that date. Therefore, two possible scenarios are considered:

  • One in which an effective Brexit agreement is reached, or “Brexit with a Deal”. In this case, a transitional period will be opened from the day after the agreement is reached, which will be no later than 1 November 2019, the date on which the United Kingdom will become a third State, until 31 December 2020, with the possibility of a one- or two-year extension. During this period, the stipulations in the Withdrawal Agreement intended to facilitate the orderly withdrawal will be applicable and sufficient time will be provided to negotiate and conclude the agreement that will govern the future relationship between both parties.

    The text agreed by European Union and United Kingdom negotiators on 14 November 2018 expects the United Kingdom to continue to apply practically all of the acquis communautaire during this period, even though it will no longer be involved in the decision-making process of the European Union.

  • Another in which an effective agreement is not reached, called “No-deal Brexit”. In this case, the Agreements and all the acquis communautaire will no longer be applicable in the relations with the United Kingdom on 1 November 2019. This scenario supposes that the United Kingdom will be a third country and it will not participate in the domestic market or the binding freedoms therein.

    If the Withdrawal Agreement is not signed and ratified, and in order to minimise the impact on our citizens and economic operators, the Government of Spain has approved Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 of 1 March, which adopts contingency measures for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland from the European Union if the agreement considered in Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union is not reached. (BOE [Official State Bulletin] of 2 March 2019).

    The European Union also is working on a solution in order to avoid any serious disturbances in general, and in the field of transport in particular, through various “contingency regulations”, which are likely to be approved shortly. As a result, in the field of air transport, two of these “contingency” regulations were published on 27 March in the Official Journal of the European Union (DOUE), specifically:

    • Regulation (EU) 2019/502, on common rules ensuring basic air connectivity with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the Union. Also known as the connectivity regulation, in essence it allows UK airlines to provide scheduled and charter air services (travellers and freight) on routes between points in the EU and the United Kingdom provided they obtain an operating authorisation from the Member State concerned (that is, it does not allow cabotage).
    • Regulation (EU) 2019/494 on certain aspects of aviation safety with regard to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the Union. Known as the operational safety regulation, it prolongs the validity of certificates and approvals issued under European law for a period of 9 months from the effective exit date of the UK, although in some cases the Commission would be able to extend this period by adopting a delegated act.

The aim of this section is to address any potential questions and concerns of citizens and professionals regarding the impact that Brexit could have in those fields that fall under this Department's purview.