Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (right) and the EU's Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union, Michel Barnier (left)

Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (right) and the EU's Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union, Michel Barnier (left)

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier is meeting today with Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator for the United Kingdom Exiting the European Union, in order to discuss the current state of play regarding Brexit and the forthcoming negotiations on the future relationship.

Federal Minister Altmaier said: “As things stand, the United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union on 31 January 2020. The negotiations on the future relationship will begin soon afterwards. We hope that the relations with our British friends and partners will remain as close as possible, and we will therefore support a comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom. It is important that we maintain a level playing field and protect the integrity of the EU internal market.”

On 13 December 2019, the European Council (Article 50) asked the European Commission to issue a comprehensive mandate regarding the future relationship with the United Kingdom immediately after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.
The Brexit date is set for 31 January 2020. On 17 October 2019, the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on amendments to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the Political Declaration without making any changes to the rest of the Withdrawal Agreement of 25 March 2019. The European Council approved the amendments on the same day, the UK parliament on 9 January 2020, and the House of Commons has yet to approve them. After this has happened, the European Parliament will then vote on the Agreement. Once the Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified, there will be a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which the UK will remain part of the EU internal market. This transition period can be extended once by a maximum of two years up to 30 June 2020.