Embassy of Finland, London
Brexit and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs31.01.2019
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs monitors Britain’s exit from the EU. Here you’ll find information on the impact of Brexit for citizens and businesses.
The United Kingdom was originally due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. On Friday 5 April, UK Prime Minister Theresa May decided to ask the EU for a further extension. The leaders of the 27 EU Member States were ready to extend the due date until 31 October 2019. If the UK Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement, Brexit can enter into force earlier. In that case, Brexit would enter into force at the beginning of the month following the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. During the extension period, the UK will remain a Member State with their usual rights and responsibilities. This means, for example, that the UK must hold the elections to the European Parliament; otherwise the withdrawal will take place as soon as on 1 June 2019.
The UK withdrawal agreement, which would allow an orderly withdrawal from the EU, is complete. However, both the UK Parliament and the European Parliament must ratify the agreement before it can enter into force.
The primary objective of both the EU and the UK is for the UK to withdraw from the EU in an organised manner. So far, the lower house of the UK Parliament has not yet ratified the withdrawal agreement. This does not yet mean that the UK will withdraw from the EU without an agreement.
However, because we cannot be certain that the UK will reach an EU withdrawal agreement, we must also be prepared for the possibility of withdrawal without an agreement.
Withdrawal without an agreement would mean several changes to the position of UK citizens and UK-based businesses in the EU.
Preparation for withdrawal without an agreement is a shared task of EU-level and national-level authorities, including those of Finland, as well as companies and citizens. More information about preparedness measures is available on the websites of the Prime Minister’s Office and the European Commission, for instance.
Each Ministry is responsible for dealing with the aspects of Brexit that affect its administrative branch. Responsibility for the overall coordination of the process lies with the Prime Minister’s Office, whose website provides comprehensive information about Brexit organised by topic.
The administrative branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs includes trade policy, foreign and security policy and development policy, as well as matters concerning consular services. Matters concerning UK citizens and imports and exports to and from the UK are largely the responsibility of authorities other than the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. For example, matters related to travel documents are the responsibility of the police, customs and declaration issues are handled by Customs, requirements related to goods trade are handled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the transfer of personal data is the responsibility of the Ombudsman for Data Protection.