Brexit Transitional Arrangements: Legal and Political Considerations

Piet Eeckhout and Oliver Patel

November 2017

Key Highlights

• With an agreement on the future UK-EU relationship unlikely to be finalised by March 2019, transitional arrangements are necessary to allow time both for further negotiations and for the implementation of new policies and systems, such as customs and immigration

• The UK and the EU both seek a time-limited, comprehensive ‘status quo’ transition which extends or replicates existing frameworks. However, there are significant legal and political issues with each available option.

• Indefinite, or time-limited but easily extendable, transitional arrangements are required to prevent a possible cliff-edge at the end of the transition period.

• This paper considers five different options for the post-Brexit transition. It assesses how each one would be implemented in practice, what the legal and policy implications would be, and whether it is politically feasible.