After EU Membership – The United Kingdom in Transition

DCU Brexit Institute – Working Paper N. 7 - 2019

22 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2019 Last revised: 23 Mar 2020

See all articles by Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong

University of Cambridge; Centre for European Legal Studies

Date Written: July 15, 2019


The United Kingdom was due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 and to enter a period of ‘transition’ pending the entry into force of an agreement establishing the future relationship between the EU and the UK. This transition or implementation period was intended to offer continuity and cer-tainty to states, businesses and citizens; a safety net against a cliff-edge disorderly departure and a po-tential bridge to a future relationship. However, as a consequence of the failure to gain domestic par-liamentary approval for the text of the Withdrawal Agreement, things have not gone to plan. Instead of entering a period of transition, the UK remains a Member State of the EU until 31 October 2019. With a new Prime Minister in the UK talking up his willingness to take the UK out of the EU without a deal and without a transition period in place, this article reflects on what the negotiators sought to achieve in agreeing a transition period in the first place and why the politics of Brexit has undermined the purposes of transition.

Keywords: Brexit, UK, EU, Transition, Withdrawal Agreement

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Armstrong, Kenneth, After EU Membership – The United Kingdom in Transition (July 15, 2019). DCU Brexit Institute – Working Paper N. 7 - 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Kenneth Armstrong (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge ( email )

Trinity Ln
Cambridge, CB2 1TN
United Kingdom

Centre for European Legal Studies ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom


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