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United Kingdom FAQs

Has the UK now left the EU?

No. Until it formally withdraws from the Union, the UK remains a full Member, with all of its existing rights and obligations.

Businesses can continue to trade as normal and people can continue to travel as normal between Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland. 


What date will the UK leave the EU?

The United Kingdom is expected to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.


What about our bilateral relationship with the UK?

It will be a priority for the Irish Government to maintain and build on the strength of our bilateral relations with the UK Government.

There is already a clear framework in place for bilateral co-operation between the Irish and UK Governments under the Joint Statement the Taoiseach signed with the then UK Prime Minister in 2012. Prime Minister May and the Taoiseach reaffirmed our Governments’ commitment to this co-operation when they met in June. The PM and the Taoiseach review progress at our regular Summit meetings.

This provides a framework for co-operation on a Joint Ireland/UK Work Programme covering issues such as the Common Travel Area; Energy & Climate Change; Economic & Financial Issues, and Trade & Investment.

We will continue to use existing channels of communication, including summit meetings between the UK Prime Minister and the Taoiseach.

The structures established under the Good Friday Agreement for managing relations on these islands still exist and we will ensure that the British Irish Council and the North South Ministerial Council are utilised to best effect to ensure that we all work together to safeguard the peace process and maintain strong relations on these islands.

We will also work bilaterally with the UK to ensure that our interests are protected, though in many cases they will have to be managed through EU-UK frameworks.

It is worth noting that in her statements outlining her Brexit priorities, Prime Minister May has made clear that she wishes to secure the closest possible future economic relationship for Britain with the EU, and her priorities include maintaining the Common Travel Area and avoiding a hard border with Northern Ireland.


What are the Government’s Priorities for the EU’s future relationship with the UK?

Ireland wants the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, including on trade. This is in line with the European Council Guidelines from December 2017, which reaffirmed the EU’s desire to establish a close partnership with the UK. The Government will be firm in arguing that any future agreement must protect key sectors of the Irish economy given the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland and importance of our economic relationship with the UK.

Depending on progress on the implementation of phase one commitments, the Government is hopeful that the European Council will adopt guidelines on the framework for a future relationship in March 2018.

It is important to be clear that the actual agreement on a future relationship can only be finalised and concluded once the UK has become a third country, that is after it leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. This is why a status quo transitional arrangement is so important.

As well as the important issues around trade, the EU-UK future relationship should also entail continued strong cooperation in a range of other areas such as combatting terrorism and international crime, research, fisheries, the mutual recognition of qualifications, data protection and civil aviation, to mention just a few.


What happens to all of the EU laws in force in the UK?

The UK government has introduced the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to Parliament. If passed, it will end the primacy of EU law in the UK. This Bill is supposed to incorporate all EU legislation into UK law, after which the government will decide over a period of time which parts to keep, change or remove.


What will happen to EU citizens living in the UK, and UK citizens living in the EU?

Agreement reached between the UK and the EU provides certainty to EU citizens in the UK - as well as citizens of the three EEA countries and Switzerland - that they will be able to carry on living and working in the UK as they have done with their rights enshrined in UK law and enforced by British courts. UK citizens in the EU will also retain their current rights.

The proposal provides a cut-off date of 29 March 2019 for those to be covered by the rules. EU citizens legally resident in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be able to leave for up to five years before losing the rights they will have as part of the proposed Brexit deal.

Full details of the UK-EU agreement are available at:


Will UK MPs get a vote on the final Brexit deal?

Yes. UK Prime Minister May has promised there will be a Commons and Lords vote to approve whatever deal the UK and the rest of the EU agree at the end of the two year process.

Any Brexit deal can become law only if MPs vote for it.