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Kurz vor dem Brexit: Wo stehen wir? Wie geht es weiter?

Die britische Flagge und die Flagge der EU

Die britische Flagge und die Flagge der EU, © abaca / dpa / picture alliance

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Nach der Unterzeichnung des Austrittsabkommens durch Großbritannien und die EU tritt der Brexit am Samstag in Kraft. Was bleibt gleich, was ändert sich? Die wichtigsten Infos auf einen Blick.

Für die Bürgerinnen und Bürger und Unternehmen ändert sich mit dem Austritt des Vereinigten Königreichs erst einmal nichts:

  • Im Austrittsabkommen ist eine Übergangsphase bis zum 31.12.2020 verankert, in der das EU-Recht für das Vereinigte Königreich grundsätzlich weiterhin gilt und das Vereinigte Königreich Teil des EU-Binnenmarktes und der EU-Zollunion bleibt.
  • Auch die EU-Freizügigkeit, also das Recht, in der EU und dem Vereinigten Königreich zu leben, zu arbeiten, zu studieren oder sozial abgesichert zu sein, gilt in diesem Zeitraum weiter vollumfänglich.
  • Die Übergangsphase kann nach dem Austrittsvertrag einmalig um maximal weitere zwei Jahre verlängert werden; die Entscheidung hierüber muss bis zum 1.7.2020 getroffen werden. Die Übergangsphase gibt insbesondere Bürgerinnen und Bürgern sowie der Wirtschaft wichtige Planungssicherheit. 

Auch für die Zeit nach der Übergangsphase, also ab frühestens 1.1.2021, schafft das Austrittsabkommen Rechtssicherheit in wichtigen Bereichen:

  • Die Rechte der EU-Bürgerinnen und EU-Bürger, die im Vereinigten Königreich leben, sowie die Rechte der Britinnen und Briten, die in der EU leben, werden auf Lebenszeit umfassend geschützt; sie können weiterhin im Vereinigten Königreich bzw. der EU leben, arbeiten, studieren und soziale Sicherheit genießen.
  • Mit der speziellen Regelung zu Nordirland bleibt die Integrität des EU-Binnenmarktes gewahrt; gleichzeitig ist sichergestellt, dass es keine Kontrollen an der Grenze zwischen Irland und Nordirland geben wird und das Karfreitags-Abkommen vollumfänglich gewahrt bleibt. Die Regelung sieht vor, dass Nordirland Teil des britischen Zollgebiets bleibt, aber alle relevanten Binnenmarktregeln der EU in Nordirland Anwendung finden sowie der EU-Zollkodex angewandt wird. Dazu notwendige Kontrollen und Zollerhebungen finden an den Eingangspunkten der irischen Insel in Nordirland statt.
  • Zudem werden durch das Austrittsabkommen u.a. die finanziellen Verpflichtungen des Vereinigten Königreichs gegenüber der EU geregelt.

Wie geht es weiter?

Die EU und das Vereinigte Königreich werden die Übergangsphase intensiv dazu nutzen, um Verhandlungen über die künftigen Beziehungen zwischen der EU und dem Vereinigten Königreich zu führen. Die EU strebt auch in der Zukunft eine enge Partnerschaft mit Großbritannien an.

Die Verhandlungen über das künftige Verhältnis EU-Vereinigtes Königreich werden voraussichtlich im März beginnen. Vorher müssen sich die 27 Mitgliedstaaten der Europäischen Union über das Verhandlungsmandat für die Europäische Kommission verständigen. Erste Beratungen hierzu haben begonnen. Eine Annahme des Mandats durch den Rat ist für Ende Februar vorgesehen.

Die Politische Erklärung zu den zukünftigen Beziehungen steckt den Rahmen für die Verhandlungen zum zukünftigen Verhältnis zwischen der EU und dem Vereinigten Königreich ab. Diese Erklärung sieht im Kern eine Wirtschaftspartnerschaft und eine Sicherheitspartnerschaft vor.

Wo finde ich weitere Informationen?

Die Europäische Kommission beantwortet auf ihrer Webseite unter anderem folgende Fragen:

  • Was ist in den Gemeinsamen Bestimmungen des Austrittsabkommens enthalten? 
  • Was wurde in Bezug auf die Bürgerrechte vereinbart? 
  • Trennungsbestimmungen: Was wurde vereinbart? 
  • Was wurde in Bezug auf die Abwicklung des Austrittsabkommens vereinbart? 
  • Welche Finanzregelung wurde vereinbart?
  • Protokoll zu Irland und Nordirland 
  • Was wurde in Bezug auf die Hoheitszonen auf Zypern vereinbart? 

Das Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat listet auf seiner Webseite Fragen und Antworten zu den Auswirkungen auf die Statusrechte britischer Bürger im Zusammenhang mit dem Brexit.

The Withdrawal Agreement entered into force on 1 February 2020.

For the time being, the departure of the UK will not change anything for either citizens or companies:

  • A transition period until 31 December 2020 is anchored in the Withdrawal Agreement, during which EU law continues to apply to the UK. The UK remains a part of the EU single market and the EU customs union.
  • The EU’s freedom of movement, i.e. the right to live, work, study or have social security coverage in the EU and in the UK continues to apply in full during this period.
  • Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the transition period may be extended once by up to two years; the decision on this must be made by 1 July 2020. In particular, the transition phase provides citizens as well as the business sector with crucial planning certainty. 

The Withdrawal Agreement also creates legal certainty in key spheres for the time after the transition period, i.e. from 1 January 2021 at the earliest:

  • EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU will enjoy lifelong comprehensive protection of their rights; they can continue to live, work, study and enjoy social security both in the UK and in the EU.
  • The special Protocol for Northern Ireland guarantees the integrity of the EU single market; at the same time, it ensures that there will be no controls at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and that the Good Friday Agreement remains fully in force. The Protocol provides that Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK’s customs territory but that all relevant rules of the EU single market will apply in Northern Ireland as will the Union Customs Code. The checks and collection of customs duties this will entail will take place at the entry points to the island of Ireland in Northern Ireland.
  • What is more, the UK’s financial obligations towards the EU are also laid down in the Withdrawal Agreement.

What happens next?

The EU and the UK will make full use of the transition period to negotiate their future relations. The EU wants to continue having a close partnership with the UK.

The negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK are expected to begin in March. Before that, the 27 member states of the European Union will have to agree on the negotiating mandate for the European Commission. Initial consultations on this have already started. The adoption of the mandate by the Council is scheduled for late February.

The Political Declaration on the future relationship sets out the framework for negotiations on future relations between the EU and the UK. The declaration essentially envisages an economic partnership and a security partnership.

Where can I find more information?

On its Website the European Commission has answers to the following questions and others:

  • What is included in the Common Provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement?
  • What has been agreed on citizens' rights? 
  • What has been agreed on separation issues? 
  • What has been agreed on the governance of the Withdrawal Agreement? 
  • What has been agreed regarding the financial settlement?
  • Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland 
  • What has been agreed regarding the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus? 

On its Website the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community lists questions and answers on the impact of the status rights of British nationals in connection with Brexit.

Germany has been a non permanent member of the Security Council for a two year term since 1 January 2019. Germany will help to manage and prevent conflicts around the world in this role. In addition, Germany’s priorities will include climate and security, women, peace and security, humanitarian aid workers and international disarmament .

With its five permanent members and ten non permanent members elected for two year terms, the UN Security Council is the only body whose decisions are binding under international law. Germany last held a non permanent seat on the Security Council in 2011 12. Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and South Africa were also elected to non permanent seats on the Security Council.

Germany’s priorities in the Security Council

The Security Council is the most important organ of the United Nations for guaranteeing peace and security worldwide. Germany’s membership will therefore also focus on conflict resolution. Moreover, Germany will work to ensure that the Security Council is even more active in the area of conflict prevention than was the case in the past.

Germany also intends to include selected issues on the agenda of the Security Council that go beyond the crises of today. This includes, firstly, links between climate change and security policy as climate change is becoming a security issue for an increasing number of countries, for example for small island states that are exposed to rising sea levels. In August 2018, Germany established the UN Group of Friends on Climate and Security together with Nauru. Germany will build on this in the Security Council.

Secondly, Germany will advance the women, peace and security agenda, which aims not only to help women play a stronger role in preventing and managing conflicts, but also to better protect them against sexualised violence in conflicts. Both of these are core elements of German foreign, security, defence and development policy. It is in this context that Germany is assuming the co chairmanship, together with Peru, of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security in 2019.

Thirdly, Germany will work to strengthen the humanitarian system. The focus here will be on improving the application of international humanitarian law, protecting humanitarian aid workers, ensuring humanitarian access and improving the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts. As the second-largest state donor, Germany is already one of the most important stakeholders in the humanitarian field.

Fourthly, Germany intends to inject fresh impetus into the issue of disarmament and arms control and is committed to a new international arms control regime, one that is not just limited to nuclear, but also includes autonomous arms systems, for example.
Finally, the joint consideration of human rights and security remains another key priority for Germany in the Security Council. Massive human rights violations, which are often the cause of conflicts, must also be discussed in the Security Council.

The timeframe for Germany’s membership of the Security Council

Germany has attended all meetings of the Security Council as an observer since 1 October 2018, becoming a full member on 1 January 2019 .

France will assume the Presidency in March, followed by Germany in April. Both presidencies will be linked for the first time in the history of the Security Council and will focus on the overarching issue of how the humanitarian system can be strengthened. Priorities on the agenda will include how to strengthen international humanitarian law and principles, protect humanitarian workers in crisis regions and enhance access to them.

Germany’s work in the United Nations

Germany is already heavily involved in the United Nations politically, financially and in terms of personnel in addition to its humanitarian commitment as the fourth largest contributor to the regular and peacekeeping budgets and as the second largest donor of official development assistance. In addition, Germany has become one of the largest Western troop contributing nations to UN peacekeeping missions.

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