In October 2019, the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland reached an agreement on the terms of Britain’s departure from the Union, establishing the provisions of the so-called Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and a political declaration that includes the framework of future relations.
As Minister Konrad Szymański highlighted, the
withdrawal agreement fully satisfies Poland’s three key objectives in the negotiations, namely securing the rights of Polish citizens, ensuring undisturbed financing for the current EU budget and allowing time for adjusting to the new trading conditions with Great Britain.
To make time for the negotiation of future relations and adjustment to new terms of cooperation, the Agreement envisages a so-called transition period that is due to start on 1 February and end on 31 December 2020. It means that the rules of economic exchange existing before Brexit will be upheld over that period. During this time, the United Kingdom will continue to be treated as a member state in principle; however, it will not be able to participate in EU institutions, particularly including the EU’s decision-making process.
Throughout that period, the European Union and the United Kingdom will conduct further negotiations concerning the trade agreement and security. According to the Minister for European Affairs, the priority for the transition period will be to negotiate a free trade agreement.
We will encourage the EU member states to take up intensive trade negotiations; to quickly take their seats at the table where the future, potentially close relations between the EU and the UK will be decided he announced.
Another important issue addressed by Konrad Szymański was the future of Polish people living in Britain. The Minister reassured that their rights would be guaranteed in the withdrawal agreement. They will keep their rights to work, education, social benefits, healthcare and public services.
During the transition period, Polish citizens will still be free to travel to the United Kingdom with their identity cards. However, Konrad Szymański stressed that those who wished to stay in the UK after 2020 would have to apply for a special settled status by 30 June 2021.
Relatively speaking, there is still plenty of time to apply for settled status he remarked.
However, there are four hundred thousand Poles who haven’t done it yet. If I were them, I would not put it off he recommended.
Minister Konrad Szymański also highlighted the excellent cooperation with the EC negotiating team led by Michel Barnier.
The United Kingdom is, and will remain, a key partner for Poland, and the Polish government will work towards maintaining the strong ties between the countries.