Brexit – your questions answered

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The UK is due to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020.

To help with questions you may have about this, SPICe has published a briefing answering a number of frequently asked questions about the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The briefing is broken down into four main areas:


The overview is a summary of the key questions on the process of the UK leaving the EU.

These questions help to explain why the UK is leaving the EU on 31 January 2020 and what will happen after this date.

This section explains what is meant by common terminology associated with Brexit including:

  • the transition period
  • the Withdrawal Agreement
  • the political declaration
  • the future relationship.

The overview also describes what is meant by a ‘no-deal Brexit’ and whether this is still a possibility.


The second section of the briefing explains how Brexit may affect people living in Scotland.

The section on citizens explains what the transition period will mean for UK citizens living in the EU as well as for EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens living in the the UK.

There are a number of questions about the impact Brexit may have on travel including using a mobile phone abroad, travelling with a pet and the validity of the European Health Insurance Card after the UK leaves the EU..

There are also a number of health related FAQs outlining access to healthcare for UK citizens living in and visiting EU Member States, and EU citizens living in and visiting the UK. 

Law and institutions

As a Member State of the EU, the UK has followed many laws set at an EU level. When the UK leaves the EU and the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, new laws, rules and regulations may be developed.  The FAQs on EU law look at what is changing, why and how the changes may affect Scotland.

This section also answers some FAQs on what the UK’s exit from the EU means for its membership of certain institutions.

Looking ahead

The last section of the briefing looks to the future and begins with questions on the transition period – which starts on the UK’s departure from the EU and is likely to last until the end of December 2020.  Here you can find the answer to questions on why the transition period has been agreed and whether it can be extended beyond 31 December 2020.

The transition period gives the UK and the EU time to try to decide on its future relationship.  There are a number of questions which look at the forthcoming negotiations due to take place between the EU and the UK.

In this section you will also find questions on the impact of the UK leaving the EU on agriculture and fisheries.  Among the questions considered here are whether the UK will continue to participate in the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy.

And finally, there is good news for fans of the Eurovision song contest in the briefing too!

Rebecca Bartlett, Researcher