(Title Image: ITV Wales)
The UK officially left the European Union at 11 pm on 31st January 2020, marking the end of the first phase of Brexit.
A transition period is now in effect until 31st December 2020 where EU rules will largely remain in place – including tariff-free trade with the EU. Unless this transition period is extended or a permanent deal is agreed by the end of 2020, the UK will revert to World Trade Organisation rules (aka. Hard Brexit) on 1st January 2021.
The UK is now a “third country” in EU affairs and will play no role (unless specifically invited) in EU decision-making. The UK’s 73 MEPs have also been withdrawn from the European Parliament.
During a speech in Cardiff, the First Minister said Wales would remain “a European nation” adding that, “The Welsh Government will be there as we have been over recent years leading the call for serious attention to be given to the way in which the UK is to operate together in the aftermath of our membership of the EU.”