Brexit ‘no-deal’ preparedness by the EU


With eight weeks to go until the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on 31 October 2019, the Commission has published its 6th Brexit preparedness Communication  to reiterate its call on all stakeholders in the EU27 to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

The Communication provides an overview of preparedness work in those areas where continued and particular vigilance is needed. They include citizens’ rights, border formalities and trade, medicinal products, medical devices and chemical substances, financial services and fisheries.

The Commission has also published a detailed checklist to help those businesses that trade with the UK to make final preparations. In order to minimise disruption to trade, all parties involved in supply chains with the UK – regardless of where they are based – should be aware of their responsibilities and the necessary formalities in cross-border trade. This builds on previous Communications and 100 stakeholder notices, which cover a broad range of sectors.

In addition to this, the Commission has proposed to the European Parliament and the Council to make targeted technical adjustments to the duration of the EU’s ‘no-deal’ contingency measures in the area of transport. The Commission has also proposed to mirror, for the year 2020, the existing 2019 contingency arrangements for the fisheries sector and for the UK’s potential participation in the EU budget for 2020. These measures are necessary given the decision to extend the Article 50 period to 31 October 2019.

Finally, the Commission has proposed that the European Solidarity Fund and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund are available to support businesses, workers and Member States most affected by a ‘no-deal’ scenario. These proposals need to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Council.

The Commission recalls that it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to prepare for all scenarios. Given that a ‘no-deal’ scenario remains a possible outcome, the Commission strongly encourages all stakeholders to use the extra time provided by the extension of the Article 50 period to ensure that they have taken all necessary measures to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Preparing for a ‘no-deal’ scenario
In a ‘no-deal’ scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitional arrangements. All EU primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the UK from that moment onwards. There will be no transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. This will obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses and would have a serious negative economic impact, which would be proportionally much greater in the UK than in the EU27 Member States.

Since December 2017, the European Commission has tabled 19 legislative proposals, in preparation for a ‘no-deal’ scenario. The proposals have all been adopted by the European Parliament and Council. The Commission has also adopted 63 non-legislative acts and published 100 preparedness notices. The Commission does not plan any new measures ahead of the new withdrawal date.

As outlined by President Juncker in the European Parliament on 3 April 2019, should a ‘no-deal’ scenario occur, the UK would be expected to address three main separation issues as a precondition before the EU would consider embarking on discussions about the future relationship. These are: (1) protecting and upholding the rights of citizens who have used their right to free movement before Brexit, (2) honouring the financial obligations the UK has made as a Member State and (3) preserving the letter and spirit of the Good Friday Agreement and peace on the island of Ireland, as well as the integrity of the internal market.

For the period immediately after a withdrawal without an agreement, the Commission has set up a call centre for Member State administrations, giving them rapid access to the expertise of the Commission services by establishing a direct channel of communication, also for the purposes of facilitating the necessary coordination between national authorities.

To know more about how to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ scenario, EU citizens can contact Europe Direct for any questions or through Freephone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 from anywhere in the EU, in any official EU language.

The Maltese government offers the service of a Brexit helpline through the platform by calling freephone number 153.

Click here for the full press release.

EU citizens

–      Commission Communication and Related Documents
–      Checklist for businesses
–      European Commission preparedness website
–      Overview of residence rights in each EU27 Member States
–      Member States national ‘no-deal’ websites
–      Notice on Travelling
–      Factsheets on travelling, citizens’ rights, studying, and consumer rights
–      Q&A on Erasmus
–      Q&A on a ‘no-deal’ scenario
–      Information for EU citizens living in the UK

EU businesses

–      A range of materials on customs and indirect taxation (including a simple 5-step checklist) for businesses
–      Information related to Agriculture
–      Seven Things Businesses in the EU27 need to know in order to prepare for Brexit

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