European Commission preparedness work in case of no-deal Brexit

The European Commission’s Communication of the 13th November outlines a number of contingency actions that could be implemented if no agreement is reached with the United Kingdom. The priority areas contain amongst others air transport, customs, and climate policy.

Any contingency measures would only be taken in limited areas where they are necessary to protect the vital interests of the EU and where preparedness measures are not currently possible. They would be temporary in nature, limited in scope, adopted unilaterally by the EU and must remain compatible with EU law.

This EC Communication follows a first preparedness Communication published on 19 July 2018.

Whether there is a deal or not, the UK’s withdrawal will undoubtedly cause disruption in business supply chains. Contingency measures cannot remedy the full effects of this disruption. In the event of a no-deal scenario, these disruptions will be even more significant and the speed of preparations would have to increase significantly.

If there is a deal and the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019, EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK on 1 January 2021, i.e. after a transition period of 21 months.

If there is no deal, that is the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified before 30 March 2019, there will be no transition period and EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK as of 30 March 2019. This is referred to as the “no-deal” or “cliff-edge” scenario.

For more information about the EC preparedness work, please see the EC documents.