House of Commons Library publishes briefing paper on EU preparations for a “no deal” Brexit

The EU and the other 27 Member States have been preparing for a possible “no deal” or “disorderly” Brexit. The briefing paper looks at the EU preparedness programme and at some of the EU27 measures.

The paper notes that the EU, the Theresa May Government and the UK Parliament all agreed that a “no deal” Brexit was not what they wanted, but that it could not be ruled out and therefore needed to be prepared for. The EU is currently insisting that there will be no renegotiation of the 2018 Withdrawal Agreement. The new Government of Boris Johnson appears to be less concerned about a “no deal” Brexit and more “no deal” funding has been promised.

As for the EU, if the UK leaves without a withdrawal agreement there will be repercussions for the EU as well as the UK. European Commission preparations to mitigate the impact of a “no deal” Brexit began in December 2017, and on 25 March 2019 the Commission declared that its “no deal” “Brexit preparedness” programme was complete.

The Commission has published 98 “preparedness notices” and 46 legislative measures have been proposed or adopted.

The briefing paper states that the Commission’s programme “is one of damage limitation in areas that would be most seriously affected and could create problems for the EU27”. It includes measures in the financial sector, transport and travel, customs and the export of goods, climate policy, agriculture and fisheries, social security coordination, the ERASMUS and PEACE programmes, cooperation in the export of dual-use items, international trade in services and foreign direct investment. The new measures will, for example, facilitate road haulage, rail and aviation continuity between the UK and the EU27, or compensate fishermen for Brexit-related losses. The measures are mostly temporary (around 9-12 months) and a future EU-UK relations agreement is expected to provide long-term arrangements.

The briefing paper also explains that the EU has taken steps to prepare for a shortfall in the EU Budget if the UK does not honour commitments to payments.

However, the paper states, some industry groups are still concerned that preparations in EU Member States and in many individual companies are not enough to mitigate the impact of a “no deal” Brexit at the end of October. To read the paper in full, click here.