In light of the ongoing concerns that Britain may leave the EU without a deal at the end of March, the EU is implementing measures to mitigate the effects of a no-deal Brexit on its citizens.
The European Commission has launched a customs outreach campaign for EU-based companies doing business in the UK, aimed at helping businesses make the necessary preparations to ensure a relatively smooth transition. In order to prepare for Brexit and its impact on industry and commerce, the Commission has recommended the following steps for businesses:
- Assess their current technical and staffing capabilities to deal with newly complex customs processes;
- Consider acquiring the requisite customs authorisations and registrations to facilitate regular trade with the UK if it forms part of their supply chain; and
- Contact the national customs authorities in their home Member State to investigate what other steps they can take to prepare for Brexit.
Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “With the risk of a no-deal Brexit increasing as we get closer to March 29, the European Commission and national customs authorities are working hard to be ready to introduce checks and controls on goods flowing between the EU and the UK. This is key to protecting our consumers and our internal market. A lot depends on the ability of businesses trading with the UK to get up to speed with the customs rules that will apply on day one in case of no deal. There is no time to lose and we are here to help with the information campaign.”
Meanwhile Member State delegates on the European Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee have approved a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament over post-Brexit air connectivity. The provisional proposal would allow air carriers licensed in the UK to continue to provide basic air services to and from EU Member States, on the condition that the UK government extend the same or equivalent rights to EU-based carriers.
Ambassadors approved a similar set of arrangements for road connectivity across Europe in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit. Pending negotiations between the EU presidency and Parliament, UK-licensed trucks and coaches carrying freight or passengers will be permitted to continue to use roads in Member States; again, this is conditional on equivalent rights being conferred on EU carriers operating in the UK. The arrangements are described as being “exceptional in nature” and are intended only to preserve basic connectivity between the UK and the EU if no official arrangement can be reached before Brexit.