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EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April

Recent Press Release from the EU indicates that the EU has completed its preparations for a possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-1813_en.htm

(Here’s the text – check the above link for all detail including embedded links)

Brexit preparedness: EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April

Brussels, 25 March 2019

As it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its “no-deal” preparations.

At the same time, it continues supporting administrations in their own preparations and urges all EU citizens and businesses to continue informing themselves about the consequences of a possible “no-deal” scenario and to complete their no-deal preparedness. This follows the European Council (Article 50) conclusions last week calling for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency. While a “no-deal” scenario is not desirable, the EU is prepared for it.

Following a request by Prime Minister Theresa May, the European Council (Article 50) agreed on Thursday 21 March to extend the UK’s departure date to 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons by 29 March 2019 at the latest. If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons by then, the European Council has agreed to an extension until 12 April 2019. In that scenario, the United Kingdom would be expected to indicate a way forward before this date.

While the European Union continues to hope that it will not be the case, this means that if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by Friday 29 March, a “no-deal” scenario may occur on 12 April. The EU has prepared for this scenario and has remained united throughout its preparations. It is now important that everyone is ready for and aware of the practical consequences a “no-deal” scenario brings.

A “no-deal” scenario

In a “no-deal” scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitionary 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.

In such a scenario, the UK’s relations with the EU would be governed by general international public law, including rules of the World Trade Organisation. The EU will be required to immediately apply its rules and tariffs at its borders with the UK. This includes checks and controls for customs, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and verification of compliance with EU norms. Despite the considerable preparations of the Member States’ customs authorities, these controls could cause significant delays at the border. UK entities would also cease to be eligible to receive EU grants and to participate in EU procurement procedures under current terms.

Similarly, UK citizens will no longer be citizens of the European Union. They will be subject to additional checks when crossing borders into the European Union. Again, Member States have made considerable preparations at ports and airports to ensure that these checks are done as efficiently as possible, but they may nevertheless cause delays.

The EU’s “no-deal” preparedness and contingency work

Since December 2017, the European Commission has been preparing for a “no-deal” scenario. It has published 90 preparedness notices, 3 Commission Communications, and has made 19 legislative proposals (see below).

The Commission has held extensive technical discussions with the EU27 Member States both on general issues of preparedness and contingency work and on specific sectorial, legal and administrative preparedness issues. The Commission has now also completed its tour of the capitals of the 27 EU Member States. The aim of these visits was to provide any necessary clarifications on the Commission’s preparedness and contingency action and to discuss national preparations and contingency plans. The visits showed a high degree of preparation by Member States for all scenarios.

Member States have also been engaged in intensive national preparations. An overview of residency rights in the EU27 Member States is available here, as well as direct links to national preparedness websites.

Tariffs on imports after EU Exit

The Government is publishing information on essential policies which would need to be in place if the UK were to leave without a deal.

This approach was outlined by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on 12 March 2019 to ensure MPs are fully informed before the vote on No Deal on 13 March 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-temporary-rates-of-customs-duty-on-imports-after-eu-exit

The information, aimed towards business, includes the government’s approach to customs duty, which is a tax you pay when importing goods.

The rate of customs duty you pay is known as the ‘tariff’.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, you may need to pay different rates of customs duty (tariffs) on imports. These rates would only be applied if the UK were to leave the EU with no deal.

The UK government would set temporary rates which would:

  • apply from 11pm on 29 March 2019
  • be in place for up to 12 months from 29 March 2019

Here is a list of the temporary rates of customs duty (tariffs) on imports after EU Exit.

MFN and tariff quota rates of customs duty on imports if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Preferential tariff rates
A preferential tariff rate would apply if the country:

  • has a free trade agreement with the UK
  • is part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences
  • If a preferential tariff rate applies, this is the rate of customs duty (tariff) you would pay.

    Most-favoured-nation (MFN) tariff rates

    If a preferential tariff rate does not apply, this is the rate of customs duty (tariff) you would pay.

    Tariff quota rates (TRQ)

    If a tariff quota rate applies, you could apply to import a limited amount at a reduced rate of customs duty (tariff). You would need to claim for the tariff rate quota using the TRQ order number.

    Worker rights after the UK withdrawal from the EU

    Parliament, trade unions and businesses will be given a new and enhanced role in shaping the future of workers’ rights after Brexit, the Prime Minister announced today.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/workers-rights-to-be-protected-in-uk-law

    The new measures will protect and improve workers’ rights after the UK leaves the EU and this follows the government’s commitment in December to the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation.

    The government has made a commitment not to reduce the standards of workers’ rights from EU laws retained in UK law and will ensure that new legislation changing those laws will be assessed as to whether they uphold this commitment.

    Parliament will be given the right through the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to consider any future changes in EU law that strengthen workers’ rights or workplace health and safety standards, and vote on whether they too should be adopted into UK law.

    The measures will require Parliament to be given regular updates on changes to EU legislation in this area and will give MPs a choice on the action government will take in response, including whether MPs want to decide that the UK should remain aligned with the EU. In preparing those updates, trade unions, businesses and the relevant select committees of Parliament will be consulted with.

    This new process will start with 2 EU Directives that come into force after we have left and following the Implementation Period – the Work Life Balance Directive and the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive. The government has voted in favour of both of these directives in the European Council and intends to ask Parliament if it wants to adopt them into UK law.

    The Work Life Balance Directive introduces new rights for parents and carers, such as 2 months of paid leave for each parent up until the child is 8 and also 5 days of leave for those caring for sick relatives.

    The Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive will set the terms of employment for workers by their first working day and provides more stability if you work in shifts. The government is already committed to many of these measures.

    Prime Minister Theresa May said:

    “We have as a country led the way in workers’ rights while maintaining a flexible labour market. The enormous success of our jobs market and the wealth of opportunities for workers across the nation have long been underpinned by the policies and standards that exceed the minimums set by the EU and that has been driven by successive governments of all parties.

    After Brexit it should be for Parliament to decide what rules are most appropriate, rather than automatically accepting EU changes. When it comes to workers’ rights this Parliament has set world-leading standards and will continue to do so in the future, taking its own decisions working closely with trade unions and businesses.”

    Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

    “The United Kingdom has a proud tradition of establishing and improving the rights of working men and women from Shaftesbury’s Factories Acts, through William Hague’s Disability Discrimination Act to the Minimum Wage introduced by a Labour government, bolstered into the National Living Wage by a Conservative government.

    While the EU sets minimum requirements in many areas of workers’ rights, time and again the UK has led the way and chosen to exceed them. We are determined to maintain this record of leadership outside the EU. Yet it is a fact that some people felt that the rights of workers would not be adequately addressed, so as part of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill we will ensure parliament is given a vote on the action government will take in response to changes to EU legislation on workers’ rights.”

    There will also be an extra package of measures to strengthen enforcement of workers’ rights.

    Proposals include bringing a range of enforcement bodies under one roof. Currently, HMRC enforces the national minimum and living wages; the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority investigates reports of exploitation and illegal activity in the workplace; and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate protects the rights of agency workers.

    Proposals for a single labour market enforcement body will be brought forward in the coming months. It would have the power, for example, to enforce holiday payments for vulnerable workers and ensure agency workers are not underpaid. It would also have a duty to consult unions and employment unions on its work.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/784021/protecting-enhancing-worker-rights-after-uk-withdrawal-from-eu.pdf

    Common Travel Area Guidance

    by Politicker 0 Comments

    A document has been issued by the UK Government providing guidance for UK and Irish Citizens on their rights under the Common Travel Area arrangements.

    The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey; Bailiwick of Guernsey; Isle of Man) and Ireland.

    The CTA established cooperation between respective immigration authorities enabling British and Irish citizens to move freely between, and reside in, these islands.

    British and Irish citizens enjoy additional rights in Ireland and the UK. These include the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.

    If you are a British citizen or an Irish citizen you do not need to take any action to protect your status and rights associated with the CTA. After the UK leaves the EU, you will continue to enjoy these rights, no matter what the terms of the UK’s exit. Both the UK and Irish Governments have committed to taking all necessary measures to ensure that the agreed CTA rights and privileges are protected in all outcomes.

    Details at

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/common-travel-area-guidance

    UK citizens visa-free travel to the EU after Brexit

    by Politicker 0 Comments

    The EU Commission today (13 December 2018) proposed to grant UK citizens visa-free travel to the EU after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. It is separate to the ongoing negotiations on the UK’s orderly withdrawal.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6402_en.htm

    Is travel by UK citizens to the EU important to the EU ?

    Residents in the United Kingdom undertook 53 million trips to the EU-27 in 2016, whether for business, leisure or other purposes, spending about EUR 28 billion while in the other Member States. Imposing a visa requirement on United Kingdom nationals who are British citizens could diminish the economic benefit for the Union that results from these trips, reduce trade relations and harm the economic interest of the Union.

    For more details, see the following document by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (referenced by the proposal)

    The economic importance of UK outbound tourism to the EU27 economies. September 2017

    (copy pdf)

    The EU is proposing that

    The proposal would mean that UK citizens would not need a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. In the scenario where the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would apply as of 30 March 2019. If a deal is reached, however, it would apply as of the end of the transition period, as outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement. This follows the Commission’s continued commitment that citizens’ rights must come first in the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

    This proposal is entirely conditional upon the UK also granting reciprocal and non-discriminatory visa-free travel for all EU Member States, in line with the principle of visa reciprocity. The UK government has declared its intention not to require a visa from citizens of the EU27 Member States for shorts stays for the purposes of tourism and business. EU rules on non-EU nationals travelling to the EU, such as those on border control, would of course apply to UK citizens once they are no longer EU citizens.

    Today’s proposal is one of the preparedness measures needed as a consequence of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. It is separate to the ongoing negotiations on the UK’s orderly withdrawal.

    The proposal needs to be adopted by the EU Parliament and the EU Council. The EU Commission has called on both institutions to make quick progress on this proposal so that it can be adopted in good time before 30 March 2019.

    However it’s worth noting the following paragraphs:

    Regulation (EU) 2017/222610 establishing an Entry/Exit system (EES) further improves the security and management of the Union’s external borders. The main objectives of this regulation are to improve the quality of border checks for third-country nationals and to ensure a systematic and reliable identification of overstayers. The future Entry/Exit system (EES) will thus be an important element to ensure lawful use of the visa-free stays in the Schengen area by third country nationals and to contribute to preventing irregular migration of nationals from visa-free countries.

    Regulation (EU) 2018/124011 establishing a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will close the information gap regarding travellers exempt from the requirement of being in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders. The system will determine the eligibility of visa-exempt third-country nationals prior to their travel to the Schengen area, and whether such travel poses a security, illegal immigration or high epidemic risk.

    This means that UK citizens will be required to follow the requirements of the European Visa Waiver and Electronic Travel Authorisation System (ETIAS) which is due to be introduced in 2020.

    Proposal for a Regulation amending Council Regulation 539/2001

    EU Visa Proposal (copy pdf)

    In the spirit of reciprocity, which the EU is keen on, will the UK consider a similar sysem for EU citizens wishing to visit the UK ?

    ETIAS stands for EU Travel Information and Authorisation System

    The system will check the security credentials and charge a fee to travellers visiting EU member countries for business, tourism, medical or transit purposes. The current EU visa application and vetting procedures for entering the Schengen area depend only upon the citizenship of the visitor and are cost-free. The ETIAS, like the ESTA, will streamline this visa process for those people who do not need a visa at present but will undergo additional security checks prior to allowing entry into the EU. The ETIAS travel authorisation will be mandatory for citizens of countries who currently do not require visas to enter Europe.

    Information on ETIAS can be found at

    https://etias.com

    How will it work ?

    Application – The ETIAS must be applied for online prior to arrival to the EU. Each eligible traveller to the EU will require an ETIAS.

    Form fields – The following data will be required for each ETIAS application: personal biometric data (e.g. name, gender, data of birth, etc), passport or travel document information, EU member state of entry, background questions on an applicant’s health, criminal record as well as previous EU immigration history.

    Fee – The cost of an ETIAS is €7, however, individuals under the age of 18 will not need to pay the fee.

    Application process – Upon submission, each application will be checked across SIS / VIS / EUROPOL DATA / SLTD (Interpol) / EURODAC / ECRIS etc), the ETIAS screening rules as well as the ETIAS watchlist. If the application is matched to information from any of these databases, the application will undergo manual processing by the ETIAS Central and / or ETIAS National Units.

    Application Decision – Usually, a decision will be reached by the system within minutes. If an ETIAS application is approved, it will be issued for a period of three years or until the date of the applicant’s passport expiry, whichever date is sooner. If an ETIAS application is denied, the applicant will receive a reason for the refusal as well as information on the country or authority deciding against the ETIAS being approved.

    Boarding – The ETIAS can only be used for transit, tourism and business travel. As ETIAS will be checked by carriers prior to a traveller boarding by air, land or sea. If an ETIAS is not approved, the traveller will not be allowed to board the travel vessel, be it an airplane, boat or bus.

    Arrival at the EU – Upon entry into the Schengen zone, a border guard will make the decision on admitting a traveller based on the information in the EES system, the approved ETIAS, as well as the travel documents and disposition of the traveller.

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