European Union: European Commission Publishes Statement On No-Deal Brexit Preparedness

Last Updated: September 9 2019
Article by Fragomen  

At a Glance

  • The European Commission's statement reiterates the need for all parties to create contingency plans in case the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement on October 31, 2019.
  • Political commitments have been made in the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland that UK nationals will be able to continue living in the country where they currently reside. UK nationals should look out for any additional processes that may be required after Brexit.
  • Affected employers should continue to identify, reassure and assist any UK staff or their family members who will need to comply with national registration or residence requirements in case of a no-deal Brexit.
  • UK nationals in Ireland will not be impacted, as they are covered by separate UK-Ireland treaties.

The situation

The European Commission has published a statement on no-deal Brexit preparedness in which it reiterates the need for all parties to create contingency plans in case the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement on October 31, 2019.

A closer look

The key relevant points of the statement include:

  • Possibility of Brexit extension. The Commission states that it is possible that Brexit may again be extended (with unanimous European Council consent) but issues a strong call for all EU Member States, businesses and citizens in the European Union to prepare for a no-deal scenario.
  • Social security measures. The report notes that although the social security rights collected by EU nationals in the United Kingdom before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union are protected, some EU Member States are implementing contingency measures at the national level for the period after withdrawal.
  • Funding for affected individuals. The Commission adopted a proposal ensuring that funds (the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund) are available to support workers made redundant as a consequence of a no-deal Brexit, subject to certain conditions.
  • Call centre. For the time around the withdrawal date, the Commission will extend the hours of operation of its call centre for citizens and businesses and it will set up a dedicated call centre for Member State authorities to provide expertise and facilitate the necessary coordination between national authorities.

No-deal preparedness measures

  • Employer responsibilities. Employers should monitor their existing workforce and any upcoming hires or relocations to ensure they are aware of all workers who will be impacted by a no-deal Brexit, including business visitors, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals in the United Kingdom and UK nationals in the EEA. They should then communicate with all affected employees and support them through any applications for status they need to make.
  • UK nationals in Europe. Political commitments have been made in the EU, EEA and Switzerland that UK nationals will be able to continue living in the country where they currently reside. Member States may update national policies as a result of this communication from the European Commission; UK nationals should look out for any additional processes that may be required after Brexit.
  • EU, EEA and Swiss nationals in the United Kingdom. Eligible EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members should apply for status under the EU Settlement Scheme before December 31, 2020 if there is no deal. Irish nationals do not need to register as they are covered by separate United Kingdom-Ireland treaties.

Background

The default position is that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on October 31, 2019 without a deal unless a further extension or a deal is agreed before then. The current Withdrawal Agreement has been rejected by the UK Parliament three times and is unlikely to be passed. The current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, has committed to leaving the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal, despite Parliament's current attempts to block a no-deal exit.

Looking ahead

If the UK Parliament is successful in blocking a no-deal exit, they would likely ask the European Union for a further extension to the exit date. However, it is unclear if the European Union would agree to a further extension. Fragomen therefore advises companies to ensure that they have contingency plans in place for a no-deal Brexit on October 31, 2019 and will continue to issue updates as relevant events occur.

Visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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