The EU has now communicated its position on its readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Though drafted in the specific context of Brexit, whereby the UK will leave the EU and become a 3rd country, it equally interesting for anyone from a 3rd country that is considering the implications of moving to the EU whether they intend to work in the EU or not.
It is essential reading for anyone from the UK intending to set up home in France, Italy or elsewhere in the EU.
The conclusion section is probably the most important as, at least in the UK, the consequences of Brexit are still not fully understood.
“IV. Conclusion: Readiness is key
The European Union will do its utmost to reach an ambitious future agreement with the United Kingdom.
However, this Communication shows that, even in case of the most ambitious future partnership – based on the European Union’s negotiating directives for a new partnership with the United Kingdom,38 adopted on 25 February 2020, and on the draft text of the Agreement on the New Partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom,39 published on 17 March 2020 – there will be far-reaching and automatic changes and consequences for citizens, consumers, businesses, public administrations, investors, students and researchers, as of 1 January 2021.
These changes are unavoidable – whatever the outcome of the ongoing negotiations – due to the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, its Single Market and Customs Union. Free movement of persons, goods and services as provided by Union law will cease to apply at the end of the transition period. This will have wide-ranging effects in particular for cross-border trade of goods and services, as well as for the mobility of people.
The Commission therefore calls on all public administrations, citizens, businesses and other stakeholders to make sure they are ready for those unavoidable changes. Failing to take such preparatory measures will increase the negative impact and cost to their operations at the end of the transition period.
It is ultimately for businesses and other stakeholders to undertake their own risk assessment and implement their own readiness actions in light of their individual situation, but no one should underestimate the logistical challenges that will occur as of 1 January 2021, in addition to the legal changes described in this Communication.
The Commission calls on Member States to continue national communication and awareness-raising activities encouraging public administrations, citizens, businesses and stakeholders to take the necessary measures for readiness. These efforts need to be adapted to the situation of stakeholders in the individual Member States. Over the coming months the Commission will work with all Member States in order to review their readiness for all aspects, and to facilitate awareness-raising efforts by public administrations towards their stakeholders.
Stakeholders are also invited to re-consult the notices that were published during the Article 50-negotiations with the United Kingdom and to consult the Commission’s readiness webpages for further updates of previous preparedness notices. The Commission will work with all relevant stakeholder associations to draw their attention to this information.
Finally, the Commission calls on all consumer, business and trade associations, national as well as European, to make sure that their members are fully aware of the changes that will occur irrespective of the future relationship with the United Kingdom.