Brexit analysis: what are the priorities for EU governments around Brexit planning?

What about Europe? How are EU governments preparing for Brexit?

The view from France

Dr Sébastien Gros, a Hogan Lovells partner based in Paris said: “While emphasising the need to continue discussions for an orderly and negotiated Brexit, the French government is in parallel preparing for a "no-deal-Brexit" scenario.  

“The French government has submitted a draft law to the French parliament that would authorise the government to adopt ordinances (ie legislative measures) that do not require parliamentary debate. The purpose of these would be to adopt specific French measures on a variety of subject matters of French national competency, as opposed to EU competency, in the absence of a withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU. 

“In parallel to the legislative steps towards the adoption of the draft law, which is imminent, the French government is working on the draft ordinances, but they have not been made public so far. It is already clear however, that the subject matters of the draft ordinances aim at addressing immediate and urgent needs and subsequent measures would have to be adopted. They cover areas such as the right of entry and residence of British citizens in France, the transport of passengers and goods, pension plan contributions, the recognition of diplomas, access to interbank payment systems and the continuity of contracts.”

The view from Germany 

Dr. Tim Brandi, a Hogan Lovells partner based in Frankfurt said: “The German government is banking on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Nonetheless, it has taken precautions in case it proves impossible to come to a comprehensive agreement. These measures include a draft law adopted by the German government on 11 December 2018 focusing on specific issues with regards to taxes, social security and financial services that may arise in case of a "no deal" scenario. However, these targeted and specific measures do not aim to address all the issues that German businesses and individuals may be confronted with in a "no deal" scenario.”

The view from the Netherlands 

Amsterdam based Hogan Lovells partner Hein van den Bos said, “In the Netherlands, the government has made it unequivocally clear that a no-deal scenario will entail disruption and problems. In preparation for Brexit, deal or no-deal, the Netherlands has already increased staffing levels at Customs, the Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority, the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate and the Medicines Evaluation Board. 

“Whilst the Dutch government has stressed that it is the responsibility of businesses to prepare for a no deal Brexit, they have published contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit in two principle areas: Firstly, whether UK citizens currently residing in the Netherlands will be allowed to remain in the Netherlands after Brexit. In the event of no deal UK citizens will be allowed to stay for 15 months, during which time they will be invited to apply for permanent residence and employers who intend to employ a UK citizen will have to apply for a work permit.

“The other principle area that the Dutch government has released contingency planning for is around medicinal products, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and human tissues that originate from the UK. The Minister of Medical Care has identified potential disruption effects of a no-deal Brexit for the availability of medical products for Dutch patients if products are not registered in one of the EU-27 countries on time. The Minister also identified potential problems for healthcare professionals working cross-border and for the cross-border transfer of patient data. 

“Again, whilst the Dutch government has stressed that healthcare companies, hospitals and health insurance companies have a responsibility to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, the government has taken steps to reduce dependence on medical products originating from the UK. This has included, for example, announcing the potential use of exemptions to regulatory requirements."

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