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Focus on Regulation

The European Commission started implementing its “no-deal Brexit” Contingency Action Plan


On 19 December 2018, the European Commission published a Communication addressed at the EU institutions. The Communication relates to the preparation for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, in case of a “no-deal” Brexit. The Communication discussed 14 measures that the European Commission has adopted to prepare for the “no-deal” Brexit scenario.

Brexit background

A no-deal Brexit is a Brexit with no withdrawal agreement and thus no transition period. Brexit would, in these circumstances, take place on 29 March 2019. If the agreement were to be ratified before 29 March 2019, the transition period would end on 1 January 2021. There is currently less than 100 days to 29 March 2019.

UK and EU negotiators have agreed on a withdrawal agreement containing a transition period. The transition period would provide companies and competent authorities with more time to prepare for Brexit. This agreement has not been ratified yet.

In order to be ratified, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the UK Parliament must formally vote in favour of the agreement. If one of these institutions were to not vote in favour of the agreement, the European Commission considers a no-deal Brexit as a likely outcome.

The Implementation of the Contingency Plan

The European Commission announced a no-deal Brexit Contingency Action Plan in November 2018. The 19 December 2018 Communication explains that the European Commission has adopted fourteen of the measures announced in the Contingency Plan. The measures are adopted to prepare in specific sectors for the no-deal scenario.

The measures are addressed to the financial services sector, air transport sector and the road haulage sector. Measures regarding the placing of hydrofluorocarbons on the market and emission trading were also adopted. The European Commission also adopted measures regarding customs and the export of goods, the Peace IV program and the listing of the UK in the statistics on the balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment.


Most of the adopted measures are not yet applicable as they are either proposals for implementing acts or delegated acts. These acts are still subject to scrutiny by the relevant advisory and examination committees of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.[1]

The European Commission has called upon the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to ensure that the proposed legislative acts are in force by 29 March 2019.

[1]               An overview of the EU “Comitology” procedures can be found here.