Queens Speech (UK)

Exit day is 31st January 2020 – DExEU government department will close on that day

Of relevance (for this Blog) in the Queen’s Speech today are :

(1) the Environment Bill – this will be brought back with alterations

(2) a new Fire safety and Building safety bill or bills

(3) the withdrawal agreement bill and associated Brexit bills

Please look out for further Blog posts when the bill text is published.

New Plant Health Rules (EU)

In October 2016, the EU adopted Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 on protective measures against plant pests (“Plant Health Law”).

On 13 December 2016, the Regulation entered into force and is applicable from today 14 December 2019.

These rules constitute the EU Plant Health Regime, which has been in place since 1977 and was fully reviewed by the European Commission in May 2013.

The new rules aim to modernise the plant health regime, enhancing more effective measures for the protection of the Union’s territory and its plants. They also aim to ensure safe trade, as well as to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the health of our crops and forests.

From 14 December 2019, the current Annexes of Directive 2000/29/EC, whereby the regulated pests, the regulated plants, plant products and other objects and the plant health import, as well as internal movement, requirements are listed, are replaced with a new Implementing Act 2019/2072 and its Annexes.

This Implementing Act is here.

From 14 December 2019, all plants (including living parts of plants) will need to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate to enter into the EU, unless they are listed in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 as exempted from this general requirement (not requiring to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate). Currently, the list of plants exempted from the obligation to carry a phytosanitary certificate from 14 December 2019 are the following fruits: pineapples, coconuts, durians, bananas and dates.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 is updated by 2019/2072.

EU plant health rules also cover the movement and trade within the EU of certain plants, plant products and other objects which are potential carriers of quarantine pests. These plants, plant products and other objects are listed in Annex VIII and IX of the above Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072.

Within the EU, these rules include:

• Requirements for internal movements – Regulation (EU) 2019/2072 – Annex VIII, IX and X

• Production controls and inspections at the place of production during the growing season and immediately after harvest;

• Official producer registration;

• Plant passports, issued to accompany the plants, products and other objects once they have passed all the EU checks.

Registration of EU producers

• Directives 92/90 EEC and 93/50 EC

• Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, Articles 65-70

Rules for issuing plant passports

• Directive 92/105/EEC as amended by Directive 2005/17 /EC

• Criteria for authorization Regulation (EU) 2019/827

• Format of plant passports Regulation (EU) 2017/2313

• Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, Articles 78-95

Brexit – the UK Government has issued instructions, these new EU Plant Health Rules apply today to movements within the UK and movements to the EU.

The UK instructions are here.

14 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement (EU-UK Brexit)

I posted yesterday (Brexit Status) that Withdrawal Agreement text had been agreed between EU and UK negotiators. This text was agreed last night at a meeting of the UK Cabinet, and then published – here. Alongside the 14 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement text, a starter for the Outline Political Declaration on the Future Relationship was also published, and a Joint Statement (in that link).

Alongside this, DExEU also published and Explainer and Explanatory Notes – here.

The EU also published a Fact Sheet on the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) text – here, and a Fact Sheet on the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (one of the 3 Protocols to the WA) – here.

The 14 Nov 2018 Withdrawal Agreement has 185 Articles, 3 Protocols, and a series of Annexes.

The objective of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is to put in place an orderly exit of the UK from the EU on 12 midnight CET (11pm GMT) 29 March 2019 – dealing with matters such as citizen rights, money, and a series of separation technicalities. The WA (if ratified as a Treaty) also puts in place a Transition Period (in the UK, this is termed an Implementation Phase) lasting until 31 December 2020, during which EU Law will continue to apply and trade will be unchanged.

Note :

(1) the WA text must pass through a series of gates before ratification as a Treaty. When a Treaty, it will be given effect by the EU (Withdrawal and Implementation) Bill in the UK, which itself must be created and enacted. And this new Bill will necessarily amend and rewrite parts of the already enacted EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. It is hoped, but by no means certain, these gates can be crossed by the exit date of 29 March 2019.

(2) during the transition to 31 Dec 2020, EU Law would continue to apply to and within the UK and override domestic law. But, as the UK will be a third country, this means it will have only minimal influence on the creation and enactment of EU law in that phase.

(3) a single extension for an (at present unspecified) length of time is permitted to the Transition Phase, this extension to be agreed by 1 July 2020. A firm end date will need to be negotiated by the European Council on 25th Nov (if it takes place).

(4) a specific Protocol for handling the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is the first of 3 Protocols in the 14 Nov 2018 WA text. This Protocol includes a detailed “backstop” to be used if the Future Relationship is not in place by the end of the transition period.

(5) the UK is a Third Country on exit on 29 March 2019, the transition period gives a further short period for transition to this Third Country status (relationship with the EU).

(6) the objective is to transition from the current EU member state status direct to the Future Relationship (Trade Agreement) status, via the Transition Period (which could be extended).

Further work is ongoing, and the WA text must pass a series of gates.

It is essential that Brexit Preparedness planning continues, and that the current Brexit Preparedness and Brexit Contingency EU and the UK Notices are read and understood. I have posted these. Please keep following this Blog for updates.

Current Brexit State (UK and EU)

The UK will exit the EU bloc at 11pm on 29 March 2019.

As of 31 October 2018, both sides have made good progress in negotiations on both the Withdrawal Agreement (for an orderly departure) and the political declaration on the future relationship. On the political declaration on the future relationship, the UK has proposals, and the UK and the EU have discussed each element of these, including the future customs arrangement.

Both sides will continue to work to finalise the Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration on the future relationship. This is widely termed “the Deal”.

As set out in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the UK House of Commons must vote to approve the deal before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified. Member States of the EU27 must also ratify the deal, along with the European Parliament.

Brexit Preparedness planning and information continues. EU Notices were issued some time ago, and reported in this Blog. UK Technical Notices were issued more recently, and also reported in this Blog. The departure of the UK from the EU bloc is a substantive change, and there will be actions for business and individuals, and further Notices can be expected. Please read these Notices carefully and continue to follow this Blog closely.

More Technical Notices (UK Brexit Preparedness)

The UK has today (24th September 2018) published more Technical Notices, some have a slightly earlier date. The collection to date is here.

Please note in particular the new Notices issued in the topics of Importing and Exporting, and Product Labelling.

Please note there is now a Technical Notice on REACH. This only covers the registration side. Given its tone, I would envisage in the first instance Safety Data Sheets and Marketing and Use Restrictions might not alter much, if at all. I will Blog post again if there is further information issued or made available on this.

(1) The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would act as the lead UK regulatory authority, from the day the UK leaves the EU, building on its existing capacity and capability.

(2) The new regulatory framework would: enable the registration of new chemicals through a UK IT system that is similar to the existing EU IT system; provide specialist capacity to evaluate the impact of chemicals on health and the environment; ensure sufficient regulatory and enforcement capacity in the HSE, the Environment Agency (EA) and other regulators, enabling them to recommend controls in response to the hazards and risks of substances; and provide for an appropriate policy function in Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved administrations.

(3) In a ‘no deal’ scenario the UK would not be legally committed to medium- or long-term regulatory alignment with the EEA.

Please note there is now a Technical Notice on the CTA between the UK and Ireland.

(1) If you are an Irish citizen you would continue to have the right to enter and remain in the UK, as now. You are not required to do anything to protect your status.

(2) In addition, you would continue to enjoy the reciprocal rights associated with the CTA in the same way that British citizens in Ireland would if there is no deal. These rights include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services. Where required domestic legislation and agreements would be updated to ensure that the CTA rights continue to have a clear legal basis.

(3) There would be no practical changes to the UK’s approach to immigration on journeys within the CTA: as now there would be no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the CTA to the UK. The legislation governing this approach will remain unchanged when the UK leaves the EU. So too will the legislative framework of integrated immigration laws between the UK and the Crown Dependencies. The CTA arrangements would be maintained, promoting the benefits of migration between these islands.

Please note the consultations proposed re GMOs.

Please email me if you need to discuss any matter.

More Technical Notices (UK Brexit Preparedness)

The UK has today issued further Brexit Preparedness Notices. The existing online location is updated – here.

Please note particularly :

(1) CE marking – in the “Labelling products and making them safe” group

(2) Driving

(3) BAT standards – in the “Protecting the environment” group

(4) F-gases and ODS – in the “Protecting the environment” group

(5) The three Notices in the “Travelling between the UK and the EU” group

(6) Oil and gas activities – in the “Regulating energy” group

(7) European Works Councils in the “Workplace rights” group (already issued)

Any questions, please email me.

Technical Notices (UK Brexit Preparedness)

UPDATE : government letter to the health care sector (this calls for stockpiling to ensure continuity of supply) – here.

The UK government has today issued its first tranche of Technical Notices in the subject area of UK Brexit Preparedness. These Technical Notices create requirements for Government to have online portals and other IT in place, and for stakeholders to use these, and make other arrangements.

The Technical Notices are here.

Please read the Notices carefully, any questions, please email them directly to me.