Brexit and COVID-19 measures (EU)

The UK left the EU at end of January 2020, and will leave the transition period at end of December 2020.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11th March 2020.

These two events are prompting substantive changes in many occupational, health and safety, and environment related measures in EU member states and at EU level.

The EU’s Brexit measures are found here.

[the first round of negotiations on a trade deal with the UK to operate from 1st January 2021 was held 2-5 March, the second round is not scheduled]

[the EU published a new draft legal text on 18 March here, new UK legal texts submitted to the EU in March are not published]

The EU’s COVID-19 measures are found here.

[note the measures announced to keep air cargo moving – here]

The EU’s Brexit and the COVID-19 measures are rooted in law. Cardinal Environment Limited advises on occupational health and safety law and environmental law via Email Alert to subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists. The next Email Alert on EU-26 Registers & Checklists will be at the next 6-month interval (as usual). Ireland receives monthly Email Alerts due to its connectivity with the UK (its next Email Alert is end of March unless otherwise a different interval is operated).

Subscribers are reminded that they can request Annual Review (a teleconference) on renewal of annual subscriptions, and this is recommended.

Of particular note are –

(1) changes around borders, goods transport and people mobility to keep the Single Market open during the COVID-19 pandemic

(2) measures that may result from the EU-UK trade deal negotiations

Individual member states will be operating internal COVID-19 emergency –

(1) changes around workplace organisation, particularly additional requirements to keep the workplace safe and provide for home working

(2) temporary bans on the opening of some business premises on health grounds

(3) changes around worker employment (this Blog does not address detailed matters of Employment Law)

Brexit and COVID-19 measures (UK)

The UK left the EU at end of January 2020, and will leave the transition period at end of December 2020.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11th March 2020.

These two events are prompting substantive changes in many occupational, health and safety, and environment related measures in the UK (substantive measures are also being taken in other countries, and at EU level).

The UK’s Brexit measures are found here.

[the vast majority of the UK’s Brexit measures are unchanged since any update made in February 2020]

The UK’s COVID-19 measures are found here.

[the vast majority of the UK’s COVID-19 measures date March 2020]

The UK’s Brexit and the COVID-19 measures are rooted in law. Cardinal Environment Limited advises on occupational health and safety law and environmental law via Email Alert to subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists. The next Email Alert on UK Registers & Checklists will be at end March (the monthly UK Email Alert as usual).

Subscribers are reminded that they can request Annual Review (a teleconference) on renewal of annual subscriptions.

Of particular note are –

(1) changes around borders

(2) changes around goods transport

(3) changes around people mobility, including across borders

(4) changes around workplace organisation, particularly additional requirements to keep the workplace safe and provide for home working

(5) temporary bans on the opening of some business premises on health grounds

(6) changes around worker employment (this Blog does not address detailed matters of Employment Law)

EU Readiness Notices (EU Brexit)

The UK is exiting the transition period on 31st December.

The European Commission is reviewing – and where necessary updating – the over 100 sector-specific stakeholder preparedness notices it published during the Article 50 negotiations with the UK.

The documents (updated so far) are published as ‘notices for readiness’ for 1st January 2021 –

(1) Air Transport – here

(2) Aviation safety – here

(3) Consumer protection and passenger rights – here

(4) Cosmetic products – here

(5) Animal feed – here

(6) Food law – here

(7) Industrial products – here

(8) Medicinal products for human use and veterinary medical products – here

(9) Movements of live animals – here

(10) Online sale of goods with subsequent parcel delivery – here

(11) Plant health – here

The transition period ends on 31st December, unless it is extended by agreement.

UK-EU Free Trade Agreement (UK Brexit)

The UK government issued today (17th March 2020) the statement set out below –

In light of the latest guidance on coronavirus, we will not formally be convening negotiating work strands tomorrow in the way we did in the previous round.

We expect to share a draft FTA alongside the draft legal texts of a number of the standalone agreements in the near future still, as planned.

Both sides remain fully committed to the negotiations and we remain in regular contact with the European Commission to consider alternative ways to continue discussions, including looking at the possibility of video conferencing or conference calls, and exploring flexibility in the structure for the coming weeks.

The transition period ends on 31 December 2020. This is enshrined in UK law.

The Withdrawal Agreement (the international treaty between the UK and the EU) allows the UK to apply (by end June) to extend the transition period for up to two years.

UK-EU Comprehensive Trade Deal (UK Brexit)

Today the UK Government published its policy paper setting out its approach to negotiations for a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with its neighbours, the EU27 bloc. The document is here.

Key aspects –

* It is a vision of a relationship based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, with both parties respecting one another’s legal autonomy and right to manage their own resources as they see fit. Whatever happens, the Government will not negotiate any arrangement in which the UK does not have control of its own laws and political life. That means that we will not agree to any obligations for our laws to be aligned with the EU’s, or for the EU’s institutions, including the Court of Justice, to have any jurisdiction in the UK.

* The Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) should be – on the lines of the FTAs already agreed by the EU in recent years with Canada and with other friendly countries.

* The CFTA should be supplemented by a range of other international agreements covering, principally, fisheries, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, transport, and energy.

* All these agreements should have their own appropriate and precedented governance arrangements, with no role for the Court of Justice.

The EU27 and the UK confirm a progress review will take place in June (this was in the Withdrawal Agreement). In the event that progress is not made, the EU27 and the UK will revert to No Deal. [The Withdrawal Agreement includes an option to extend the transition period for 1-2 years.]

Please note, the Brexit Notices issued by the EU27 and the UK in 2018 and 2019 set out the arrangements that would have applied in 2019 if the Withdrawal Agreement was not agreed (No Deal). The Withdrawal Agreement having been agreed, connectivity, on for the most part the same basis as before, is provided to the end of the transition period (Dec 2020) – the period we are in at the moment.

The 2018/2019 Brexit Notices now apply to No (EU-UK relations) Deal from 1st January 2021. Some updates, notably to processes, documents and dates, are included (as you will have been noticing as I have been posting on this blog).

Whilst it is envisaged that a basic level of travel connectivity will continue after end Dec, organisations and individuals wherever located should now prepare for the new arrangements, tariffs etc, between the EU27 and the UK, that will apply from 1st January 2021. This Blog does not notify on customs, VAT or tariffs, it is focused on ENV and OHS related regulatory matters.

Please keep following this Blog, as further details of the arrangements that will apply for ENV and OHS related regulatory matters from 1st January 2021, are published.

Please note, we expect to meet the deadline for supply of the necessary new UK Registers & Checklists (in all regional variants) by 1st January 2021.

Subscribers will note that provision is already starting to appear on their existing websites.

EU Law in UK 2021 (UK Brexit)

I am being asked about 2019 dated EU Law and its application to or implementation in the UK from 1st January 2021. For example,

* 2019 amendments to the Carcinogens Directive

* 2019 Single-Use Plastics Directive

* 2019 Explosives Precursors Regulation

UK (EU Exit) Statutory Instruments (regulations) and sections of Brexit Bills make changes to the existing statute base, and adopt EU Regulations (not Directives), to enable a standalone statute base as at the end of the Transition Period. This work project can be followed in the supplied Brexit Law List and the Brexit Consolidated Law List.

From 1st January 2021, we will reflect this in the content and the changed structure of the Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists for GB systems. Retained EU Law (labelled Brexit Retained EU Law) will replace EU Law at the head of the Registers.

EU Law (applying in EU27) will still be supplied, but it will be found at the base of the Registers, below Regulatory Guidance.

The Checklists and Summaries will be adjusted.

The systems for individual EU27 countries are unaffected, obviously, their content and Register layout will stay as is.

Northern Ireland is a special case, some EU laws (covered by the Withdrawal Agreement) will continue to show at the head of the Registers (a second category labelled Withdrawal Agreement EU Law), the rest will show, as for GB Registers, at the base of the Registers. The Checklists and Summaries will be adjusted.

We are working to a deadline of 31st December 2020 for this system content and Register layout change, and the system navigation is already altered to provide for it.

From 1st January 2021, if a 2019 EU Law is mirrored in GB (Withdrawal Agreement listed Goods EU Law will be mirrored in Northern Ireland), this will be via enactment of new UK/GB Law. Such new UK/GB law will appear in the normal centre of the Registers, and be Email Alerted in the normal way.

From 1st January 2021, GB system Email Alerts will focus on UK/GB Law.

Northern Ireland system Email Alerts will include Listed Withdrawal Agreement Goods EU Law.

EU27 system Email Alerts will continue as is.

This Blog will continue to be used for heads-up, including EU Law more widely, as it is used by all subscribers.

Regulatory Support will continue to handle all enquiries, irrespective of the category of law.

Import Controls (UK Brexit)

From 1st January 2021, import controls will apply for EU goods entering Britain.

The Withdrawal Agreement Protocol will apply to trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Business is directed to prepare for border controls by making sure it has an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, and also looking into how declarations should be made, such as by using a customs agent.

The UK Government will ensure facilitations currently available to rest of the world traders will also be open to those trading between GB and EU.

The press announcement is here.