The EU has been patiently spelling out the consequences of the choice made by the 52% for the UK to leave the EU. They have been doing this in a sector by sector way, with short readable documents pointing at the changes that must happen if we are no longer to be a member state. There are 68 such documents so far. I will maintain this list and add new ones to the top, it isn’t in any overall specific order.
They are all available on the EU website in the list of preparedness documents and they crop up elsewhere on sector relevant pages, such as the one where it is pointed out that a bunch of things we export now will require an import license after Brexit.
As the EU website is a bit slow and opening many PDF files is a bit of a pain, I have done a super short summary for each, detailing who is screwed, and how badly I think they are screwed on a scale of ? ? ? or in some cases ?. For some, like the one on trade marks we will be falling out of EU regulation but we don’t fall far because we land on various international protections. It is objectively worse, but we will get over it, it is fine ?. For the one relating to medicines approval, people will die as a result, so that gets a ?. Isn’t Brexit a laugh.
I have very probably misunderstood quite a few of these and made errors, let me know in the comments and I will correct them. I am just one regular guy, and a lot of these are well outside my comfort zone, but no professional journalists seem to have made an effort to examine them en mass so someone had to.
- Professional Qualifications
First we need to understand what a regulated profession is. There is an EU database showing what professions are regulated in different countries, the UK list of regulated professions runs to 216 entries from Actuary to Waste disposal manager. If you have a professional qualification that legally allows you to hold one of those jobs in the UK it will no longer be recognised across the EU27. We don’t know whether EU27 qualifications will be recognised in the UK, but the principle of retained EU law suggests that they should be. Part 2 I think is quite good, if a decision on recognition of a qualification has been taken before the withdrawal date then that decision is not affected by withdrawal. In plain language I think this means that if you are a UK national in a regulated job in the EU27 then you can keep your job – the decision to recognise your qualification stands. If you leave that job you just can’t get a new one in a member state using your UK qualification – that would require a new decision to recognise the qualification. I think this affects a limited number of people and they will have strategies to mitigate the problem (requalify in a member state) so this only gets a ? it is time and effort and money, but nobody gets hurt, or loses a job that they currently hold.
- Clinical Trials
It is going to get a lot harder to lead clinical trials from the UK if they are to go across other member states. This is unsurprising, and something that people should have been expecting when they voted for Brexit. This probably doesn’t stop that much from actually happening, we can still do trials within the UK and we can participate in cross-country trials, but they will be supervised from a member state. It isn’t great, but patient safety will be maintained ?
- Maritime and Aviation Safety
If you are on a connecting flight in the EU — perhaps going via Charles de Gaulle or Schipol then you and your bags are going to be unloaded and re-scanned to EU standards. This appears to be rather pointless as we do security to a high standard and they point out several times that this can be fixed by the stroke of a commission pen: “This would no longer apply should the United Kingdom at one point be listed in attachment 3-B of the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1998.” This appears to be something that will be resolved quite simply if we settle our financial commitments.
On the Maritime security, scheduled ferries to France, Ireland and the Netherlands will no longer be exempt from declaring security information on entering ports, they have to do the same as an unscheduled cruise ship would do. The security information can only be done by an EU27 national, so that might be annoying. This gets a ? because nobody gets hurt, it is just annoying and stupid.
- Industrial Safety
This one is a bit confusing. It mentions Euratom a lot, so it is probably about Nuclear power stations. Suffice to say, if you are a UK company securing EU27 nukes, you might want to reconsider your life choices. This involves nukes, but only gets a ? because I have no idea if this ever happens.
- Rules of Origin
Fairly obvious consequence of Brexit, UK content in products no longer counts as EU content. EU 27 operators intending to take advantage of preferences are advised to:
“treat any United Kingdom inputs as ‘non-originating’ when determining the EU preferential origin of their goods;”
So, this means that EU27 exporters with UK components in their products might want to think carefully about whether they still meet the criteria for efficient exports. If we make parts for products that are close to the limit then the manufacturer might switch to an EU27 supplier. Could be a big deal and involve loss of business so lets give it a ? There are possible gains from UK supply chains switching to UK suppliers to meet whatever levels are required for preferences when we start doing FTAs.
- Customs enforcement of intellectual property rights
You can ask customs to seize and destroy stuff coming into the union that violates your copyrights. So if some cheap knockoff of your product is coming in from the far east you can get customs to deal with the fakes. After Brexit we won’t be able to stop knockoffs of our products getting into the EU quite so easily (not impossible) There are some hugely complicated sentences on page 2 around existing requests to customs. This doesn’t just apply to branded clothing, it can be everything including industrial products and car components. It isn’t great for UK businesses, however I don’t think anyone is in serious trouble ?
- Marketing authorisation holders of centrally authorised medicinal products for human and veterinary use
To sell drugs in the EU (legitimate drugs that is) you need to have a marketing authorisation holder. That person has to be in the EU, and right now, many pharmaceutical companies in the UK have their marketing authorisation in the UK. Some activities like pharmacovigilance and batch release have to happen in the union. In this document the EU is suggesting the industry transfers things into the EU in time for Brexit. I would imagine that the companies concerned will have EU27 subsidiaries and it would be possible to get relevant staff to relocate so this gets a ?. If I am wrong about that it means that medicines will be taken off the market while this is sorted, which might be a bit of a ? depending on what the particular medicine is for.
- Trade Marks
Anyone holding a trademark or working at a brand that sells into Europe may find enforcing the trademark against violations is harder. ?
- Medicinal products for human and veterinary use.
Lets start by giving this one a ? because any problems with medicinal product authorisation is gonna be bad for someone. If you are marketing these products in the EU27 you need a marketing authorisation holder in the Union. Pharmaceutical companies can probably sort this out — they tend to be big enough, but it might be the case that if marketing moves to the EU27 access to new medicines in the UK might be disrupted.
- Guarantees of origin of electricity from renewable energy sources
UK certifications of installers of fancy technology like geothermal pumps and photovoltaics are going to be invalid in the EU ?. Some of this is going to be quite annoying for the all-island electricity market in Ireland so it gets a ? for that aspect.
- Electronic commerce and net neutrality
yeah, this one is worse than it sounds. If you are providing information or ecommerce stuff, then you are subject to 27 sets of rules, dealing with each member state individually. ? Whether this would be practically enforced in any meaningful way is a little uncertain given the global nature of the internet.
- Electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions
This is to do with digital signatures and attestations. We should probably throw in a blockchain reference at this point to be on the safe side. If you are a trust service provider then you might want to think about moving. I don’t think this is a massive problem in practice ?
Ecommerce websites can screw you around based on your geographical location. You are no longer protected from it, but most shopping cart style sites wouldn’t do that. This probably applies more to streaming services where they can geoblock local content and restrict what you can view or listen to or read. Inconvenient and objectively worse for people, but nobody gets hurt ?
- Audiovisual media services
For broadcasters and content owners this is important, it relates to the country of origin and jurisdiction of the broadcast, and whether member states have to give the freedom to transmit. Some broadcasters may relocate or concentrate only on the domestic UK market ?
- Civil justice and private international law
Enforcing court orders made in the UK will be hard in the EU and vice versa, including family court orders. This is going to screw over any divorced “citizens of nowhere” with court orders around child custody and maintenance payment issues. This gets a ? because real families are going to suffer.
This covers a range of copyright issues, probably sucks to be blind and dependent on Braille or spoken works for accessibility as there are copyright provisions to enable that. Also covers collective rights management, broadcasting and sui generis database access ?
- Industrial products
For a heap of slightly special products (radio/cosmetics/pyrotechnics etc. etc.) you have to have an authorised representative, who must be based in the Union. Some products need to be certified by a notified body, which again must be in the EU27. This means quite a few companies are going to have a much harder time exporting and may need to relocate key staff into the EU27 ?
- Information and consultation of workers at transnational level
Something frightfully dull about trade unions. Corbyn would probably not like this, sounds like it is bad for workers rights. ?
- Electronic communications
This relates to radio spectrum allocation and mobile roaming. Lots going on here, and it will cause some big media companies to leave. ? That roam like you are at home thing is probably gone — phone companies can charge what they like for roaming from third countries.
- Security of network and information systems
If you are a digital service provider offering services into the union then you need a designated representative. This probably affects big content and streaming companies more than random small websites. ?
- .eu domain names
Sucks to be leave.eu because that domain name and all other .eu domains can only be held by people with an EU27 presence. If you stop meeting that condition the domain can be taken away. Just like that. ? Chances are they won’t bother proactively taking away domains already held unless someone else challenges the claim to the domain. Hmm, I might need to work on a plan to take away the leave.eu domain just for the giggles.
OK, straight to ? for this one, we are out of the common supply policy of fissile materials. Licensing of movements of hot radioactive waste gets a lot harder when it is a third country import or export. Not insurmountable problems if we remain a reputable country. “Failed state with nukes” isn’t a good look, so lets try and avoid that. ? As for the stuff in the newspapers about Euratom and cancer treatments, that is largely bullshit. The hot and fizzy stuff that we need to get fresh is tc-99m which is for diagnosis, not treatment.
- EU Ship Recycling Regulation
Ship recycling facilities in the UK are not going to be recycling any EU27 ships unless the commission list them as 3rd country facilities. I guess this is fairly big money ?
- customs and indirect taxation
This one is super important, it points out that the Authorised Economic Operators of the UK will no longer be AEOs and customs will need to enforce the union customs code at the border with the UK. VAT will also have to change, so no more EC Sales List etc. we won’t be in the EU VAT territory so all companies are going to have to take this into account. This is huge so gets a ?even though nobody dies directly from this.
- Aviation safety rules
This covers problems we will have with certifications of planes, pilots, cabin crew, maintenance and so on. If the certification isn’t right, the insurance isn’t right and the flight will not happen. This is a real possibility and gets a ? because it is going to be a right bugger to fix, especially if we are having a strop about paying the divorce bill.
- EU Ecolabel
UK manufacturers and international manufacturers currently getting EU Ecolabels on appliances from the UK competent body are going to have to transfer to an EU27 issuer. ?
- EU waste law
There are quite tight regulations on import and export of waste from the union, this is to stop dumping it on countries with poor environmental standards and to stop importing too much waste because, well, it is waste. This is going to be a pain if you are in that industry. I would imagine there are no bin collections that cross the Ireland border, that kind of thing doesn’t cross county boundaries so I doubt it crosses the border in Ireland. Probably not a huge problem in the main ?
- Asset Management
If you have a pension, it is probably in the hands of asset managers, who may find they can’t manage or market funds in the EU. This might be a bigger problem for EU27 people with assets under management but I am not sure. Big money, and it might delay people getting pension payments if it goes very wrong, so it gets a ?.
- Air transport
Airlines are going to be a bit screwed. Passengers and don’t forget cargo. There is a very real chance that for a period of time there will be no legal basis for planes to be in the air, which means they will not be insured which means the wheels will be firmly planted on the tarmac. When they do start up again cabotage flights are off the menu. That is important for the Irish airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair to be able to fly from Belfast to London and Manchester because that is an internal flight in a foreign country — even if some people don’t like to be reminded of that. Because air travel is how we fix things in a hurry and everything else will be broken at the same time, this gets a ?.
- Banking and payment services
Banks and payment processors with subsidiaries in the EU27 are going to have some extra hoops to jump through as they will be branches of a third country establishment. ?
- Breeding of animals
If you are into thoroughbred animals, including horses, then you might well be interested in this. There is big money in stud work and pedigree animals listed in breeding books. ?
- Credit rating agencies
This is about using credit ratings for regulatory purposes, such as things sovereigns are allowed to invest in I think. This might mean that some ratings agency activities leave the UK (Standard and Poor’s has a London office) and/or it might mean that institutional investors move money about because of ratings changes. ?
- Data protection
This references the GDPR but probably needs a post-GDPR update. There could well be an “adequacy decision” — especially if we don’t do anything unthinkably stupid like listen to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s advice and welch on the financial commitments. Failing that some activities that require data protection could continue on the basis of derrogations if the data controller has adequate safeguards. ?
- The exploitation and marketing of natural mineral waters
If you are the next Del Boy, exporting Peckam Spring water you might want to focus on the domestic market because you are not going to be exporting. UK springwater brands like Malvern water are not going to be exporting. I figured it might affect Northern Ireland, but when looking for an impacted brand I found this delightfully familiar story about Mourne water. ?
- Import/export licences for certain goods
Well this gets a ?because we step outside union law that stops us sending barbiturates to the USA if they might be used for the death penalty. Chances are the UK still won’t send Trump any lethal injections. It covers a heap of more interesting products that will need import/export licensing to cross the channel when it becomes an external border of the Union.
- Inland waterways
We are not going to be working on the rivers or lakes of the EU. Not entirely clear why we would be doing a lot of that. Maybe an issue for the waterways that make up a lot of the border with Ireland. ?
- Insurance / reinsurance
This is important for companies that provide insurance and people who have insurance. That might be for cars, planes, buildings, ships etc. If your insurance isn’t valid on a ship or plane that is a rather serious matter, so this gets a ? for the money and for the consequences of invalid insurance.
- Maritime transport
If you are in shipping this affects you. There is a bit on safety of fishing vessels, and how they are going to be a bit more controlled by member sates when fishing in their waters under a UK flag. Something to do with the Torremolinos Protocol whatever that is. ? This one also mentions cabotage, which is a word we need to use more.
- Marketing of seeds and other plant reproductive propagating material
If you export seeds to the EU27, now would be a good time to find a new job ?.
- Markets in financial instruments
This covers what happens if we don’t get a MIFID II equivalence decision. It involves lots of money in financial services, and is rather important for London, it describes how the current passport system for marketing financial services is not going to apply to us. Bit of a ? really.
- Post-trade financial services
This is something to do with derivatives and clearing. It involves massive amounts of money and gets a ? because London is going to struggle with this rather a lot as the EU27 financiers leave London and take the business with them.
- Public procurement
This is about the public sector putting things out to tender, many UK companies bid for public sector contracts across the EU27, but now we fall into the less advantageous rules as a third country tenderer. We could now be excluded from contracts where 50% of the deal isn’t from the EU27 or if it requires security clearance that won’t be recognised. On the flip side (kind of) we can make it harder for EU27 companies to bid on UK tenders but that means we may not be spending taxpayer money on the best value supplier.?
- Rail transport
This most obviously affects Eurotunnel and Eurostar, for certification of rolling stock and drivers. ?
- Road transport
Car drivers may require an international driving permit to assert that their UK licence is a valid 3rd country licence. This costs about £5.50 and probably will be required for most member states unless they change their own laws which will currently recognise licences of EEA member states without an IDP just like our laws do ?.
Commercial drivers are considerably more screwed, that is passenger vehicles and goods vehicles. To be a union operator you will need a transport manager in the EU27, otherwise you are a third country operator. That means you can’t do cabotage runs (not gonna explain that, look it up and use the word cabotage much much more) and if you do a lot of commercial transport in the EU27 you are going to have to seriously consider moving there. ?
- Statutory audit
If you are a UK auditor then you are not going to be auditing in the EU27, this will affect the big accountancy firms I think. If they send an audit team to cover a multinational then they might well not send a UK based team in any more. Sucks to be them, but great news if you are an EU27 based auditor. ?
- Substances of human origin (blood, tissues and cells, and organs)
I wrote to my MP about this one (article on that to follow), the trade in spare parts for humans is in quite a lot of bother. This is going to cause deaths so it gets a ? . The land border in Ireland is a very serious place where this will cause problems. Ambulances crossing the border with blood on board are going to be a problem and if you need a replacement second hand human component you might find it can’t be sourced from quite such a wide area.
- The Community Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
This is about certifying things to environmental standards, probably similar to ISO14001. If you are an EMAS auditor then you are not going to be one after Brexit. This probably also means if you are a company with a certification then you won’t have it any more. If you are in a supply chain that requires you to have this certification to be an approved supplier then you are gonna have a bad 2019. ?
- The European Citizens’ Initiative
Yeah, OK, this is the kind of thing the leavers hate about the EU the most. Direct democracy in the European context doesn’t play into the narrative of the “undemocratic EU” especially when it is the kind of democratic input where foreign people can join in too. Clearly we are out of all that, but it won’t do us much harm. ?
- type-approval of certain vehicles and engines
As far as I can make out this is about non-road mobile machinery, so that could be things like cherry pickers, construction machinery, chainsaw engines that kind of thing. As with all the other type approval problems, if you make this stuff you need an authorised representative in the EU27 if you want to sell there. ?
- type-approval of motor vehicles
UK approvals of motor vehicles (not just cars) are not going to be valid, they will need type approval in a member state and will need a marketing representative in the EU27. This is going to affect big companies and disproportionately hurt small ones like Morgan or JCB. This is on top of stepping outside the 10% CET levy on cars, so some might not bother to export any more and will just downsize. ?
- Union plant variety rights
I think this means that breeders of plants who are quite possessive about the intellectual property of the species they create though careful cross-pollination are going to have some issues. ?
- Animal feed
People selling animal feed or additives are going to need a representative in the EU27 as an authorisation holder. This probably isn’t going to stop animals being fed, so it gets a ?
- animal health and welfare and public health related to the movement of live animals
We step outside of a bunch of regulations on live animal transport. In fact, lets give up on it altogether. Not gonna happen. There is a pointer to a procedure for using the UK as a land bridge between Ireland and the rest of the EU27, but basically animal exports are over. ?
- Authorisations and certificates for live animal transport
If you drive live animals around then you need an EU27 certificate. This applies to lorry loads of animals as well as the Ireland situation of a couple of pigs going to market in a horsebox being towed by a muddy Landcruiser. ?
- Biocidal Products
If you are in the weedkiller business you probably need to be worried about this. Think we can be cautiously optimistic in general. ?
- Certificates of competence slaughterhouse operators
UK citizens working in EU27 slaughterhouses are going to need to recertify. I am sure this will be fine, if in fact there are any. More interestingly a lot of UK abattoirs are staffed by EU27 vets. Dunno how that is going to play out. ?
- Company law
All companies doing business in the EU are a bit screwed, the member states won’t recognise the limited liability protection of companies (that “ltd” bit after the company name is important) so shareholders may be held personally liable for company debts. This may mean that institutional shareholders get the hell out of UK companies ? branches of UK companies fall into different rules as the HQ would be in a third country, probably no big deal ?. Some stuff around mergers changes, that might be important to big city financier types ?.
- Consumer protection and passenger rights
We are going to have fewer legal avenues for enforcing rights as consumers, less automatic rights to compensation ?
- Fisheries and aquaculture
Access to Union waters and ports needs specific authorisation, along with exports. We do currently do quite a bit of fishing outside our own waters and we export most of what we catch. Our fishing industry is going to be quite badly screwed over by the problems of a Brexit they enthusiastically created, so they get a frowny face and a very small violin. ? ?
- Food Law
Exporters of food need to read this, they will be exports from a third country so the labeling requirements change among other things. This is perhaps a little academic as we won’t be exporting any food of animal origin without a competent authority and list of authorised establishments. As this contributes to the food shortages this gets a ?.
- Genetically Modified Food and Feed and the deliberate release of Genetically Modified Organisms into the environment
Not a big deal at the moment, bit of a shame if you are into GMO research, but it isn’t entirely clear whether the UK will get more or less receptive to GMO experiments after Brexit. Lets give this an optimistic ?
- Plant Health
This is about phytosanitary border controls which we will be stepping outside of. This could be a significant border issue. ?
At the moment any pallet will do for moving goods around, after Brexit everything will need to be on export grade pallets, with an ISPM15 stamp showing it has been heat treated for woodworm and other beasties. This is a little leaf/feather thing you will see on pallets if you keep your eyes open. This is going to be quite a big pain and the less we comply the more inspections will happen at the borders.
- Plant Protection Products
UK companies selling pesticides into the EU have to jump through a bunch of hoops around testing residue levels, and they can’t be done in a third country. We don’t know if the UK will recognise union certification of pesticides this is probably going to be sorted out by everyone filling more forms and spending more money, however if there is a politically caused pesticide shortage that could impact farming yields and lead to famine level food shortages. This one gets a ? just because there is potential for widescale deaths if the politicians are spectacularly incompetent.
- The minimum level of training of seafarers and the mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates
Sailors and other seafarers with a UK qualification won’t be working on EU27 flagged vessels and vice versa — not a huge problem, just recertify with an oral exam in an EU member state and pay a few hundred Euro for the certificate ? (£378 for one of the UK certificates I found, but it varies from deckhand to master or engineer etc.)
- Trade in protected species of wild fauna and flora
Import and export of protected species is going to be harder as a third country. No great surprise there. Bad if you are into that kind of thing, but I can’t imagine it is hugely significant in the big picture. ?
- medicinal products for human and veterinary use within the framework of the Centralised Procedure
Quite long! bit of a Q and A for the pharmaceutical industry. The industry will be much more dependent on contacts in the EU27 to market the products. Maybe some highly qualified people will have to leave the country to enable those companies to keep production in the UK ?.
- Illegal logging and associated trade
This seems to impose border controls on timber imports and exports to ensure it was legally logged. That could get annoying if it includes manufactured goods like wooden furniture. ?
- Supplementary protection certificates for medicinal products and plant protection products
Something to do with patents expiring or being renewed. Probably means more paperwork for someone, but patents can be evil so I will give it a ?
- Internal energy market
This is to do with some important stuff that keeps the lights on ? it covers the regulatory framework that governs the electricity interconnects (which were not around in 1973) and the gas pipelines and also something about prospecting for oil and gas.
- Occupational retirement provision
Pension funds paying out to EU27 citizens may have to transfer to an EU27 fund, this could move a fairly substantial amount of capital out of the UK. Some people may have issues getting their pension payments for a bit. ?