The EU and UK negotiating teams have completed the text of a draft Withdrawal Agreement setting out the terms for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The text was approved by the leaders of the EU-27 member states at a European Council summit held on November 25.

It still needs to be approved by the:

  • House of Commons (the UK Parliament), and
  • European Parliament.

Subject to ratification the Withdrawal Agreement envisages that:

  • the UK would withdraw from the EU on March 30, 2019
  • EU law would continue to apply during a “transition or implementation period” This transition would end on December 31, 2020 unless extended
  • a Future Relationship Agreement – which remains to be negotiated after the withdrawal – would come into effect at the end of the transition period.

In practical terms this would mean that with effect, from March 30, 2019, the UK will “…not act as leading authority for risk assessments, examinations, approvals or authorisations at the level of the Union or at the level of Member States acting jointly…”as referred to in a list of EU acts on:

  • Biocides
  • Chemicals (REACH)
  • Classification Labelling and Packaging of chemicals
  • Genetically Modified Organisms and GM food and feed
  • Invasive alien species
  • Organic product imports
  • Plant Protection Products and their MRLs
  • Plant variety rights

The UK will cease to (i) play a decision-making role in, or (ii) participate in key decision-making bodies. This is significant because the UK has always played an important role in contributing to the work of EU bodies and agencies such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and has also carried a significant portion of the work as an evaluating authority under various regimes in the Environment and Life Sciences sector.

This means, in particular, that ongoing work will have to be transferred to EU-27 member states. The Withdrawal Agreement expressly envisages the transfer of files and documents relating to ongoing procedures in relation to “assessments, approvals and authorisations ongoing on the day before the date of entry into force” of the Agreement, which were “led by a United Kingdom competent authority”, under the Biocidal Products Regulation and the Plant Protection Products Regulation.

If you would like to discuss this issue further or ways Kerona may be able to assist your preparations for Brexit, please email us at info@kerona.ie or contact us on +353 1 849 5284.