European Parliament Committee Publishes Study on the Legal Implications of Brexit

by Orrick - Structured Finance Group
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[author: Max Iles]
 

On August 9, 2017, a policy department of the European Parliament (“EP“) published a Study requested by the EP’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (“IMCP“) on the “Legal Implications of Brexit: Customs Union, Internal Market Acquis for Goods and Services, Consumer Protection Law, Public Procurement“.

The Study categorizes the EU legal framework for the different stages of the withdrawal of a member state from the EU, namely:

  • Substantive legal obligations arising from Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union concerning withdrawal from the EU resulting in a withdrawal agreement.
  • The legal nature and scope of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
  • Possible transitional arrangements.
  • Implications of that future relationship for EU Internal Market law, particularly those policy areas covered by the IMCO Committee.

The Study emphasizes that there are significant limitations to its analysis owing to the fact there are still many major policy choices left to be made by the EU and the UK even before they start being negotiated. The main purpose of the study, therefore, is to provide an analytical framework for assessing the legal impact of different Brexit scenarios.

Scenarios for the Future EU-UK Relationship: The Study analyzes different scenarios of the UK withdrawing from the EU in relation to the EU Customs Union, the Internal Market law for Goods and Services, and on Consumer Protection law.

It takes fully-fledged EU membership as the baseline scenario and compares it to three other scenarios and assesses the legal implications of each scenario:

  • UK membership of European Economic Area (“EEA“).
  • A tailor-made free trade arrangement between the UK and EU.
  • WTO law governing relations between the UK and EU (the fall-back scenario).

Impact of a Scenario on EU Policy Areas: The Study also develops an analytical framework for identifying the legal impact of different Brexit scenarios on IMCO Committee policy fields, including proposing a two-step test.

Finally, it applies that test to the various Brexit scenarios on key EU laws in IMCO Committee policy areas and reaches some tentative conclusions on the likely impact, particularly for:

  • Consumer protection: relatively limited impact.
  • Policy areas involving standards, such as product safety: significant impact.
  • Goods: significant impact.

The Study is available here.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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