On 31 January 2020 at 23:00, the UK officially exits the European Union. For years there has been information and speculation about what this would entail and what the effect of this would be, but in this article, we briefly look at what this means for the commercial vehicle sector and what you can expect to happen next.
What governs the exit?
The UK’s initial exit is governed by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, which received final backing from MPs on 9 January 2020. This is the piece of legislation that implements the treaty between the EU and the UK (also known as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement), signed on 24 January 2020 ratified by the United Kingdom on 23 January 2020, and the European Parliament on 29 January 2020. The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms upon which the UK is leaving the EU for the period between the UK’s exit on 31 January 2020 and the complete break following trade negotiations between the two entities on 31 December 2020 (also known as the Transition Period).
The relationship after the Transition Period may be governed by Free Trade Agreement(s) (FTA) that is agreed during that transition period, if any FTA is agreed at all.
If there is no FTA or instrument in place after the Transition Period, then the previously identified implications of a “No Deal” Brexit will need to be considered.
What can I expect to happen now?
During the Transition Period there will be little change to the relationship between the UK and the EU. Although some member states may behave otherwise. The EU and the UK are likely to prioritise agreeing an FTA though.
Generally, therefore, this means that there are no changes as such to what is required as regards your operator’s licence.
If you operate commercial vehicles, you should have already registered your trailers which are over 750kg gross weight and all trailers over 3,500kg gross weight before towing them through some European countries.
Freedom of movement will continue to apply during the Transition Period, so UK nationals will still be able to live and work in the EU and this is the same for EU nationals who work and live in the UK.
The UK will have to continue to follow EU rules during the Transition Period and the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes. The UK must also continue to pay into the EU.
The UK will be able to speak to countries around the world about setting new rules for buying and selling goods and services.
Your passport is likely to turn blue when you next renew it, a little like the old passports from 30 years ago though not that size we suspect! You may see a few “Brexit” coins in circulation and all of our MEPs will return home from the EU.
What do we think might happen after the Transition Period?
What happens after the Transition Period will depend on what is negotiated as part of an FTA or if an FTA is agreed at all. There may be a number of specific FTAs for specific goods and services rather than one over-arching agreement, it is all down to the negotiations. However, below is our view on a number of key areas, subject to what may be agreed in any FTA:
If you would like any advice on matters raised in this article, please contact a member of our regulatory team on 01254 828300.