Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach
Ahead of the European Council (Article 50) today, the European Commission has taken stock of the European Union's intense ‘no-deal' preparations and has issued practical guidance to Member States in 5 areas: citizens' residence and social security entitlements, data protection, medicine and medical devices, police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and fisheries.
Guidance in 5 areas
1.Citizens' residence and social security entitlements
The European Commission has consistently made clear that protecting the rights of UK citizens in the EU in a ‘no-deal' scenario is a priority and that Member States should adopt a generous approach with regards to their rights. The UK is expected to reciprocate this approach. The EU27 Member States have prepared national contingency measures to ensure continued legal residence in the immediate aftermath of a ‘no-deal' scenario for UK citizens residing legally in the EU27. Today's guidance provides an overview of the EU's contingency measures, notably the contingency Regulation on Social Security Coordination.
2.Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters
In a ‘no-deal' scenario, the EU's legal framework on police and judicial cooperation would cease to apply to the UK. Cooperation with the UK will therefore have to be based on alternative legal frameworks and cooperation mechanisms, based on international and national law.
Today's guidance outlines the relevant fall-back instruments that the EU and its Member States can rely on to ensure that law enforcement and judicial cooperation can continue in order to guarantee a continued high level of security for citizens.
3.Medicinal products and medical devices
The medical sector has been a priority of the Commission's preparedness work from the very beginning, with guidance being issued already in July 2017. Thanks to preparedness measures, the majority of medicinal products concerned by the UK's withdrawal should now be compliant with EU legislation as of the UK's withdrawal date. It is possible, however, that despite best efforts some medicinal products and medical devices may not be compliant in time. There is, therefore, a risk of shortages if economic operators do not act swiftly to remedy the situation.
Today's guidance highlights how the Commission will work with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and national medicines regulators to monitor the situation closely and address any potential problems.
As stated in the Commission's preparedness Communication of 13 November, the Commission considers that the existing tools under the General Data Protection Regulation for data exchange with third countries are sufficient to cater for the immediate needs of data transfers to the UK in a ‘no-deal' scenario. Today's guidance provides details on these tools, the well-defined conditions for making use of derogations, as well as on the practical steps that EU companies and authorities will have to take to ensure continued compliance with the EU's data protection rules.
The EU has adopted two contingency measures in the area of fisheries to cover all scenarios under a ‘no-deal' Brexit. On the one hand, the EU has created the appropriate legal framework to allow UK vessels reciprocal access to EU waters throughout 2019, if the UK grants such access to EU vessels in its waters. On the other hand, the EU has also adjusted the eligibility criteria of the Fisheries and Maritime Fund, to ensure that fishermen who have to cease their activities - in case the UK does not grant continued access to its waters - can receive compensation. In such a case, it would be essential that Member States adopt a coordinated approach to ensure a level-playing field between EU fishermen in different Member States and to protect marine resources.
Today's guidance provides details on such a coordinated approach.
Commission renews term of Chair and Members of the European Fiscal Board
The Commission has decided to renew the terms of the Chair - Mr Niels Thygesen - and four Members - Mr Roel Beetsma, Mr Massimo Bordignon, Ms Sandrine Duchêne and Mr Mateusz Szczurek - of the European Fiscal Board for a second three-year period starting on 19 October 2019.
This decision follows the consultation of the National Fiscal Councils, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup Working Group. The European Fiscal Board is an independent body mandated to advise the European Commission on the overall direction of fiscal policy of the euro area and to evaluate how the EU fiscal governance framework is implemented. The Board was set up following the Five Presidents' Report: Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union of June 2015, with the aim to strengthen the current economic governance framework. It began operating shortly after its members were appointed in October 2016.
For more information: what should I do in a ‘no-deal' scenario?
To know more about how to prepare for a ‘no-deal' scenario, EU citizens can contact Europe Direct for any questions. Call Freephone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 from anywhere in the EU, in any official EU language (see factsheet here).
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