On June 12, and ahead of the European Council meeting on June 20 and 21, the European Commission (EC) adopted a fifth Brexit Preparedness Communication, taking stock of the European Union’s preparations and contingency measures if the United Kingdom exits the European Union without a deal or an implementation period (No-Deal Brexit).

In its Fifth Communication the EC reiterates that, in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the European Union would not consider discussing a future relationship with the United Kingdom unless the United Kingdom addressed three main separation issues: citizens’ rights, the United Kingdom’s financial commitments made as a member state, preserving the Good Friday Agreement and peace on the island of Ireland, and preserving the integrity of the single market.

The Fifth Communication also summarizes the No-Deal Brexit preparedness measures taken by the EC since it started planning for such a scenario in December 2017.   These include tabling 19 legislative proposals, adopting 63 non-legislative acts and publishing 93 preparedness notices. The EC concludes that these remain fit for purpose and that the remaining EU member states (EU27) are well prepared. The EC does not plan any new measures ahead of the United Kingdom’s new date of withdrawal from the EU (Brexit).

However, the EC’s Fifth Communication focuses on areas in which continued and particular vigilance is needed over the next few months, i.e., citizens’ residence and social security entitlements; medicinal products, medical devices and chemical substances; customs, indirect taxation and border posts; transport; fishing and financial services. Of particular concern is the preparedness of some financial services companies.

The EC believes that the scenario of a No-Deal Brexit remains a possible, but undesirable, outcome, as it could cause significant disruption for EU citizens and businesses, and would have a significantly greater negative economic impact on the United Kingdom than on the EU27. Therefore, it urges all stakeholders to take advantage of the extra time provided by extending Brexit to October 31 to ensure that they have taken all necessary measures to prepare for Brexit.

The EC’s press release is available here.

The EC’s Fifth Communication is available here.