France Is Preparing For A No-Deal Brexit. Isn't It Too Late Already?

Author:Mr Jean-Luc Soulier
Profession:Soulier Avocats

In a previous article entitled " Brexit: Troubled negotiations failed. What next?", I mentioned the forthcoming adoption of several Ordinances in furtherance of the so-called Enabling Law of January 19, 2019 that authorized the French Government "to take measures by way of Ordinances to prepare for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union". Since then, six Ordinances were signed between January 23 and February 13, 2019 which underline the urgency and the dangers of a no-deal Brexit, the consequences of which have not be sufficiently anticipated upstream.

The fast-track procedure launched by the French Government even before the vote of the British Parliament that rejected the withdrawal agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union made it possible to adopt within an extremely short timeframe these first Ordinances intended to address the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

In the aforementioned article, I anticipated three scenarios that could prevent or delay the entry into force of Brexit. Following the new setback suffered by Theresa May on February 14, 2019 before the House of Commons, the no-deal Brexit scenario seems the most probable one. It could materialize as early as on March 29, 2019 at midnight, as per the terms of Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, or a few weeks later should the European Council unanimously decide to extend this deadline in order to allow the United Kingdom and the 27 EU Member States more time to adopt the legal and regulatory measures that are vital to avoid a too chaotic post-Brexit situation.

If an extension of time is granted, the deadline should not, however, be set after May 23, 2019, date of the next elections to the European Parliament. It would indeed make no sense to have the United Kingdom take part in these elections to exit the European Union a few weeks later.

The first Ordinance dated January 23, 2019 aims at enabling the rapid launch of works of utmost urgency necessary for the restoration of customs, sanitary, phytosanitary and police controls at the borders between France and the United Kingdom. Its objective is to accelerate procedures for the delivery of environmental, urban planning and real estate authorizations and permits required for the construction of buildings and infrastructures that will need to be operational upon the restoration of border checks "in order to ensure the seamless flow of goods and people".

To put it bluntly...

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