Prepared for any eventuality – how the German Government is getting ready for Brexit

The German Government is working hard to prepare for Brexit and making arrangements for all possible scenarios.

The German Government is working hard to prepare for Brexit and making arrangements for all possible scenarios., © SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

04.04.2019 - Article

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU requires a high level of legal and political disengagement at European level and in the Member States.

Background information about Brexit:

Withdrawal Agreement

At the end of November 2018, the Withdrawal Agreement and a Political Declaration on future relations were endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the EU27 as well as the British Government.

If it is ratified by both parliaments, it will enter into force with a transition period until 31 December 2020, which can be extended once until the end of 2022 at the latest, thus cushioning the impact of Brexit. Although the UK would no longer be a member of the EU or represented in EU institutions during this time, it would remain bound to EU regulations. Future relations between the EU and the UK would be negotiated during the transition period and enter into force after the end of this period.

For further information on the Agreement reached, please click here.

Withdrawal without an agreement (”no deal“)

Should the Withdrawal Agreement be brought before the House of Commons once more and Parliament approves it, the UK’s membership would be extended for a short period until 22 May 2019 in order to carry out the technical implementation of the Agreement. If this does not happen, under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union the UK’s membership would end after a short extension on 12 April 2019, should the British Government take no further steps. The UK would then be a third country as regards the EU, and the EU acquis would no longer apply to it.

Although it is a clear priority for the German Government that the Agreement enter into force, in the light of the political uncertainties in the UK it cannot be ruled out that the UK will leave the EU without an agreement. The German Government is thus focusing on this case of an unregulated or disorderly Brexit. It is a matter of great importance to the German Government that the negative impact be cushioned as much as possible for those affected by Brexit.

That is why it is particularly important that all members of the public and companies in Germany affected by Brexit keep themselves informed about what will happen. All of them should prepare thoroughly and in good time for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Federal Foreign Office is coordinating the German Government’s preparations

As the lead ministry, the Federal Foreign Office is coordinating preparations for Brexit in Germany, liaising closely with all other federal ministries and the Federal Chancellery. The German Government is prepared for all possible eventualities.

It is liaising closely with the European Commission and the EU27 (the EU Member States excluding the UK) because the measures at EU level and in the Member States must be dovetailed.

The German Government is also in regular contact with the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat. It is communicating extensively with the Länder. To ensure that Brexit planning is coordinated within the German federal system, it is essential to include the Länder and their administrative regions in the preparations.

Furthermore, the German Government maintains close dialogue with civil society, representatives of members of the public affected by Brexit, scientific organisations and members of the business community. It keeps all those affected up to date with progress in the negotiations and possible consequences arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

What would happen in the case of a disorderly withdrawal?

Brexit may have an impact on people’s plans for their personal and professional lives, particularly if the withdrawal is disorderly. The German Government has undertaken a host of measures at various levels for this case in order to cushion the possible effects as much as possible. 

The German Government’s contingency plan is clearly defined

The German Government has adopted a series of measures for the case of a disorderly Brexit. These measures are clearly defined:

  • They have been drawn up as transition or emergency measures, are of a temporary nature only and are defined as narrowly as possible in terms of their field of application.
  • The aim is to cushion undue hardship and in certain narrowly defined cases to protect the principle of good faith.
  • As far as possible, they will deflect disadvantages for German and EU27 nationals and companies.
  • The idea is to clearly delineate the difference between EU membership and non-membership.
  • Finally, they are to fundamentally remain unilateral. It is not in the interest of the German Government to conduct negotiations with the UK on individual regulatory areas that would lead to a ”Brexit à la carte« .


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