The Brexit Readiness Action Plan, published by the Government on 9th September, sets out the steps that businesses and individuals need to take now, to be ready for the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.
The EU and the UK are currently negotiating a future partnership agreement. The EU’s approach to the negotiations is underpinned by the Political Declaration signed by the EU and UK in October, 2019. The Declaration set out the parameters for an 'ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation with a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at its core'.
One of the key issues addressed in the Political Declaration is the need for a strong level playing field, to ensure fair and open competition and to prevent businesses gaining an uncompetitive advantage by diminishing important protections of workers and the environment – an important element of any deal given the geographic closeness and interconnected nature of the EU and UK economies.
To date, the EU and UK have completed seven formal rounds of negotiations and progress has been disappointing.
Given the limited progress we have seen to date, the Government decided on 29 May 2020 to intensify its readiness work on the basis of two scenarios:
While Ireland still supports the closest possible relationship between the EU and UK, prudence dictates that we approach our readiness planning on this basis.
With less than four months until the end of transition, it is vital that government, business and citizens understand the changes that will arise and take steps now to mitigate the risks. Both scenarios will raise many, although not all, of the risks which arose in the No Deal planning undertaken last year, ahead of the Withdrawal Agreement being concluded.