The United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, if the Withdrawal Agreement1 is not ratified, the Unions’ primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019 (‘the withdrawal date’). The United Kingdom will then become a third country.
Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code (UCC), in consistency with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), delegates to the Commission the power to supplement certain non-essential elements of the UCC, in accordance with Article 290 TFEU. The Commission has therefore exercised these powers by adopting on 28 July 2015, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards detailed rules concerning certain provisions of the Union Customs Code. This Commission Delegated Regulation established provisions of general application to supplement the Code in accordance with the Commission’s delegated powers and with a view to ensuring a clear and proper application of the UCC.
In case the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified, as of the withdrawal date, goods arriving in the customs territory of the Union from the United Kingdom will be subject to the obligation to lodge an entry summary declaration and goods leaving the customs territory of the Union for a destination in the United Kingdom will be subject to the obligation to lodge a predeparture declaration. Those declarations are to be lodged within a time-limit that provides for sufficient time for Member States’ customs administrations to carry out proper risk analysis for security and safety purposes prior to the arrival of the goods and prior to the departure of the goods, respectively, without causing major disruption in the logistical flows and processes of economic operators.
Currently, in accordance with Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446, specific time-limits are laid down for the lodging of entry summary declarations or pre-departure declarations for cargo movements between the customs territory of the Union and any port on the North Sea. Once the United Kingdom has become a third country, the same time-limits should apply for those purposes for goods transported by sea arriving from or leaving for ports of the United Kingdom which are not located on the North Sea. Therefore, this delegated act extends the application of the time-limits laid down for the North Sea ports to all ports of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The Commission Communication on ‘Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan’ has set out the contingency measures it plans to take for the case that no withdrawal agreement will enter into force on the withdrawal date. In that Communication, the Commission listed the actions it considered necessary while recalling that additional actions may be necessary at a later stage.
The European Council (Article 50) reiterated its call, on 13 December 2018, for work on preparedness at all levels for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal to be intensified, taking into account all possible outcomes. This act is part of a package of measures which the Commission is adopting in response to this call.