The European Council has repeatedly, most recently in its conclusions of June 2018, called on the member states, the EU institutions and all stakeholders to step up their efforts to ensure they are prepared at all levels and for all possible outcomes. The German government takes these preparations very seriously: since summer 2016, it has been taking precautions for all withdrawal scenarios, including the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. The German government is adopting a two-pronged strategy. First, there is a need for domestic legislation to deal with the withdrawal and administrative issues – for example increasing staffing levels within the customs administration. Second, it is taking action in other areas, such as ongoing dialogue with industry and civil society.
Similar to the European Commission’s approach, the government is distinguishing between three categories of legislation that is likely to be necessary:
- Legislative initiatives that will be necessary regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations;
- Legislative initiatives to prepare for a possible transition phase on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement;
- Legislative proposals which depend on the regulatory scope of the Withdrawal Agreement and on the negotiations on the framework for the future relationship, and possibly also on legislators’ intentions.
Furthermore, the German government has also been in engaging in intense dialogue with the German Bundestag, the Bundesrat, civil society, academia and industry since the Brexit referendum, keeping them up to date about the progress of negotiations and the potential consequences of the UK leaving the EU. Representatives of the German government regularly meet with industry associations and companies for individual and group discussions. As part of this dialogue, the government constantly emphasises that all companies and members of the public in Germany who are affected by Brexit should keep up to date on the implications Brexit may have for them. The German government appeals to all those affected to take the necessary measures in time for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU at the end of March 2019.
The following websites provide key information about Brexit and about the preparations that are important to make:
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has comprehensive information for businesses on its website, including a Brexit FAQ. In addition, citizens and businesses can contact the Economics Ministry directly with questions about Brexit, either by telephone (+49 (0) 30 340 6065 61) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, offers an update on the Brexit situation, with links to key information sources.
The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) answers frequently asked questions on Brexit. The information is particularly relevant for UK banks and insurers that would like to open branches or establish subsidiaries in Germany, as well as providers and issuers of securities.
The Deutsche Bundesbank provides information relating to banking supervision, i.e. for financial institutions that may want to reconsider their location strategy. The Bundesbank has also set up a dedicated phone number (+49 (0) 69 9566 7372) and e-mail address (Brexit@bundesbank.de) for financial institutions affected by Brexit.
At the European level, the European Central Bank is committed to providing information to banks and interested parties about its supervisory expectations. A dedicated page on relocation to the euro area answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the ECB’s role in supervising euro area banks.
The German customs administration provides Brexit-related information regarding legal repercussions in the context of the enforcement of intellectual property rights and the necessary customs measures.
With regard to chemicals legislation, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published comprehensive information on the impact of Brexit in this area, in particular on the EU's REACH regulation.
A number of professional organisations in Germany have given advice regarding the UK's withdrawal and related issues. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has published extensive information on the consequences of Brexit for business.
The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) has developed a “Brexit checklist” tool which allows users to create their personal checklist as a PDF file.
In the area of financial services, many industry associations have prepared comprehensive information relating to their respective sector. For example, the German Insurance Association has published a position paper on future economic relations between the EU and the UK.
With regard to human medicines, the German licensing authorities (the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut) both provide information on the impact of Brexit on pharmaceutical companies.
At the European level, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) provides guidance to help pharmaceutical companies responsible for both human and veterinary medicines prepare for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.