Update - March 29th, 2019
Last week, the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) reached an agreement on a postponement of the Brexit after ample discussions. As a result, the Brexit will not occur on Friday, March 29, 2019 as originally planned.
Actually today, March 29th, 2019, on the day the UK was due to leave the EU, MPs will have a third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement - the legally binding document that sets out the terms of the UK's departure from the EU. This includes a settlement, details of a transition period for after the UK leaves and protections for citizens' rights. It also includes the controversial backstop, or the insurance policy that aims to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.
On March 12th, the revised Withdrawal Agreement between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU was rejected by a large margin in the UK Members of Parliament (MPs). On March 13th, the UK Parliament also rejected the option of a no-deal Brexit.
On March 14th, the UK Parliament voted against the proposed attempt to deploy a second referendum on the matter, and voted with a majority for Prime Minister May to reach out to the EU and ask for a delay to Brexit to June 30th.
During last week's summit on March 20th and 21st, the EU agreed to May's request to extend the Brexit date, but not until June 30th. Instead, the EU leaders offered the UK two new dates:
- A delay until May 22nd, 2019, if the MPs approve the Withdrawal Deal in a new third vote;
- A shorter delay until April 12th, 2019, if they reject it. By that time, the UK must set out its next steps - either requesting another extension, or leaving without a deal.
When the UK Parliament approves the EU-UK deal before April 12th, the UK with leave the EU on March 22nd with a soft Brexit and a transition period will begin.
If the deal gets rejected once again, the UK needs to come with an alternative suggestion - when they fail to do so, it could mean that a hard Brexit will occur on April 12th, 2019. When an alternative plan is presented, it is to be expected that the UK will leave the EU on May 22nd, 2019, just before the elections for EU Parliament on May 23rd.
What does this mean for your studies in the UK?
Until April 12th, we expect that it is "business as usual" and that supplies to be imported into the UK, and samples to be exported from the UK, can be shipped without delay or without customs involvement. There is no need for the investigator sites to use a customs invoice or for our couriers to ship samples using an air service.
For the impact after April 12th, we are depending on the UK Parliament to do one of the following:
- Approve the deal with the EU
- Provide an alternative plan
- Accept a no-deal hard Brexit
Based on the outcome of the UK Parliament votes, we will continue to share additional updates.
The information and recommendations provided in this blog post are intended as an overview and outline of the matters covered in it. It does not provide legally binding advice. This information is subject to change to reflect the outcome of future Brexit negotiations and agreements, and will be updated regularly. Eurofins Central Laboratory BV shall not be liable for any loss, damage, cost, or expense incurred by any person or Client relying on such information or document in any way.