2019 could be Britain’s year in the EU, using our influence and strength to drive key initiatives helping the economy and consumers. But Britain could be left with no say on new rules from the EU during the Brexit transition phase set out in the withdrawal agreement - when the British government will lose all influence in EU decision-making but will be forced to adopt all new regulations under the terms of the deal.
During the transition period all EU rules will continue to apply to the UK as if it were a member state. Changes to EU laws and rules adopted by EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies during that period would also apply in the UK. All existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will also apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
However, under the Government’s plan for Brexit, the UK will no longer participate in the institutions and the decision-making of the EU.The UK will no longer attend meetings of Commission experts groups, committees or other similar entities where member states are represented. The UK may be invited to attend meetings, but will have no voting rights at all.
Research by People’s Vote has highlighted 10 vital EU initiatives the UK could help drive forwards in 2019, if we stay with our current deal as a member:
- Consumer protections and rights. The European Union will decide on new rules to provide more transparency and protection for people who shop online, and to protect consumers from fraud and misleading claims made by online vendors. (European Commission, 20 December 2018, link)
- Making coach travel cheaper and better. The European Union will decide a new regulation to make the bus and coach market more competitive, which could lead to cheaper and better services for coach travel between the UK and European cities like Amsterdam and Paris (European Commission, 20 December 2018, link)
- Combatting trade in illegal artwork. The European Union is preparing action against illicit trade in cultural goods to prevent the trade in stolen artworks and other goods (European Commission, 20 December 2018, link)
- Drinking water regulations. The European Union will decide on new rules for what defines suitable drinking water. The discussions and approval or rejection of the EU Commissions proposals for a revision of the Drinking Water Directive (RECAST 2017) will not involve any UK Government ministers or elected British MEPs, leaving the UK without a say on how we define drinking water (European Commission, 20 December 2018, link)
- VAT exemption thresholds. Small businesses in the UK could, in coming years, be forced for the first time to charge VAT. Currently the UK’s exemption is set at £85,000 but the loss of our national voting and veto powers could see this lowered to around £76,000, potentially forcing hundreds of thousands of self-employed traders to slap VAT on their products and services (House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee, 24 December 2018 , link)
- Improving food supply chains. The European Union will lead an initiative to tackle unfair trading practices and increase market transparency for food suppliers across Europe. This will help to boost food health and safety and make products in British supermarkets safer. (European Union, 20 December 2018, link)
- Standard chargers for mobile phones. The EU is consulting about regulations to standardise chargers for mobile phones and other similar devices. (European Commission 15 December 2018, link)
- Creating a new cybersecurity network. The European Union is creating a Network of Cybersecurity Competence Centres and a new European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre to invest in stronger and pioneering cybersecurity capacity in the EU. (European Commission, 20 December 2018, link)
- Strengthening the rights of rail passengers. The European Union is deciding on new rules to strengthen the rights of disabled people on train journeys, and the access to information about rights and entitlements for passengers. (European Commission, 20 December 2018,link)
- Making air travel more competitive. The European Union will develop new rules to ensure fair competition between EU and foreign air carriers operating in the EU, leading to more competition in the market and potentially driving down the price of air fares. (European Commission, 20 December 2018, link)
Commenting, Wes Streeting MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“2019 could be Britain’s year to lead in the EU, pushing forward important policies that will improve lives across our country. Making it easier and cheaper to travel across Europe, delivering much-needed investment in our most deprived communities and improving the rights of workers and consumers.
“Instead, this proposed Brexit deal delivers the exact opposite of what was promised: the UK would lose all its rights as an EU member – with less trade, fewer opportunities and lower living standards – while suffering the biggest loss of sovereignty and control in British history. And that won’t be the end of the matter – we will be left negotiating with the EU for years to come, with none of the big issues resolved.
“Rather than accepting the Government’s deal, we can have a People’s Vote, choose the better deal of staying as an EU member, and make 2019 the UK’s year in the EU.”