Brexit: EU agrees on Contingency Plans

Even though the UK was supposed to leave the EU already a week ago, the future of the bilateral relationship still remains extremely unclear. The European Commission and Member States have thus agreed on a number of contingency plans, preparing for the worst case of a “Hard-Brexit”.

Until today it is still unclear how the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will unfold. Many options are on the table: a ratification of the existing withdrawal agreement, the so-called “Soft-“ and “Hard-Brexit” – or even a second referendum in the UK, possibly stopping Brexit (see a short introduction to the scenarios at the bottom). 

The upcoming extraordinary European Council meeting on Brexit being held on 10 April may eventually bring some clarity. But one thing is already certain at this point: citizens and businesses working in or with the UK need to prepare themselves for a “Hard-Brexit”.

Contingency plans for “Hard Brexit”

Among all options, a disorderly withdrawal of the UK, the so-called “Hard Brexit”, remains one of the likeliest scenarios. This is why the European Parliament and Council have approved in March 2019 a number of contingency plans. The aim of these acts is to limit the most severe damages caused by a disorderly Brexit for citizens and businesses. They are temporary in nature, limited in scope and adopted unilaterally by the EU. They would apply as of the first day after a disorderly UK withdrawal without replicating the benefits of EU membership. 

Among others, these plans include measures ensuring social security and residence status of UK citizens already working today in the EU. According to the plan, UK workers who have worked in a EU Member State before Brexit shall maintain already assembled entitlements and rights related to social security, employment and residence status. 

A full list of contingency measures can be found here.

Sector-specific notices for procurement, maritime and aviation security

In addition, the European Commission published sector-specific notices for the case that EU rules do not apply anymore to the UK after a disorderly withdrawal, concerning among others:

-       Maritime transport: UK companies will no longer be allowed to operate intra-Union shipping services. The withdrawal of the UK does not affect the recognition of ship inspection and survey organisations (according to Regulation (EC) No 391/2009), but recognised organisations will have to be assessed at least every two years. Port State Control between the EU and UK will be governed by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. Directive 1999/35/EC mandatory surveys on ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger ships ceases to apply. The UK will no longer have to carry out related inspections.

-       Aviation and maritime security: Operators providing goods and services to, through or at EU airports including aviation security, as well as operators of maritime transport and security services are reminded of legal repercussions which need to be considered when the UK becomes a third country. Airports can apply the one-stop security principle to passengers and cargo for flights to and from the UK.  

-       Public procurement: UK companies will be subject to the same rules as any third country tenderer. EU Member States will retain the power to decide whether or not their contracting authorities allow UK operators to participate in their defence and security procurement procedures. They will also no longer be obliged to recognise security clearances obtained by a UK operator. 

The full list of notices can be found here.

The alternatives

Below, you will find an overview of the main possible Brexit-scenarios if a “Hard-Brexit” can be avoided:

Ratification of the existing withdrawal agreement: The ratification of last year’s agreementwhich sets out aspirations for negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and EU has so far been opposed by the UK Parliament. It establishes an extendable 21-months transition period to help businesses and citizens adapt to the new circumstances, and the EU and UK to negotiate their future partnership agreements. For the duration of the transition period, the UK will be treated as a Member State, but without any EU decision-making and representation rights. In an additional non-binding political declaration, both sides declared the principles for future EU-UK economic and security cooperation. 

“Soft-Brexit”:If transposed before the European elections, the UK would leave the EU’s decision-making structures (the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission), but it would remain member of the common single market and customs union. In this scenario, the UK may join the European Free Trade Association, whose current members are Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland. Alternatively, the UK may also only leave the customs union to be able to pursue an independent trade policy, or the single market to no longer be subject to freedom of movement.

Brexit stop: Brexit may still be stopped by a second referendum in the UK. In this case, everything would of course remain as it is.

 If you have concrete questions on the contingency measures and the withdrawal agreement, please contact Alexander Frank, Head of EU Affairs, CoESS 


Brexit: EU agrees on contingency plans

Brussels, 3 October 2017 - The first LANDSEC meeting after the summer break had a very full agenda, addressing rail security, cybersecurity, road transport and logistics.

The first presentation was a report from DG MOVE to the stakeholders regarding the rail risk matrix that the Commission built further to a closed session with the Member States in June. The matrix looks at the types of attacks, on the one hand, and infrastructure types, on the other hand.  The types of attacks include explosive, armed, incendiary, hostage and other attacks. The infrastructure type describes the targeted location, for example stations, areas outside / inside stations, train cars, etc.

The LANDSEC Chairman, Carlos Mestre, Head of Unit U5 Transport Security, then opened the floor for comments.

Catherine Piana, DG of CoESS took the opportunity to announce the upcoming publication of the new CoESS Best Practice in Transport Security document.  She highlighted some of the general conclusions:

-       Whatever the security measures, if buyers of private security services keep on focusing mainly on price, and not on quality, it will not support efficient and effective security in the long term;

-       Security legislation / measures usually consider past attacks, and need to be more future-proof, e.g. consider some of the future threats, such as:

  • Drones used to drop explosives
  • Use of CBR, as was the case in the Tokyo metro with Sarin gas

RAILPOL mentioned the crucial role of intelligence, awareness and sharing information.

Stakeholders and Member States are invited to provide comments in the near future.

Drones: CoESS calls for Security Risk Management

Catherine Piana, the CoESS Secretary General, spoke 9th May at the CIPRE Conference in The Hague, the international CIP conference and exhibition. 

Critical Infrastructure Protection is a high priority in Europe, especially so in the current context, where the threat level has been heightened in a number of EU countries, further to attacks on CI, and intelligence showing that some of them are being considered as potential targets by terrorists.

The European CIP Directive is limited in scope and therefore does not respond to the need to protect ECI in a harmonized way across the EU.

The private security industry has contributed to and promoted standards for Maritime Ports and Airports and is examining the need for, feasibility and usefulness of standards in other CI areas.

CoESS is actively participating in the CEN Technical Committee 439 “Private Security Services” and, in this context, is contributing to the current exercise of mapping out CI definitions, categories and legislation throughout Europe, as well as analyzing any gaps and proposing solutions. More recently, CoESS has updated its White Paper on CIP, which brings together business cases of private-public partnerships and shows the advantages of PPPs in CIP. The White Paper can be downloaded here 

The paper proposed by CoESS reports on current activities and future plans in CIP from the private security services perspective.

For more information about the conference and exhibition:

The CoESS and UNI Europa project on "Anticipating, Preparing and Managing Change in Private Security Employment" has been officially launched on 1 February 2017, thanks to the EU funds supporting the Social Dialogue.  The project will last until 2018, and requires support from Consultants/Academics.  A report is one the main deliverables, and this would consist in two main parts:

- a first part analysing the nature, magnitude and timing of the change (e.g. demographic, technological, security domain, threat, immigration, etc)

- a second part making recommendations on how to anticipate, prepare and manage the change, with a focus on employment: profiles, skills, training, etc.

Specifications for the tender are available upon request. Please contact Chantal Verlaet, Policy and Communication Officer  or Catherine Piana, Director General 

A new website, a new intranet, a new eNewsletter!  The year 2016 will be placed under the sign of communication.

Members and visitors: do feel free to send us your feedback, so that we can optimize it.

“Acting as the voice of the Security Industry” is the tagline which features on the new CoESS website.  As a result of a survey with members and a thought-process within the Board, a new vision, objective and core values and messages have been defined.

CoESS is preparing itself to work on the future rules for Unmanned Aircraft (so-called “drones”), which are being discussed at European level.  A Project Team has been set up, with experts who will look at the proposed rules and give feedback to the European Aviation Safety Agency, as it will prepare the technical rules during 2016.

The Ambudrone

The “Ambudrone” - whilst the European Commission has presented its aviation package, to also cover so-called “unmanned aircraft”, new applications for these light flying objects are popping up every day. Here’s a short video about the ambudrone in the Netherlands: a medical flying bag transporting resuscitation means, such as a GPS defibrillator, an oxygen mask or a dose of insulin.

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