UK must retain membership of some EU agencies, warns CBI

The CBI has warned that losing membership to a number of EU agencies could be harmful to UK businesses. The future of the EU agencies will be a key topic as the Brexit talks continue to progress.

CBI calls for UK to retain access to EU agencies
Britain’s biggest business group is warning that, for both economic reasons and to retain global influence, the UK must remain participants in certain European Union agencies once it leaves the bloc.

CBI EU agencies warning

In its ‘The Room Where It Happens’ report, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that, as Brexit talks move on next year to future trade relationships, one of the most complex issues will be to resolve the UK’s future relationship with EU rules and regulations.“The bodies that create, monitor and enforce those pan-European rules are a key part of that puzzle for British business,” said the CBI.While the report accepts there are European bodies, which the UK could simply leave, it says there are a number of world-leading bodies that Britain must remain part of for economic reasons and to maintain global influence.“There are a number of European bodies which are world-leading and completely unique, setting industry policy standards at a global level – not just an EU one,” said the CBI.“After Brexit, whatever the deal, UK companies will be implementing the rules these bodies help set and being ‘in the room’ will give the UK greater control over its future. These include: the European Aviation Safety Agency; the European Chemicals Agency and the European Medicines Agency.”
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What do the agencies mean to UK business?

Analysing the role and responsibilities of 39 decentralised agencies and industry forums, the CBI assessed the significance of each in terms of importance to businesses. The categories included:
  • World leading bodies where continued UK involvement is economically crucial, fiscally sensible, and boosts the UK’s global influence, for example the European Food Safety Authority and the European Committee for Standardisation
  • Highly complex bodies where covering areas of highly detailed and rapidly changing regulation means that industry is seeking a unique solution, such as the European Banking Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authorities 
  • Significant bodies where, if the UK government chooses to stay a part of the regulatory frameworks they govern, UK involvement is important to industry, such as the European Maritime Safety Agency

Getting the best for business out of Brexit negotiations

Nicole Sykes, CBI head of EU negotiations, said, “As we head into phase two of talks, how the UK and EU manage rules and regulations between each other in the future will be one of the most complex issues to agree on.“For those EU bodies that set the bar for industry standards across the world, not just Europe, it is critical that we stay in the room to maintain our voice on issues which will impact British businesses.“Negotiators face a monumental task in untangling 40 years of economic integration but it’s one they simply must get right. Failure to do so would mean businesses here and in Europe will be forced to jump through hoops with new costs, delays and paperwork that would hamstring their operations and impact on consumers.“There will be tough decisions and compromises ahead, but negotiators must put jobs and living standards first when making those calls. Where it is sensible and practical to do so, the UK government is right to repatriate some rules and that will mean more responsibility for some UK authorities. These extra responsibilities must be matched by extra resource.“But in other areas, like chemicals, product standards and aviation, UK businesses will continue to have to apply EU rules to trade – no matter what deal is struck. That’s not just trading companies but the thousands of firms in their supply chains.“In some areas, like medicines, aviation and data, the EU has established unique systems that lead the world. In these areas, it’s in the UK’s interests to remain a part of the EU’s rules and the bodies that set them – to maintain control over the rules that affect UK firms, leading the rest of the world and keeping prices down for consumers and businesses on both sides.“The CBI has had thousands of conversations with companies in the 18 months since the UK’s vote to leave the EU, and it is clear that rules and the bodies that set them will be one of the key issues at hand in the months ahead.”
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