UK out of EU
4 October 2018

Brexit: France would like a deal to be reached but is preparing for all possible scenarios

A bill enabling the Government to take preparatory measures, by Ordinance, for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), which will take place at midnight on 29 March 2019, was presented during the Council of Ministers on 3 October 2018.

The objective remains to obtain the best possible deal for the United Kingdom and the European Union. Talks have progressed on a great many issues, with agreement having been reached on over 80% of the draft withdrawal agreement. Given that this agreement must be ratified both by the European Parliament and the British Parliament, a deal needs to be reached over the next few weeks. Negotiations are ongoing.

The European Council to be held on 18 October will review all of these issues. With regard to the withdrawal agreement, some sensitive issues remain, including the question of the Irish border, the role of the European Court of Justice, and the recognition of indications of origin.

A situation in which negotiations fail between the EU and the United Kingdom, or in which the agreement is not ratified by one of the parties, cannot be ruled out. This is why France, like the 27 other Member States and the EU institutions, is preparing for all eventualities, including a "no deal" scenario.

The bill introduced during the Council of Ministers aims to allow the Government to take, by Ordinance, whatever measures are necessary, either those required in the event a withdrawal agreement is reached (control over the movement of goods), or, if there is no deal, measures in three major areas:

  • French people returning to France. Example: allowing a French person who has paid into the British pension system to have the time spent working across the Channel included in their pension calculation in France, or ensuring the qualifications of a French person trained in the United Kingdom are recognised.
  • The situation of British people in France. Example: preventing British citizens living in France from finding themselves in an illegal situation on 30 March 2019.
  • The movement of people and goods. Example: ensuring transport through the Channel Tunnel can continue, or allowing us to carry out the necessary checks on goods entering France from the United Kingdom.
Ensuring the rights of French nationals settled in the United Kingdom are maintained is a priority for the Government, which will pay attention to the situation of British nationals in France and will take appropriate measures, taking into account the status granted by the United Kingdom to French nationals in its territory, in a spirit of reciprocity.

More broadly, all of the measures that will be taken by Ordinance will be set according to the progress of negotiations, the measures taken by the United Kingdom and our contacts with the European Commission and the other Member States.

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