UK out of EU
11 September 2019

Preparing for Brexit

On 9 September 2019, the Prime Minister once again brought together the ministers concerned to prepare for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The European Union and the United Kingdom have spent two years negotiating a withdrawal agreement, which is most effective in protecting European citizens from the consequences of Brexit.

France, while wishing to avoid a no-deal exit on 31 October 2019, is preparing for all scenarios in close consultation with its European partners and the European Commission:
  • Since April 2018, the Government and the administrations have been working on the implementation of a national contingency plan, first launched on 17 January 2019.
  • By a law enacted on 19 January 2019, Parliament has given the Government the power to legislate by ordinance in priority areas in order to provide legal certainty and the elements of continuity that are absolutely necessary for French and British nationals and for businesses. The French Government has thus acquired a legal arsenal which led to the adoption, between January and April 2019, of seven ordinances, eight decrees and several orders.
  • Infrastructure managers (ports, railway stations, airports) have carried out the required adjustments and work to ensure that border checks are operational from the date of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. Furthermore, additional staff have been deployed to carry out customs (600 customs officers), health and plant health (200 veterinary experts) checks at the borders. The system is therefore now in place. Real-world testing of this control system will be organised in the coming weeks.

The Prime Minister has asked the ministries to reinforce communication and information actions aimed at citizens and businesses, in order to encourage economic operators and individuals to step up their preparation for a no-deal exit.
  • A website which has been operational since 1st December 2018,, provides answers to questions from French citizens resident in the United Kingdom, British nationals resident in France and businesses trading with the United Kingdom.
  • The Prime Minister would like the ministries to be in a position to respond quickly to all queries raised by businesses and individuals.
  • In October, the Ministry of the Interior will launch an online registration platform for residency permit applications for British nationals living in France.

The Prime Minister also asked the ministers concerned and the departments of the State to ensure that there is a continuous and close process of consultation with local elected representatives and economic actors on the ground. Edouard Philippe has appointed Mr Michel Lalande, Prefect of the Hauts-de-France region, Prefect of the Northern Defence and Security Zone, Prefect of the Nord Département, as national coordinator for preparation at local level for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

Finally, the fisheries sector requires close European coordination. Therefore, the Minister of Agriculture and Food will continue to work with the European Commission and the Member States concerned at a coordination meeting on 16 September 2019 in Brussels and at the Council of Fisheries Ministers meeting on 14 October 2019.

A no-deal exit would necessarily lead to some level of disruption to the current relationship with the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister has called upon all ministers to remain mobilised as far as this issue is concerned and to maintain the unity of the 27 Member States of the European Union, until the United Kingdom has clarified its position.