Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Competition Law

Kyriakos is a managing partner of the Brussels office and EMEA`s regional director for competition, regulation and trade and covers all aspects of EU and UK competition law. With regard to merger control, cartel and abuse of dominance investigations and the application of legislation, legislation to “domestic” competition law in competition (modification, etc.) is already in force. (withdrawal from the EU) Regulations 2019, IF 1993, No. 93 (competition-SI) (i.e. transposition of existing EU legislation into UK law). This legislation comes into force at the end of the transitional period. However, with regard to state aid, the UK has not accepted the EU`s proposal to maintain the EU legal regime, leading to a current and expected conflict with the EU, as shown below. Until 31 December 2020, the United Kingdom applies the principles of the free movement of goods, services, capital and people, as well as the general principles of EU law, including the principles of competition (in accordance with the European Union (withdrawal) law of 2018. The CMA is responsible for operations that have not been formally notified to the Commission before the end of the transitional period. The CMA encourages the parties to cooperate with the CMA before the end of the transitional period, as long as it is possible that a transaction has not been formally notified or referred to the Commission before the end of the transitional period and that the transaction is likely to meet the jurisdictional thresholds under UK merger control and raise competition concerns.

However, it is still too early to confidently predict the impact that the possible absence of a customs union between the EU and the UK could have on UK competition law. However, it is clear that any comparison with Canada (or any other jurisdiction) must take into account the particular circumstances of the UNITED Kingdom, including its proximity to the EU and its current agreements with the EU. On 14 November 2018, the UK Conservative government and the European Commission announced an agreement in principle on the legal conditions for the UK`s withdrawal from the EU. A copy of the draft withdrawal agreement agreed at the negotiating level was published, along with a draft political declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations, which was finalised on 22 November 2018. However, the result of the UK general election on 12 December 2019 has increased the possibility for the UK government to conclude a trade deal that the UK will consider outside the EU customs union. Indeed, the Conservative Party manifesto, published during the election campaign, promised to “keep the United Kingdom out of the internal market, not to be part of the customs union and to end the role of the European Court of Justice”, and at the time of the letter, the government was trading with the Commission for the continuation of a trade agreement on the Canadian model (which would not include the UNITED Kingdom`s membership of the EU Customs Union). On 27 February 2020, the UK government published its own approach to negotiations (“The Future Relationship with the EU The Uk`s Approach to Negotiations”).