The UK withdrawal’s impact on ECHA – Background information
The European Union’s chemical legislation applies in 31 European countries – the 28 EU Member States and the three members of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway). Also, Switzerland implements provisions of the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) on the basis of a Mutual Recognition Agreement.
Since 1957 when it was established as the European Communities, 22 European countries have joined the founding six members to become Member States of the European Union. The United Kingdom is the sole Member State ever to withdraw from the Union. The withdrawal process is therefore unique and unprecedented.
On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, thereby triggering a negotiating process to establish a Withdrawal Agreement within a two-year timeframe. Therefore the UK will leave the EU on 30 March 2019 as the date set by Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Only by mutual agreement in the course of the withdrawal negotiations, this date may change.
Our mandate and role as the EU’s regulatory agency to work towards the safe use of chemicals within the European Union is not altered by the process leading to the UK’s withdrawal. Even as this process causes uncertainties, implementing the chemicals legislation within the EU-27 and EEA (and in the case of the BPR, also in Switzerland) will continue seamlessly beyond the UK’s withdrawal. The overall aims of our operations will remain untouched by the UK withdrawal.
As the withdrawal negotiations are currently underway, we cannot yet fully determine the ultimate impact of the withdrawal on ECHA or on economic operators within the EU-27. The withdrawal will significantly reduce our Agency’s cooperation with UK authorities. It will not leave our stakeholders untouched, either. Industry associations and civil society representatives will also be facing a new environment.
As the withdrawal process evolves, more certainties will emerge. We will reflect them by updating these webpages.