EU environmental bodies ranked by importance for UK post-Brexit

29th January 2018

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Rosemary Archard

Eighteen European cooperation bodies, networks and agencies relevant to environmental law have been ranked in order of importance for the UK's future involvement after Brexit.

Published today in a report by the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA), the analysis identifies which bodies Britain can retain full membership of after leaving the EU under current rules, and those where the government might seek some lesser form of participation.

It concludes that the UK can continue its involvement with the European Environment Agency after Brexit without amendment to underpinning legislation, along with European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Network of Prosecutors for the Environment (ENPE).

This should also be true of the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils Network (EEAC), however, it is thought that UK will not be able to retain membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), and the Seville Process as a third country.

“Continued membership of the European Environment Agency is an open door, ready to be pushed,” UKELA Brexit Task Force co-chair, Professor Richard Macrory QC, said.

“The rules currently permit third country membership and anecdotal evidence suggests that the Agency would welcome continued UK involvement, but there are other bodies which are also of the highest priority for the UK where continued membership will not be so straightforward.”

UKELA's list of the 18 EU bodies that the UK can and cannot participate in after Brexit are shown below:

  • Four that the UK can continue to be involved in without amendment to underpinning legislation: the European Environment Agency, EFSA, ENPE, and the EEAC
  • Two the UK would not be able to participate in as a third country under current rules, but where amendment should not be a substantial obstacle: European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) and European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment (EUFJE)
  • One that the UK can satisfactorily seek observer status in: European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)
  • Two which the UK can retain observer status in, but that nevertheless full membership should be negotiated: European Nuclear Safety Regulators' Group (ENSREG) and The European Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP)
  • One that the UK could not obtain the rules of membership: ENVI CrimeNet (ECN).
  • Eight which the UK cannot retain membership of as a third country, and where amendment to the underpinning rules will not be straightforward: Three which should take the highest priority: the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (the Seville Process), European Community Urgent Radiological Information Exchange (ECURIE). Two which are less urgent: Water Framework Directive Common Implementation Strategy (WFD CIS), Marine Strategy Framework Directive Common Implementation Strategy (MSFD CIS). Three where importance cannot yet be determined: European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Euratom Supply Agency (ESA), and the Fisheries Advisory Councils (FACs).

“We would welcome a commitment from the government that the European Chemicals Agency, the Seville Process and the European Food Safety Authority will be prioritised in negotiations,” Macrory added.


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