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EU’s Brexit papers discuss customs, public procurement and data protection

David Bicknell Published 07 September 2017

Papers produced by the EU highlight risk of uncertainty over procurement procedures and set out conditions over the UK’s access to, use of and retention of data


A series of position papers on Brexit produced by the European Commission today have raised concerns over issues such as public procurement, the use of data and protection of information and “customs related matters”.

The five papers , which also cover positions on Ireland/Northern Ireland and intellectual property rights, are focused on what happens on 29 March 2019, when the UK is set to leave the EU.

The papers are likely to be of interest to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) which is trying to deliver customs systems, government procurement specialists within public sector users and suppliers, and those responsible for the use of data and protection of information obtained or processed before the UK's withdrawal date.

The public procurement paper warns that the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will “create uncertainty in relation to administrative procedures in the area of public procurement ongoing on the withdrawal date, as to which law should govern the completion of those procedures and how tenderers and contractors from the EU27 or the UK should be treated by contracting authorities from, respectively, the UK or the EU Member States.”

It said ongoing public procurement procedures launched by contracting authorities and procedures related to the performance of ongoing framework agreements concluded by those authorities should continue to be carried out until their completion, under the relevant provisions of national law applicable at the time of launching the procedure, while being in accordance with EU law governing public procurement procedures.

On the use of data and protection of information, the paper’s essential principles state that the UK’s access to networks, information systems and databases established by EU law, is as a general rule, terminated on the date of withdrawal.

The paper goes onto say that the UK or UK entities may “keep and continue to use data or information received/processed in the UK before the withdrawal date……only if the conditions set out in this paper are fulfilled. Otherwise such data of information (including any copies thereof) should be erased or destroyed.”

The complex customs paper discusses a series of principles which aim to ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU in respect of customs issues.  It said the withdrawal agreement should determine the customs status of goods that enter, leave or transit the customs and tax territory of the Union, the UK or the EU27, where the movement starts before and ends on or after the withdrawal date, and the legal provisions applicable to them.

(Image: courtesy of the Local Government Association)

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