The situation regarding Brexit is constantly moving and shifting, and we are kept up-to-date on these developments by the news.
For clarification purposes, we must distinguish between two cases related to the handling of plant protection regulatory issues:
- Approval of a.s. and authorisation of products in the UK
After Brexit, the United Kingdom would be “free” to design its own national regulatory system. This is an option that the UK may follow in the long term – keeping in mind, of course, that such decisions will also influence trade issues. Nevertheless, the UK has confirmed that it will adhere to European decisions on a.s. and continue to factor these into its national plant protection product authorisations for a certain implementation period. UK authorities have accepted product applications outside of the EU system since October 2017. For European companies, the UK will have to be treated as a “fourth zone” within the authorisation system for plant protection products.
With a view to European tasks, the UK authorities have acknowledged that they will not be able to act as evaluating authority (RMS, EMS) within the European regulatory system.
- UK involvement in approval of a.s. and authorisation of products in the EU The EU Commission has issued two dire warnings (26 Sept 2017 and 23 Jan 2018) stating that the UK is heading for a hard (no deal) Brexit and it will be treated as a "third country", in other words, it will not be able to act as evaluating authority on behalf of the EU. Since then, the tasks previously allocated to the UK in its role as rapporteur Member State (RMS) and evaluating member state (EMS) for maximum residue levels (MRL) have been re-allocated to other Member States (MS). Applicants are responsible for re-allocating the tasks of the zonal Rapporteur Member State (zRMS). The European Member States are in agreement with this assessment, and decisions by UK authorities will no longer be recognised within the EU. This means, for example, that mutual recognitions based on UK decisions will no longer be possible.
In light of all the unpredictability and confusion, the issues mentioned above can almost be regarded as certainties – if we accept that Brexit will take place on 31 October 2019.