Shocked and Amazed by Brexit
This morning I am shocked and amazed to learn that one of the founders of the European Union has chosen to leave that Union. Joining the EEC in 1973, the UK and other European countries moved toward the formation of the EU, first as an economic treaty, and eventually as a political union. Today, the separation begins.
Starting today, the UK will need to determine how best to get its house in order before triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This is expected to take at least a couple of years. In that time, there is a possibility that Scotland may hold another exit referendum from the UK, and may then choose to apply to join the EU. This may also happen in Ireland, further diminishing the size of the UK. We will have to wait and see what these countries will choose to do in coming months.
What effect does this have on Canadian and US Exporters?
If you export to the EU and you have European branch offices in the UK and other European countries, the exit of the UK from the EU will have little effect, other than on the question of language. Unless Scotland or Ireland choose to leave the UK and join the EU, AND they choose to include English as one of their official languages, it’s possible that English may no longer be an official language of the European Union. This could mean that instructions, manuals, operator screens, hazard warnings and other text-based information on your products that are provided primarily in English may no longer be permitted.
If you are using the services of a company that provides services to “compile the technical file” for your product, and that company is located in the UK, you will have to find another company to provide these services. This would also be true for companies using services of company acting as Authorized Representatives. Again, I recommend taking a deep breath and waiting to see what Scotland and Ireland will do.
If a change in Authorized Representative, or person “authorised to compile” is required, this will also impact the information on the nameplates on your products since the Authorized Representative’s or person-authorised-to-compile’s name and contact coordinates must be on the nameplate along with the manufacturer’s information. This same change will also be required on the product Declaration of Conformity or Incorporation.
We need to give the UK and the EU some time to determine how they are going to organise their divorce. This is a world changing decision, and the changes will not be done without due care and attention. In the mean time, we must watch and wait. Here at Compliance inSight Consulting and the Machinery Safety 101 blog, we will be watching and talking to our colleagues in Europe, and we will keep you up to date as we know more.
Now, with me… breathe deeply…