No-deal Brexit notices: Eurostar trains could stop running after March 2019

Jessica Clark
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St Pancras International Station Begins Its Eurostar Service
The notices published today include advice on the auditing and accounting, rail services, and gas and electricity sectors (Source: Getty)

Eurostar services could stop running between the UK and France, as well as other destinations, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the government warned today.

Train services from the UK to destinations like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Marseille and Rotterdam would be under threat if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, today's final batch of Brexit planning notices revealed.

A hard Brexit would render some EU train operators' licences invalid, affecting EU operators in the UK and UK operators in the EU.

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The government said it is working to recognise EU-issued licences for up to two years following a no-deal Brexit in order to avoid such a scenario.

After that operators would need to apply for a UK licence.

"We are having constructive conversations with the governments on Brexit and will continue to do so," said a Eurostar spokesperson.

"At this point in time, we plan and expect to maintain services on the existing basis and timetable following Brexit."

Today's guidance said British businesses with operations in EU countries "will face changes to the law under which they operate" if no deal is negotiated by the end of March next year.

Restrictions could involve having to meet additional requirements to acquire property and UK companies headquartered in the EU may no longer have their limited liability recognised.

UK investors in EU businesses may also face restrictions on the amount of equity they can own in certain sectors, the government said today.

The impact on the accounting and auditing professions was outlined in the documents, released by the Department for Exiting the European Union, which said qualifications may no longer be recognised across borders.

The portability regulation that allows customers to access online entertainment accounts while in a different country would cease to apply after March next year, meaning Brits could be barred from watching Netflix while visiting the EU.

Commenting on the announcements, the British Retail Consortium's Europe and international policy advisor, William Bain, said: “This last group of technical notices reveals how high the in-tray of new red tape for retail businesses will rise on a no-deal Brexit.

"Companies will face new rules and requirements on cross-border accounting and audit, engaging skilled staff providing professional services support, or new legal or administrative barriers on UK companies offering services to customers within the European Economic Area.

"Even labelling requirements for fibres in textiles and footwear will be affected. Hard-pressed retailers and consumers can’t afford a no-deal Brexit.”

Meanwhile, tech industry trade body Tech UK's deputy chief executive, Antony Walker, said the notices left "huge gaps" in contingency planning for tech companies.

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"For instance, there is no mention in any of the notices of how UK-US data flows would be enabled if the UK were to suddenly fall out of the EU-US Privacy Shield arrangement in a no-deal scenario," he said.

“The final batch of notices does provide more detail on some core issues facing tech businesses. In particular, the continued operation of geo-blocking; the formation and operation of subsidiaries in the EU; and what level of protection consumers can expect. Despite the gaps, it is important that all businesses, large and small, properly digest each of these notices.

“These notices again make it very clear that no deal would be a very bad outcome for UK tech companies. The UK and the EU must do everything in their power to reach a deal and avoid the mutual damage a no-deal situation would create.”

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