Ranked: The European bodies the UK needs to stay close to and those it can leave after Brexit

Rebecca Smith
The CBI held thousands of conversations with businesses to assess what was a priority
The CBI held thousands of conversations with businesses to assess what was a priority (Source: Getty)

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has today revealed its analysis of which European bodies the UK can leave after Brexit, and which it must stay close to in order to "stay in the room to maintain our voice on issues which will impact British businesses".

The CBI said there are a wave of bodies where the UK could regain sovereignty over regulation and leave, but for those which "set the bar for industry standards across the world, not just Europe", it is critical that the UK stays closely aligned with them.

Some 10 bodies are deemed an absolute priority for continued UK involvement on current terms, or as close to those as possible.

It said for some such as chemicals, product standards and aviation, UK firms will continue to have to apply EU rules to trades, regardless of what deal is struck.

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The business group has analysed 39 decentralised agencies and industry forums to gauge how critical they are to companies, placing them into five categories in order of importance.

It considered factors such as the ability of the agency to influence internationally, and the complexity of regulation and effect on competitiveness if not involved.

The five ranks of importance
  1. World leading bodies where continued UK involvement is economically crucial, fiscally sensible, and boosts the UK’s global influence e.g. European Food Safety Authority, The European Committee for Standardization etc.
  2. Highly complex bodies where covering areas of highly detailed and rapidly changing regulation means that industry is seeking a unique solution e.g. The European Banking Authority, The European Securities and Markets Authorities etc.
  3. Significant bodies where, if the UK government chooses to stay a part of the regulatory frameworks they govern, UK involvement is important to industry e.g. The European Maritime Safety Agency etc.
  4. Bodies that are not strongly linked to trade where businesses can support the UK’s departure
  5. Not CBI member priorities

Nicole Sykes, CBI head of EU negotiations, said:

Negotiators face a monumental task in untangling 40 years of economic integration but it’s one they simply must get right. Failure to do so would mean businesses here and in Europe will be forced to jump through hoops with new costs, delays and paperwork that would hamstring their operations and impact on consumers.

She added: "Where it is sensible and practical to do so, the UK government is right to repatriate some rules and that will mean more responsibility for some UK authorities. These extra responsibilities must be matched by extra resource.

“But in other areas, like chemicals, product standards and aviation, UK businesses will continue to have to apply EU rules to trade - no matter what deal is struck. That’s not just trading companies but the thousands of firms in their supply chains."

Here's the full list of the agencies and forums ranked by importance:

1. World leading bodies 2. Highly complex bodies 3. Significant bodies where the UK's involvement is important 4. Bodies not strongly linked to trade 5. Not CBI member priorities
The Article 29 Working Party The European Banking Authority The European Environment Agency Eurofound European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
The European Aviation Safety Agency The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication The European Information Agency for Occupational Safety and Health European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA)
The European Chemicals Agency

The European Securities and Markets Authorities

The European Regulators Group for Audio-visual Media Services

The European Institute of Gender Equality

European Asylum Support Office (EASO)

The European Committee for Standardization

The European Systemic Risk Board

The European Maritime Safety Agency


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

The European Committee for Electrical Standardization

The European Union Intellectual Property Office

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
The European Food Safety Authority European Fisheries Control Agency
The European Medicines Agency European GNSS Agency (GSA)
The European Payments Council European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
The Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)
The European Network of Transmission System Operators European Police Office (Europol)
European Public Prosecutor's Office
European Union Agency for Railways (ERA)
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
The European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust)
Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT)

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