Important update on ETC no-deal Brexit preparations for UK project partners | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën

Important update on ETC no-deal Brexit preparations for UK project partners

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Important update on ETC no-deal Brexit preparations for UK project partners

(Message to all 2 Seas project partners)

As Joint Secretariat of the Interreg 2 Seas Programme we want to inform all 2 Seas project partners about two recent communications we received from MHCLG regarding a potential no-deal Brexit. 

  • On the 9th of September,  MHCLG sent a letter to the Managing Authorities of Interreg Programmes in which the UK is participating, to inform them that “the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will be contacting all […] European Territorial Cooperation Programme (ETC) UK project partners today, to support them in their plans in the case of a no-deal Brexit.  There is no action for you, but we want to ensure you are prepared to discuss no-deal plans with your UK partners over the coming weeks. “
  • On the 10th of September, MHCLG sent a letter to all UK project partners on the topic “Important update on ETC no-deal Brexit preparation for UK project partners”. You can download the full letter here.

In this last letter, some key information is provided by MHCLG to UK project partners for them to continue their work before and after a no-deal Brexit. 

More particularly, you will find a paragraph devoted to “EU managing Authority/Joint secretariat” where it is written : “A good starting point for working through your options is the Managing Authority / Joint Secretariat who looks after the project you are involved in and with whom you have a contract. We would encourage you to discuss with them potential arrangements following Brexit. While they may not be able to provide definitive answers to all your questions, it will be helpful for them to hear your views to inform their plans.”

Therefore, since yesterday as a direct consequence of the above mentioned paragraph, the JS received a lot of phone calls and emails asking us, as Joint Secretariat, to provide information regarding the “plans for the future”… 

The problem is that, at this stage, we cannot provide you with more information and you should know and understand that we find ourselves in the middle between two big systems (EU & UK MS) in which we have no legal power to intervene.

Our position as JS is the following:  

  • As stated in the communication from MHCLG, “it may not be possible to agree anything final until the UK leaves the EU”. Indeed, any option about the no-deal scenario will stay hypothetical until this scenario actually takes place, if ever it takes place;
  • As stated in the MHCLG letter, it can be certainly helpful to share your view with the Joint Secretariat in case you are working on possible arrangements. However, the Joint Secretariat confirms that neither the Managing Authority nor the Joint Secretariat can provide you with definite answers on the topic;
  • It would indeed be useful if you can discuss within your partnership possible alternative arrangements in the way your project could work in the event of a no-deal Brexit. For example, if your Lead Partner is a UK partner, it is very likely that, in a no-deal scenario, you might have to change the LP. Furthermore, in case of disruption in the payment from the Programme to the project, it could be useful to verify which organisations may suffer the most.
  • We would like to underline that alternative arrangements such as the ones evoked by MHCLG, as stated in the letter, “will depend on the EU agreeing it”.

The only thing we can tell you is that we stay totally committed to the Programme and project implementation and that with our own means and analyses we will put all our resources to minimise any possible disruption on the 2 Seas Programme. 

We continue to work in a proactive and creative way to show what the 2 Seas area is capable of delivering and will use all the means we have to assist you. 

Still, before we can concretely discuss possible arrangements, we first need to have a clear position from Brussels and London. 

Best regards

The Joint Secretariat of the Interreg 2 Seas Programme