Some of the problems caused by leaving the EU without a deal are well-known—others less so. We explore some of the issues you won't have heard of in our new seriesby Steve Bloomfield / October 24, 2017 / Leave a comment
John Redwood is “quite relaxed” about Britain leaving the European Union without a deal. Julian Lewis believes “we should call their bluff.” Jacob Rees-Mogg claims if “we leave without a deal we don’t owe anything.”
Redwood and friends might be quite relaxed, but others are less sanguine. Some of the problems caused by leaving without a deal are now well-known, from the price of cars rising by 10 per cent to the possibility of UK airlines being unable to fly in and out of EU states. But there are many other, less familiar problems that leaving without a deal will cause.
Let’s start with the future of data flows.
What are data flows and what does it have to do with Brexit?
What, you mean you don’t remember all the newspaper articles and TV specials about data transfers within the EU that took place during the informative and wide-ranging debate held before the referendum?
How does it work within the EU?
Any member of the European Economic Area (that’s the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) can transfer data between each other. Data flows freely throughout the continent.
Okay, but what happens when the UK leaves?
We become a “third country.” That means there are restrictions on the transfer of data.
And is there an easy solution?
There is. It’s called a Data Adequacy Decision. The European Commission studies our data protection laws and establishes that there is an “essential equivalence” between our rules and theirs. They decide if the third country regime is adequate or not. Given that we’ve been happily transferring data within the EEA for decades, this should be straight-forward.
But all that goes out of the window if we leave without a deal?
Correct. That’s what “no deal” means. No deal on everything.
But what about the WTO? I heard we would just rely on the WTO, or something.
The World Trade Organisation has nothing to do with data adequacy.