On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. Although the nature of the relationship between the UK and the EU post-Brexit is impossible to predict, we continue to represent the interests of our membership in European policy development. With around 60 % of PRS' international income being returned from the EU, we have and will continue to have significant business dealings with the EU even when the UK is no longer a member state.
What is PRS for Music doing?
The Policy and Public Affairs team continues to work closely with government, parliament and regulators to make sure that the needs of our songwriter, composer and publisher members are heard and understood, but also that the market needs of licensees are taken in to account.
In the immediate term, we believe the best thing for business is legal certainty so the framework remains unchanged.
While the UK government cannot formally begin the negotiation of new free trade agreements (FTA) until the UK has left the EU, the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) are working to establish a model framework for when that time does come.
The government is also working on a plan to establish and implement an Industrial Strategy to help set the conditions of future economic growth. Through UK Music, we have fed into this process.
On the 29 March 2017, the UK Government triggered the formal process of leaving the EU. The Prime Minister’s letter to the EU Council President Donald Tusk formally invoked the Article 50 process, in which the EU and the UK have two years to agree the terms of the separation. The Prime Minister’s letter struck a conciliatory tone repeatedly calling for a “deep and special partnership”, stressing that co-operation was in the best interests of both parties. Read full letter here.
In response to the triggering of Article 50, the EU Commission published its Brexit negotiating plan, which was adopted by the EU Parliament on 6th April. The plan clearly states that no discussion on a future trade agreement with the UK can begin until progress has been made on agreeing the terms of leaving the EU, including any financial settlement to meet existing funding obligations. These negotiations are expected to begin in late May and will need to conclude within 18 months in order for the EU Parliament to vote on the proposed terms within the two year period set out by Article 50.
The UK Government published the so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’ on 30th March 2017. In truth it is not a Bill and it doesn’t repeal European legislation; it is actually a White Paper setting out the details of a future Bill, which will repeal the existing European Communities Act (which requires the implementation and application of European law in the UK) and replace it with a new Act which will transpose European Union rules and laws directly into UK law. In summary it will:
- Convert directly-applicable EU law into UK law – the 120,000 EU Regulations which apply to the UK but aren’t transposed into national legislation.
- Ensure that the rights in the various EU treaties, including the Charter on Fundamental Rights, can be enforced by individuals in UK Courts; and
- Require that all existing EU Court of Justice case law is given binding status in UK Courts, where the relevant UK law derives from EU law.
The White Paper sets out no timeframe for the introduction of the Bill.