What happens in the event of a no-deal withdrawal?
In view of the difficulties associated with the approval process on the UK side and the direction of the UK Government, there is still a risk of the United Kingdom leaving the EU on the 31 January 2020 without the Withdrawal Agreement being approved.
If the UK leaves without the Withdrawal Agreement having been approved, the country will, in formal and practical terms, become a third country in relation to the EU. A no-deal withdrawal means there will be no transition period and EU law will therefore cease to apply in the UK. Trade with the UK will, in that case, be regulated on the basis of applicable international principles and rules from the WTO, for example. The EU will apply third country rules to the UK in relation to, for example, tariffs, customs controls and checks that EU requirements on goods are met. This can cause transport delays between the EU and the UK.
As regards exports to the UK, it is uncertain what tariffs will apply.
A no-deal withdrawal by the UK would also have an impact on many other areas, regulatory frameworks, etc. that affect the conditions for trading with the UK. This includes transport and logistic issues, product regulations for goods including the SPS area, opportunities for transferring personal data, public procurement, intellectual property law issues, eTrade contractual issues, and the conditions for conducting trade in services, including establishments and transferring staff.
What would a withdrawal without an agreement mean for private individuals in Sweden?
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union without an agreement would have consequences for private individuals in Sweden. For example, it would affect the rules concerning travel to and from the UK and which rules apply regarding online shopping from the UK. Some of the areas affected, and what private individuals need to keep up to date with, are presented below.
Before travelling to the UK
Swedish citizens and other EU citizens will need a valid passport when travelling to the UK. It will thus no longer be possible to travel from Sweden to the UK with a national ID card.
At present, Swedes and other EU citizens are not expected to need a visa for short stays in the UK. If you intend to stay for more than three months, you need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR), which provides the right to stay for 36 months.
More information is available from the Swedish Embassy in London’s website.
If travelling to or from the UK with pets, you will need to plan for more administrative requirements than previously. More information is available from the Swedish Board of Agriculture website.
If traveling with an airline registered in an EU Member State, you retain your passenger rights as an EU citizen when travelling to or from the UK. On the other hand, if travelling from the UK with an airline that is not based in the EU, you are not protected by EU passenger rights. However, this does not apply if you are only laying over in the UK. More information is available from the European Commission factsheet on travelling between the UK and the EU in the event of ‘no deal’.
Companies providing mobile communication services, such as voice calls, text messages or data, will no longer be bound by EU roaming rules. This means that Swedes and other EU citizens who travel to the UK will not be guaranteed free-of-charge roaming services in the manner that applies in the EU. Private individuals are urged to contact their mobile operator to find out what applies.
The European Health Insurance Card will cease to apply. Private individuals travelling to the UK after 31 January 2020 are therefore asked to review their private insurance cover. More information is available on the Swedish Social Insurance Agency website.
Shopping in the UK
In the event of a withdrawal without an agreement, goods purchased in the UK may be subject to customs checks on entry to the EU. For example, the ‘travellers’ allowance’ will be reduced to that which applies to bringing in goods from a third country. The travellers’ allowance for cigarettes is 200 cigarettes. Alcohol will be limited to one litre of spirits, four litres of wine and 16 litres of beer.
As with other third countries, goods up to a value of SEK 4300 will be exempt from duty if travelling by air or ferry. Goods exceeding a value SEK 4300 must be declared. When travelling by car, the corresponding amount is SEK 3000.
If you enter the EU with more than EUR 10 000 in cash, it must be declared.
It will not be possible to import pharmaceuticals into Sweden via post or packages.
For more information:
- Brexit for private individuals on the Swedish Custom's website
- Questions and Answers – the rights of EU and UK citizens, as outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement on the European Commission’s website
- Brexit information on the Swedish Tax Agency website (in Swedish only)
Online shopping from the UK
Customs duties will be payable on sums exceeding SEK 1600 by private individuals who buy goods from online shops in the UK following the withdrawal.
EU legislation on consumer complaints and right of withdrawal will not apply following a withdrawal without an agreement. If an online shop markets itself to Swedish consumers (lists prices in Swedish kronor, is translated into Swedish or offers shipping to Sweden), Swedish consumer legislation will apply. British companies will be entitled to refuse service to Swedish consumers via geo-blocking.