Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Manufacturers who obtained a UK type-approval for their cars will be able to apply for new EU-27 approvals to retain access to the European Union’s market.

The draft law voted on in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee on 5 November addresses the legal uncertainty for automotive producers with UK type-approvals. 

EU rules on vehicle type-approval, which establish safety, environmental and production requirements, require that manufacturers obtain type approval from one of the national authorising bodies. 

These EU type-approval rules will cease to apply in the UK when the country leaves the European Union. 

This means that all manufacturers that have obtained a UK type-approval for their cars will now require a new one granted by an approval authority in one of the EU27 member states, including for types already in production. This will affect producers established within the EU member states other than the UK, if they hold a UK approval.

The draft regulation covers motor vehicles, as well as systems, components and separate technical units intended for those vehicles. It sets out the conditions for obtaining an EU type-approval and its effects on the placing on the market, registration or entry into service of such products. 

The proposal would allow recognition of tests previously carried out by a UK type-approval authority, whilst also providing EU type-approval authorities with the possibility to request new testing. One of the objectives is to maintain the safety and quality standards of the EU, with particular attention to the safety and environmental performance of vehicles.

The committee’s amendments clarify when and what powers and obligations the EU type-approval authority will take on from the UK one. The changes proposed also ensure that there will be a market surveillance authority covering those vehicles.

The role attributed to type-approval authorities does not end when a vehicle is placed on the market, but extends to in-service conformity checks, repair and maintenance information and potential recalls.

 Marlene Mizzi, a Socialist MEP and Internal Market Committee rapporteur, said: “Given the current political scenario concerning the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, manufacturers and consumers need certainty where type approvals for vehicles are concerned, to avoid unnecessarily disrupting this important industry. Manufacturers shall now be provided with the required period and legal framework to continue trading within the EU”.

 She told this website: “In our parliamentary text, we have sought to protect the industry, the consumer and the European standards. 

"It provides for proactivity and a smooth transition. We look forward to what can be achieved and to implement this regulation in a timely manner, considering the time sensitivity of this file."

The vote gives Parliament’s team, led by Mizzi, a mandate to start negotiations with Council to reach an agreement on the final regulation. The mandate, approved in committee by 29 votes in favour, none against and one abstention, still needs to be given a green light in November’s plenary session before negotiations can formally start.

 The application for the EU type-approval should be made before the UK leaves the EU. The withdrawal date is set for the 30 March 2019. It can only be changed if a ratified withdrawal agreement specifies otherwise

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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