Earlier this week, four Hogan Lovells partners met virtually and discussed the impact of Brexit on the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy as announced on 6th of May 2015 (COM(2015) 192 final) and as currently put into practice by way of numerous legislative initiatives. Don McGown (London), Winston Maxwell (Paris), Nils Rauer (Frankfurt) and Falk Schoening (Brussels) looked at the consequences of the UK having voted in favour of leaving the European Union from various angles and put the leave decision in the broader context of the digital world. You can find a recording of the webinar here, plus the presentation slides here.
Don McGown opened the discussion with some remarks on what the referendum actually means and which decisions are to be taken by the new UK government now. He also touched upon the Article 50 process and the steps to be taken until the UK will have left the Union. Don further shared his view on what is likely to change and what might remain fairly the same in the TMT world after Brexit. This prognosis was deepened by Winston Maxwell who spoke from a European point of view about the main impacts on the media and telecommunication sector.
Nils Rauer looked back to where the concept of a single market derives from and what the achievements are that an economic market without frontiers may bring about. He emphasized that free movement of goods, services, persons and capital combined with an adequate level of harmonization are the one side of the medal, whereas a common customs policy towards third-party countries is the other. This is true for the analogue as well as the digital world. The UK stepping outside the single European market inevitably means assuming the role of a third-party country. Thus, it will require bilateral or multilateral treaties to reorganize the UK’s relation with the European Union.
Falk Schoening and Winston Maxwell further discussed the consequences of Brexit for service providers and particularly platform operators. They raised the question whether the level of regulation in this area is likely increase now that the UK will cease to have a vote within the Union. Falk and Winston further touched upon future data transfer from and to the UK. The GDPR is agreed and will come into actual force in May 2018. That might be a time when Brexit will be just before becoming real.
If you have any further question as to the webinar or the impact of Brexit on the Digital Single Market, please contact any of the speakers below: