5. The consequences of Brexit for international data transfers

This guidance is provided in order to help companies, public bodies and Luxembourg associations that are transferring personal data to the United Kingdom, and which will continue such transfers after 29 March 2019. The CNPD recommends that the entities concerned should already now consider how to transfer personal data in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union. Unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date or the European Council, in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union and in agreement with the United Kingdom, unanimously decides that the Treaties cease to apply at a later date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019, 00:00h (CET).

On 14 November 2018, the European Commission and United Kingdom negotiators reached an agreement on the entirety of the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (the “Withdrawal Agreement”). The Withdrawal Agreement must be ratified by the United Kingdom, the European Parliament and the Council. The United Kingdom’s House of Commons rejected the draft Withdrawal Agreement on 15 January 2019.

Thus, as the conditions under which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union have not been decided yet, several options remain possible. Among these, there are two possible main scenarios:

  • If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019, European Union law will cease to apply to and in the United Kingdom on 1 January 2021, i.e. after a transition period of 21 months (except if the transition period is extended).
  • If the Withdrawal Agreement or any other withdrawal agreement is not ratified before 30 March 2019, there will be no transition period and European Union law will cease to apply to and in the United Kingdom as of 30 March 2019 (or as of any later date, if the deadline is extended in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union). This is referred to as the "no deal" or "cliff-edge" scenario.
Dernière mise à jour