On 16 November 2018, the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security (Minister van Justitie en Veiligheid, the Minister) submitted a legislative proposal to the Dutch Parliament proposing changes to a number of laws and regulations in the Netherlands in preparation for Brexit (the Dutch Brexit Act).

The explanatory notes to the Dutch Brexit Act provide that the proposal is a product of an inventory that was carried out to see whether Dutch laws needed to be amended as a result of Brexit. This inventory was based on the fact that the withdrawal of the UK will lead to the loss of its EU membership, irrespective of whether consensus will be reached on a withdrawal agreement or the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place (hard Brexit). For most cases, it turned out that the existing legislative frameworks offer sufficient freedom to be able to act quickly and adequately in each of the currently foreseen scenarios. Therefore, the Dutch Brexit Act only contains technical amendments to Dutch legislation that are strictly necessary and need to enter into effect as of 30 March 2019.

In view of the complexity and the amount of legislation possibly affected by Brexit, the Dutch legislator believes it to be important that quick legislative action can be taken in cases of urgent, unforeseen issues resulting from Brexit. This only insofar as is necessary for the proper implementation of a Brexit-related binding EU legal act or to avoid unacceptable consequences. Therefore, the Dutch Brexit Act contains a generic provision making it possible to quickly take necessary legislative action by means of a general administrative order or ministerial decree instead of by changing the law. These emergency legislative actions will in principle have a transitional nature, meaning that they will generally apply only temporarily and/or will be substituted by a more structural / formal legislative action.

It is important to note that neither the Dutch Brexit Act nor the explanatory notes thereto include (or mention) changes or measures aimed specifically at the financial sector. However, the aforementioned generic provision can also be used as a basis for legislative actions that may need to be taken in the financial sector. In addition, the Dutch Government and the Dutch regulatory authorities have certaintly been focusing on the possible implications of Brexit. For more information, please be referred to:

  • our recent blog post on financial sectors trend for 2019 in the Netherlands, in which Brexit plays an important role (here);
  • the letter of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs (Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken) of 7 September 2018 on the current state of preparation for Brexit (here);
  • various publications on the website of the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank) (here); and
  • the section of the website of the Netherlands Authority of the Financial Markets (Autoriteit Financiële Markten) dedicated to Brexit (here).