With only 16 days to go until the Brexit deadline, the UK has been granted ‘national listed status’ by the European Union, which will ensure that racehorses can move across the borders in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
While barriers to ‘seamless’ movement will still be in place, the third-country status is hoped to provide certainty for owners and trainers looking to race their horses in European meetings.
British Horseracing Authority Executive Director Will Lambe commented: “This is very welcome news for our sector, and provides some important certainty ahead of a 31st October departure from the EU.
“There will still be additional requirements for our participants wishing to travel a horse into the EU, but full guidance and assistance is available. We continue to support and appreciate the UK Government’s position that there will be no immediate change to arrangements for thoroughbreds travelling into the UK in the event of no deal.”
As it stands, the movement of horses between France, Ireland and the UK is protected by the Tripartite agreement. If no deal is reached by 31 October the Tripartite Agreement will cease to exist, and both racehorses and breeding stock will not be able to travel between the EU and the UK at all.
The current racing calendar is estimated to generate £11.5bn in bets for UK bookmakers, so it’s safe to say that any barriers to the movement of horses will have severe knock-on effects.
The new listed status will ensure movement can still continue, but those looking to move racehorses will need to comply with new requirements such as going through the correct EU border inspection posts and adherence with certain veterinary protocols.
Earlier this month, the UK racing industry was warned that it needs to begin making plans ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit scenario, in a note issued by the Brexit Steering Group.
It was emphasised that ‘the political situation regarding the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, currently scheduled for 31 October, remains unpredictable’, and the Group advised industry participants to ‘start making plans for how a no-deal Brexit might affect them.’
Third country status has previously been awarded to the UK back in the spring of this year, however this was only granted one day before the initial Brexit deadline.
The EU’s decision to award the status to the UK so far in advance of 31 October on this occasion could suggest that Boris Johnson’s government is more likely to pursue a no-deal Brexit.