Reed Smith Client Alerts

Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter invoking the use of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty confirmed that, as well as withdrawing from the European Union (the “EU”), Brexit also will involve the UK withdrawing from certain key pan-EU initiatives, including the European Atomic Community (“Euratom”). The UK’s membership of Euratom is governed by the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Community 1957 (the “Euratom Treaty”). Euratom, whilst a separate legal entity from the EU is governed by the EU’s institutions, including the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. In addition, the Euratom Treaty cross-references to the Treaty on the European Union (the “TEU”), as well as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (the “TFEU”), through references made in Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty to various articles in the TEU and the TFEU.1 Consequently, the EU and Euratom are very much closely intertwined with each other, and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would seem to necessitate the simultaneous withdrawal from Euratom.

The Euratom Treaty

The UK currently relies heavily on Euratom, Euratom’s officials, and the Euratom Treaty for, amongst other things, its regulatory regime, safety standards, and privity to various crucial international agreements on nuclear technology. These safeguards and standards are pre-requisites for international nuclear trade and research collaboration.

In addition to the above, the Euratom Treaty also establishes, inter alia, the free movement of nuclear sector specialists and associated investment capital across the Euratom Community (i.e. the Member States of the EU), and provides for funding of extensive research development programmes.