Connect with us

Brexit

#Brexit - Signed, sealed, and not quite delivered

Published

on

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel sign the EU's Withdrawal Agreement with the UK

This morning (24 January), European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel signed the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK in Brussels, writes Catherine Feore.

The European Parliament's plenary will hold a vote on the agreement on 29 January. Once the European Parliament has given its consent, the Council will adopt it by written procedure on 30 January.

Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, Michel Barnier

The UK concluded its parliamentary ratification on 23 January and was given Royal Assent. On the same day the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee gave their recommendation that next week’s plenary approves the agreement. 

TheEuropean  Parliament’s co-ordinator of the Brexit Steering Group Guy Verhofstadt (Renew Europe, BE) made a short presentation of his report and Committee Chairman Antonio Tajani  (European Peoples’ Party, IT) also congratulated all involved and called for a round of applause for the British MEPs who had been part of the Committee and the European Parliament. 

 

The debate in the Committee focussed on Parliament’s contribution to protecting citizens’ rights and the Irish border. Martina Anderson MEP (Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland) called for continued vigilance from the European Parliament. Many other MEPs voiced their regret at the UK’s departure.

Following the signing by Von der Leyen and Michel the agreement was sent to the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The signing of the Withdrawal Agreement is a fantastic moment, which finally delivers the result of the 2016 referendum and brings to an end far too many years of argument and division.”

The signing was witnessed by EU and Foreign Office officials who transported the treaty from Brussels. Downing Street staff including the PM’s Chief Negotiator David Frost were present.

Signed, sealed and not really delivered until 31 December 2020

When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on 31 January 2020, not much is likely to change. The UK will enter the transition period which will mean business as usual for citizens, consumers, businesses, investors, students and researchers in both the EU and the United Kingdom. The UK will also subject to EU law this period due to expire at the end of the year. However, the EU will no longer be represented in the EU institutions, agencies, bodies and offices.

During the next 11 months the EU and UK hope to deliver on the commitments made in the Withdrawal Agreement and reach an agreement on a limited trade deal.

Brexit

Brexit: ‘Frankly, I cannot tell you if there will be a deal’ von der Leyen 

Published

on

Addressing the European Parliament this morning (25 November) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that she couldn’t say whether the EU would be able to reach a deal with the UK on its future relationship before the end of the year. She said the EU side was willing to be creative, but that it would not put the integrity of the Single Market in question. 

While there has been genuine progress on a number of important questions, such as law enforcement, judicial co-operation, social security coordination and transport, von der Leyen said that the three ‘crucial’ topics of level playing field, governance and fisheries remained to be resolved.

The EU is seeking robust mechanisms to ensure that competition with the UK remains free and fair over time. This is not something that the EU can skate over, given its proximity and the scale of existing trade ties and integration in EU supply chains. The UK has to date been ambiguous about how it would deviate from European norms that it played no small role in shaping, but the logic of Brexit supporters is that the UK could become more competitive through deregulation; a point of view that obviously makes some EU partners a little ill at ease.

‘Trust is good, but law is better’

The need for clear legal commitments and remedies has become starker following the UK’s decision to introduce an Internal Market Bill that includes provisions that would allow it to deviate from parts of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. Von der Leyen said that strong governance was essential in "the light of recent experience".

Fisheries

On fisheries, von der Leyen said that no-one questioned the UK’s sovereignty of its own waters, but held that the EU needed "predictability and guarantees for fishermen and fisherwomen who have been sailing in these waters for decades, if not centuries".

Von der Leyen thanked the parliament for their support and understanding in the difficulties such a late agreement presented to them. A final deal will be several hundred pages long and need to be legally scrubbed and translators; this is unlikely to be ready by the next plenary session of the European Parliament in mid-December. It is generally acknowledged that if a deal is to be arrived at a plenary on 28 December will be needed. Von der Leyen said: “We will walk those last miles together.”

Continue Reading

Brexit

UK will remain global leader for asset management after Brexit: Sunak

Published

on

By

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured) said on Tuesday (24 November) that he was determined that the United Kingdom would remain a global leader for asset management after Brexit, writes William Schomberg.

“We’re beginning a new relationship with the EU. And as we do so, we are determined that the UK will remain a global leader for asset management,” Sunak said in comments to a conference organized by The Investment Association, an industry group.

Continue Reading

Brexit

Irish PM hopeful of Brexit trade deal outline by end of week

Published

on

By

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Monday (23 November) that he hoped that the outline of a Brexit free trade deal will have emerged by the end of the week and urged unprepared smaller Irish exporters to get ready for change, whether there is a deal or no deal. The European Union’s Brexit negotiator said on Monday that big differences persisted but that both sides were pushing hard for a deal, as talks resumed, writes Padraic Halpin.

Moves will have to be made on some of the key issues such as fisheries and the so-called “level playing field”, Martin said. But he added that he had got a sense of progress from both negotiating teams, and that a presentation last week from EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was probably one of the more hopeful to date.

“I would be hopeful that, by the end of this week, that we could see the outlines of a deal, but that remains to be seen. It is down to political will, both in the United Kingdom and I’m clear the political will is there from the European Union,” Martin told reporters.

On a visit to Dublin port, Ireland’s largest freight and passenger port, Martin said that, while 94% of Irish importers from the UK and 97% of exporters had completed the necessary customs paperwork to continue trading with Britain, he was worried by the take-up among some small and medium-sized firms.

“The one concern I’d have is maybe there is a complacency among some SMEs out there that everything will be OK and ‘Sure if they get a deal, won’t it be OK?’. It will be different, and you have to get that into your heads,” Martin said. “The world will change and it will not be as seamless as it once was. The bottom line is you need to get ready. It is not too late, people just need to knuckle down now.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Twitter

Trending