EU-UK Evolving Relationship Bulletin

EU-UK Evolving Relationship Bulletin

 

Although the EU-UK trade agreement has been concluded, it has become clear that there are still many issues to resolve and many areas left for the UK and EU to discuss further. At Instinctif Partners we will continue to track the evolving EU-UK relationship and monitor major changes in regulations the UK or the EU may adopt post-Brexit on a weekly basis.

 

EU-UK Future Relationship Updates

 

Northern Ireland Protocol

  • Negotiations continue between the UK Government and the European Commission on the future of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
  • There has been a noticeable effort to keep the progress of negotiations away from the media, as speculation grows around possible solutions that are being brought to the negotiating table, from both sides.
  • The Tony Blair Institute, for example, has proposed that the EU and the UK could agree a special category of goods, that would not require checks on items when moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • Further afield, however, the US has delayed its removal of trade tariffs on UK steel and aluminium products, due to concerns of the UK Government’s approach to the negotiations, especially given the UK’s previously heightened threat of triggering Article 16.
  • As negotiations continue, there is a sense that the UK Government and the European Commission are still prioritising cooperation to try and secure a new agreement on the Protocol.
  • As the weeks continue however, if no movement is made on key issues including the role of the European Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, it may be more likely that the UK Government reverts to triggering Article 16, to suspend the Protocol agreement. This is unlikely to happen before Christmas however.

 

Fishing

  • The EU has welcomed Guernsey’s granting of 40 permanent licenses, with Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius confirming that almost 95% of all such permits have been delivered since the beginning of 2021.
  • This follows last week’s blockade by French fisherman of the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel, marking an escalation in tensions regarding the current discussions.
  • French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune had also said agreement on fishing licenses needed to be reached before the deadline of December 10th, or “we will end our dialogue”.
  • The EU is now focusing on outstanding license requests in UK and Jersey territorial waters, suggesting the tensions are not entirely resolved. French Fisheries minister, Annick Girardin, has said the “fight is not over” and pointed to 111 licenses that remain outstanding.

 

Migration

  • EU ministers meeting in Calais have called for a new agreement with the UK to tackle the surge of migrants trying to cross the Channel to England from France in small boats.
  • Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said that concrete decisions had been taken to improve surveillance of how smugglers buy and transport boats, and that ministers agreed that a new UK-EU migration policy framework was needed in the coming weeks.
  • Darmanin said France wants to work with the UK to counter human trafficking but won’t be held hostage by UK domestic politics, whereas his colleague, French Europe Minister, Clément Beaune, accused the UK of “an economic model of, sometimes, quasi-modern slavery”.
  • The French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, has written to his British counterpart Boris Johnson with proposals for a new post-Brexit deal on migration. Castex’s letter to Johnson stated that the UK held “a large part of the solution” to the Channel migrant crisis and rejected the idea of joint border patrols. Defending a letter Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to the French president, health minister Sajid Javid said Britain needs France’s cooperation to curb the flow of migrants escaping war and poverty over the English Channel from Europe.
  • The EU’s border agency (FRONTEX) will provide a plane to monitor France’s northern coastline in an attempt to stop people making the dangerous Channel crossing.
  • French police on Tuesday tore down a makeshift camp near the northern French port of Dunkirk where scores of migrants had camped with hopes of reaching Britain.
  • A group of MPs have warned that the UK government proposals to push back small boats carrying undocumented migrants across the Channel could breach Britain’s human rights obligations.
  • The Joint Committee on Human Rights said Wednesday (01 December) that the Home Office should set out clearly how Border Force officials would enforce the pushback powers, to be introduced in the Nationality and Borders Bill, adding that officials who commit a criminal offense while carrying out the pushbacks should not be immune from prosecution, especially if migrants die during the operations. However, the Government is set to reject amendments aimed at reducing the risks posed by pushbacks.

 

Other EU-UK News

  • Keir Starmer, the UK’s opposition leader, conducted a major reshuffle of his top team, including appointing Yvette Cooper as Shadow Home Secretary, David Lammy as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Nick Thomas-Symonds as Shadow International Trade Secretary, to “make Brexit work”.
  • According to a leaked report, the US is delaying a deal to remove Trump-era tariffs on UK steel and aluminium because of Washington’s concerns about London’s threats to change post-Brexit trading rules in Northern Ireland. However, a U.S. administration official on Thursday said the country’s failure to remove tariffs on UK steel and aluminium has no connection to concerns about post-Brexit trade rules affecting Northern Ireland, rejecting a recent report.
  • Spain and the UK are confident that the Gibraltar Agreement will be concluded before the end of the year. The agreement is currently being negotiated by the European Union with the UK.

 

If you have any questions or requests, reach out to daniel.costa@instinctif.com