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

 

Truss in, Frost out

  • The UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, has resigned from the cabinet citing concerns with the “current direction of travel” when it came to delivering on the opportunities of Britain’s departure from the EU. In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister, he said “I hope we will move as fast as possible to where we need to get to: a lightly regulated, low-tax, entrepreneurial economy, at the cutting edge of modern science and economic change. Three hundred years of history show that countries which take that route grow and prosper, and I am confident we will too”.
  • Responding to his letter Johnson thanked Lord Frost for his “unique contribution towards getting Brexit done”. Frost will leave immediately rather than in January as was originally planned.
  • British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has appointed the foreign minister, Liz Truss, to lead talks with the EU after the resignation of David Frost. Truss will take on the EU negotiating brief, including the ensuing issue of Northern Ireland’s relationship with Brussels, according to a statement from the Downing Street.
  • The French government has called on the UK to use David Frost’s resignation as Brexit minister to “rebuild trust” with the EU. France’s EU affairs minister, Clément Beaune, said: “We had difficult relations, but we always continued the dialogue. I send my best with respect to David Frost after his resignation. It is time for the British government to rebuild a climate of trust with France and the EU in the interest of all.”

Norther Ireland Protocol negotiations set to resume in 2022

  • The U.K and European Union are set to extend their negotiations over the post-Brexit future of Northern Ireland into 2022, as both sides seek a compromise that would avert a trade war.
  • Britain’s Brexit minister, David Frost, and European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic spoke twice virtually over the past week and announced that their talks will continue into the new year.
  • The decision to continue with the talks is another sign of a recent reduction in tensions between the U.K. and the EU, following a period in October and November where it appeared that Britain might suspend the Brexit agreement over Northern Ireland.
  • The two sides are close to an agreement over easing the flow of medicines into Northern Ireland but are still far apart on issues such as customs and the role of the European Court of Justice, one of the people said.
  • Lord Frost’s team have, however, dismissed a confidential briefing noting that the UK had accepted the Commission had no mandate to remove ECJ oversight of the Protocol.
  • DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has again sent a letter to Boris Johnson noting that the Northern Ireland political institutions could be collapsed over a lack of progress in removing what he called the “Irish Sea border”.

Post-Brexit checks on goods from Ireland postponed

  • The UK has delayed the introduction of post-Brexit trade checks on goods moving from the island of Ireland to Britain beyond January 1st to allow leeway for further negotiations with the European Union.
  • Lord Frost said checks on imports from the island of Ireland will not be introduced until the U.K.’s talks with the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol are resolved. Discussions, which have intensified in the last couple of weeks, are expected to extend into the new year.
  • This comes after IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva noted on Tuesday that the IMF expected considerable impact if such checks where to be introduced after the IMF published an annual review of Britain’s economy.
  • Last month the National Audit Office, the public spending watchdog, said the K. was not ready to introduce controls on EU imports next year. It warned British ports do not yet have the infrastructure needed to carry out such checks because of uncertainty regarding the nature of arrangements that need to be put in place, difficulties finding the right locations for the necessary facilities and funding uncertainty in the case of sites in Scotland and Wales.

France complains about granted

  • France accused Britain of not granting all the fishing licenses provided by the Brexit trade deal, the UK said some French vessels lacked the proper paperwork required to qualify for one.
  • The French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, stated this week that France has only obtained 93% of the fishing licenses it says it is entitled to according to the Brexit trade deal.
  • The UK issued 23 additional licenses on Saturday (11th December) to allow French boats to fish in UK waters – a day after the deadline set by the European Commission.
  • France believes it is entitled to around 80 more UK licences and a group representing fishermen in the key port of Boulogne-Sur-Mer and others along the northern coast have threatened to disrupt British imports in a bid to increase pressure on London to grant them more licences for UK waters.
  • The group said its members were “exasperated” by the news of only 23 new licences and felt “betrayed” by the European Commission, which could launch legal action against Britain over the issue.
  • The European Commission in a statement said the “decision is an important step in a long process seeking full implementation of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement,” adding that “A number of vessels seeking access to waters have not yet received a licence.”
  • The 23 additional licenses are seen as a significant climbdown in talks with the EU over post-Brexit trading relations in Northern Ireland, as the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, tries to end the toxic dispute.
  • Negotiations between the EU and UK on post-Brexit fishing quotas for shared fish stocks have stalled, prompting the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers to set provisional fish quotas for EU fishers for the first quarter of 2022 in the event that an agreement is not reached with the UK before the end of the year.

Other EU-UK News

  • Politico has run a story “in memoriam” of the past UK Brexit negotiators. There have been quite a few. This follows Lord Frost’s resignation on Friday evening. His replacement, Liz Truss, is the first person in the job to have openly backed Remain in the 2016 referendum but has since championed Brexit.
  • The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) has launched judicial review proceedings against the Home Office, arguing that the government’s position that citizens who fail to apply for Settled Status before the expiry of their Pre-Settled Status should automatically lose their rights is unlawful.
  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) have stated in its annual report that care workers should be able to apply for a UK Health and Care visa and be added to the UK Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which sets out professions suffering from shortages. The recommendation follows the preliminary findings from an independent review the committee is carrying out on the effect ending free movement with the EU after Brexit is having on the social care sector.
  • A post-Brexit foreign policy report by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) says the British public do not share the government’s appetite for perpetual conflict with the EU and more people see the bloc as a key future partner than the US. The report also stated that while they do “value British sovereignty and independence, they would support a foreign policy that worked cooperatively with the bloc”.
  • A deal on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU will not be reached by the end of this year, with talks now set to continue in early 2022. The UK and Spanish governments have both highlighted “constructive” progress in UK-EU talks on a treaty for Gibraltar during a meeting on Wednesday (15th December) between the British and Spanish foreign ministers Liz Truss and José Manuel Albares. They also agreed to extend transitional arrangements preventing a hard border with Spain, which is due to expire on December 31, for as long as talks continue.

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