Monday, 6 August 2018

Brexit Briefing - July 2018

Plage de la Coutarde
Author Baptiste Rossi
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Source Wikipedia

Jane Lambert

A lot happened in July. First, the resignations of the Rt Hon David Davis MP, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP and a number of other ministers. Secondly, the publication of white papers on The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union and Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.   Thirdly, the Prime Minister and her ministers have visited the capitals of other EU member states to canvass support for the future relationship white paper's proposals. Finally, active preparations have begun here and in the rest of the EU for the UK's withdrawal from the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

The procedure by which a member state withdraws from the European Union is set out in art 50 (2) of the Treaty of European Union:
"A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament."
The procedure was initiated by  a letter from the Prime Minister to the President of the Council dated  29 March 2017 giving notice of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU. The Council provided the guidelines on 29 April 2017 supplemented by others on 15 Dec 2017 and 23 March 2018.  Negotiations on the terms of a withdrawal agreement began after the British general election a draft of which was published in February.  About 80% of the text is now agreed but there are a number of sticking points one of which is the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The withdrawal agreement has to take account of the future relationship between the UK and EU.  The Chequers statement which I reviewed in The Chequers Statement Explained 8 July 2018 was an attempt to get agreement within the government on what that relationship should be.   It did not survive the weekend as David Davis resigned on Sunday night and was followed by several other ministers including Johnson. The white paper on the future relationship was attacked by Brexiteers and remainers in the UK and given a lukewarm reception in Brussels.  I discussed it in The White Paper on the Future Relationship between the UK and the EU on 21 July 2018.  The EU's negotiator, Michel Barnier, set out his vision for the future relationship between the EU and UK in his op-ed  An ambitious partnership with the UK after Brexit on 2 Aug 2018.

If a withdrawal agreement is concluded it will have to be incorporated into English and Welsh, Scots and Northern Irish law by statute. The government's proposals for legislation are set out in the white paper on Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union which I discussed in Today's White Paper on the Withdrawal Agreement - What's happened to Ireland? on 24 July 2018.

In Brexit - Why do I follow the Art 50 (2) Negotiations when I am an IP Lawyer? 26 July 2018 NIPC Law I explained why the art 50 (2) negotiations are important and the likely outcomes if they are successful and also if they are not.   I also described the negotiations as "finely balanced".  There is an evens chance of their going either way.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or Brexit generally should call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form.

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European Council Decision of 11 April 2019 extending the Period under art 50 (3) of the Treaty of European Union to 31 Oct 2019

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