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Brexit round-up – week commencing 15 May 2017

Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Nicola Sturgeon has admitted that an independent Scotland may need a ‘phased’ return to the EU, possibly re-joining the free trade area before considering full membership.
  2. The Institute for Government has published a report stating that many EU competences, such as agriculture and fisheries, which return to the UK post-Brexit, should be devolved to administrations in Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff by default.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. David Davis has rejected the EU’s timetable for Brexit talks, saying that the UK would be disadvantaged by an early agreement regarding financial obligations and the future status of the Northern Irish border. Meanwhile Boris Johnson has insisted that the EU could end up paying a Brexit bill to the UK rather than the other way around, and has warned the bloc could ‘play dirty’ in negotiations.
  2. In a document entitled Guiding principles for transparency, the EU has produced a list of papers it will disclose throughout the negotiation with the UK, pushing for openness. The EU reportedly stated that it wants Brexit talks to begin the day after the UK election vote; however Barnier has pencilled in the 19th June for negotiations to begin. MEPs have welcomed the unity of the 27 Member States and the EU institutions with regard to Brexit whilst calling for a reform of the EU to benefit all its citizens.
  3. Campaigning for the election, Nicola Sturgeon has stated that a vote for the SNP in the election will strengthen Scotland’s hand over Brexit and will better able her to argue for a seat at the negotiating table. Meanwhile The Guardian reports that a leading donor behind the Brexit victory has pledged to fund a campaign to oust almost 140 pro-remain MPs in an attempt to ensure there is “no backsliding on Brexit” after the election. The Lib Dems have made a second referendum on the final Brexit deal (with an option to remain in the EU) one of their manifesto pledges.
  4. Wolfgang Munchau, for the Financial Times, has explained that many in the EU still think that Brexit won’t happen, and to counter this the UK should come up with a Plan B setting out what will happen if an agreement is not reached or is vetoed. However ORB International has found that new polling results suggest that public confidence in Brexit negotiations has increased.
  5. Mishcon de Reya have published their latest issue of the Brussels Insider, considering likely initial discussions in the Brexit process.
  6. Brussels is finalising plans to deploy the EU budget as a European Defence Fund for the first time as Brexit removes a significant obstacle to increased defence cooperation among its members.
  7. For the LSE Brexit blog, André Sapir has argued that UK-EU financial settlement risks becoming a toxic stumbling block in Brexit negotiations and to diffuse it both sides should agree to independent international arbitration.
  8. The EU Observer blog has considered the possibility that Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway could be part of the EU’s deal with the UK after the latter leaves the bloc in April 2019.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. According to the forecasting group EY Item Club, the jobs market is set to suffer a Brexit slowdown with a ‘significant proportion’ of UK workers to face a fall in living standards.
  2. Senior executives have told the Financial Times that their banks are bracing themselves for hundreds of millions in costs of extra restructuring, funding and legal costs to deal with the Brexit fallout in the next few years.
  3. Gregory Shaffer has considered the very real prospect that the UK will spend time in WTO limbo following Brexit.
  4. According to research by the Federation of Small Businesses, UK small firms will face a £3.6bn EU funding shortfall by 2021, with deprived areas suffering most.
  5. The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply has conducted a survey, finding that businesses are preparing to sever supply chain ties between the UK and EU to avoid Brexit tariffs.
  6. A ruling from the CJEU results in it being necessary for all EU member states to approve trade deals struck by the European Commission. However the Financial Times has suggested the ruling is not of significance for Brexit, whilst The Guardian considers it gives Brexit a boost, though Reuters’ verdict is that the ruling could obstruct a deal.
  7. The Institute for Government has published a paper considering how the UK can take back control of trade policy and become a powerful, independent player in international trade post-Brexit.
  8. The Securities and Markets Stakeholders Group of the European Securities and Markets Authority has published its response to the Public Consultation on the Operations of the European Supervisory Authorities, considering consumer protection, supervisory convergence and Brexit.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

Blackstone Chambers have published their final blog of the ‘Brexit and implications for UK merger control’ series, considering managing and prioritising the CMA’s mergers workload.
Reinforcing Brexit red lines, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, has stated that countries seeking a trade deal with the EU should meet European standards on labour law and fair competition.

Employment

Theresa May has stated in her election campaign that the Conservatives will use Brexit as an opportunity to “strengthen workers’ rights”.

Lord Rogers and leading UK architects have stated that Brexit will damage the industry if practices across Britain cannot continue to employ EU staff.

TUC leader, Frances O’Grady, has stated that the prime minister must ensure rights of British workers will not fall behind EU standards.

Health

The Financial Times reports that after Brexit the UK will have to create its own unit of travelling inspectors to inspect and ensure the quality of food imports.

Immigration

Sara Young for the LSE Brexit Blog has written an article considering the uncertainty faced by the children of EU migrants.

An article in the Financial Times stresses that few tasks are more urgent than the need to settle the post-Brexit status of the UK and European citizens who live in each other’s territory. This is highlighted as Angela Merkel has said UK relations with the EU will “pay a price” if the UK takes a hard line on European immigration after Brexit. 

Alasdair Breckenridge has argued that, in creating an opportunity to modify outdated regulatory systems specifically for the UK, Brexit may create potential health benefits.

The thinktank Global Future has published a report considering the nature and extent of the UK’s need for inward migration post Brexit, suggesting this to be 200,000 annually.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

For the UK in a Changing Europe, Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos considers the ‘long shadow’ which Brexit will cast on the ECHR.

Theresa May has stated that she will not scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 during the Brexit period.

Environment

Irish cheese producers, who supply about a third of the UK’s cheddar, are considering switching to mozzarella production because of fears about Britain crashing out of the EU.

Events

Queen Mary University is hosting an event, Brexit and Criminal Justice Co-operation, on 25 May 2017 from 18.00-20.00.

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is holding a conference considering Criminal Justice since Brexit on 28 June 2017.

The British Institute of International and Comparative Law are hosting an event on 23 May 2017 from 16.30-19.00 discussing Cross-border insolvencies post Brexit.

The organisation is also hosting Brexit, China and other new challenges to international trade law from 9.00-16.30 on 31 May 2017.