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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 19 June 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Queen’s Speech outlined eight Brexit bills the next Government will aim to pass, including the so-called Great Repeal Bill, and separate bills on customs, trade, immigration, fisheries, agriculture, nuclear safeguards and international sanctions. The Government has stated that there will be no Queen’s Speech in 2018 in order to give MPs more time to deal with Brexit laws.
  2. As she debated the Queen’s Speech, Theresa May stated that her Government is considering whether to offer Holyrood the right to vote on the repeal bill that will enact the UK’s departure from the EU.
  3. In a recent speech, Sir Geoffrey Vos, the Chancellor of the High Court, argued that, whilst judges should not generally enter the political arena, in the Brexit context judges would be failing in their duty if they did not point out to Government the legal issues that require to be addressed in the context of a seismic change to our juridical landscape on the scale of Brexit.
  4. As the Government begins to face Brexit there are warnings that the immense volume of EU related legislation could overwhelm it. This is compounded by EU laws that continue to be introduced into the UK, with a further 1,260 rules reportedly applicable by the point of the UK’s departure in March 2019.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The Government has also set out some information and documentation about the Article 50 process and the negotiations.
  2. Following the announcement of the beginning of the Brexit talks on 19 Jun 2017 and the first day’s agenda, The Guardian reported on David Davis’ and Michel Barnier’s opening hopes and aims. The Financial Times covered start of the negotiations, thinking about what to expect on day one and who the key negotiators are, whilst Politico has considered the influence of nearly 100 figures on both sides of the negotiations.
  3. European leaders are reportedly afraid that Theresa May’s Government is too fragile to negotiate viable terms on which to leave the union, meaning the discussions could end in a “brutal Brexit”. Meanwhile a Chatham House-Kantar survey has found that two-thirds of Europeans in the nine countries surveyed believe the EU should take a hard line with the UK. However Donald Tusk echoed the words of John Lennon to suggest the UK could stay in the EU.
  4. On the first day of negotiations the UK has agreed to the European demand for a phased approach to Brexit talks, considering the divorce settlement before any talk on free trade.
  5. Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, is reportedly planning to relocate at least 750 policy experts from across Whitehall to five key Brexit departments without any extra cash to cover the cost of replacing them.
  6. For the blog InFacts, David Hannay has urged the Government to recoil from its ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ slogan, setting out twelve reasons why it would, in fact, be worse.
  7. The Financial Times has considered how the balance of power will shift in Europe as Brexit begins to sink in. However Stuart McNeill of Pinsent Masons has stated that a recent Court of Appeal decision upholding the parties’ choice to use English law under a swap agreement will help provide certainty in Brexit.
  8. Labour MPs, MEPs and peers are forming a group to block attempts to leave the Single Market, and putting pressure on Corbyn to further differentiate his position from the Tories’. Sadiq Khan has also called for the UK to remain in the Single Market.
  9. Through analysis of various negotiating points, different countries’ standpoints and a series of infographics, Vote Watch Europe has assessed what the EU27 Governments and the European Parliament actually want from Brexit. Meanwhile the Politics Studies Association and The UK in a Changing Europe have published a paper considering the EU referendum, one year on.
  10. For the Centre for European Reform, Camino Mortera-Martinez has considered the importance for Britain of retaining full access to EU databases used to fight crime and terrorism, whilst considering the difficulties present as this would require a role for the CJEU and the retention of EU privacy laws.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. In a keynote speech, Gabriel Bernardino, Chair of the EIOPA, has discussed EIOPA’s approach to Brexit, its expectations of EU insurance companies, and the development of international capital standards.
  2. Philip Hammond has stated that business concerns should be at the heart of Brexit, though has still indicated the UK will leave the single market and customs union. Michael Gove has also emphasised that the economy should take precedence.
  3. The CBI, in its economic forecast, has predicted that the economy will slow amid Brexit talks and the pay squeeze, whilst the Bank of England has stated that interest rates should be kept on hold due to Brexit uncertainty.
  4. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has called for a ‘business as usual’ interim Brexit deal to protect the future of the UK car industry.
  5. Some of the biggest US financial groups, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup, are examining whether to move transactions totalling hundreds of billions of dollars out of London to rival hubs because of Brexit. Other EU countries are set to compete to host London-based agencies, European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority, after Brexit. Meanwhile Energy UK has stated that maintaining a close trading relationship would be the best deal.
  6. The president of the German industry association BDI, Dieter Kempf, has stated that Brexit is “the greatest political risk” facing German foreign trade and investment.
  7. The Financial Times has considered how Brexit will affect different sectors of the British economy whilst the UK Trade Policy Observatory has discussed the options for the UK’s post-Brexit trade policy.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

As the UK remains in the EU until it actually leaves in March 2019, it has to be treated equally, and therefore OHB-SSTL, a German-UK consortium, won the tender to work on Galileo – building eight new satellites. However, third countries are not permitted to work on Public Regulated Service, incorporated by Galileo, and because the construction is unlikely to be complete at the point of Brexit, it is necessary for the future of the project to feature in the Brexit negotiations.

Data Protection

PwC have written an article considering whether the UK will deliver the GDPR post-Brexit, and whether we need an ‘adequacy decision’.

Employment

The Financial Times has considered whether UK workers will be better off outside the EU, including considering whether jobs will go to British workers if they are not taken by Europeans, or if they will simply cease to exist.

Following a survey by the National Farmers Union finding seasonal workers coming to work on British farms has dropped by 17%, the Union is calling on Defra SofS Michael Gove to provide assurance as to clarity on how farms will access a reliable and competence workforce, both today and post-Brexit.

Immigration

Applications for French nationality by Britons living in France rose from 385 in 2015 to 1,363 in 2016, with the surge expected to continue. Meanwhile East European immigration to the UK is at its lowest level for a decade with the number of people applying to work having fallen sharply since the Brexit vote.

The Conversation blog discusses the protection of the 3m EU citizens in the UK and 1.5m British citizens in the EU from becoming bargaining chips in Brexit. Theresa May is set to outline the Government’s negotiating position on the rights of these citizens to the EU leaders in Brussels.

The Government is preparing to announce a registration process for the estimated 3m EU citizens living in the UK, as a first step towards regularising their legal status post-Brexit and to gauge demand for residency applications.

Theresa May has made a ‘fair and serious’ offer to guarantee the rights of the 3m EU citizens living in the UK, and this has been analysed by the Financial Times. However EU leaders have described the offer as vague and inadequate.

 

Events

  1. The Times Brief Premium is hosting an event considering Brexit, Law and the City – what now? on 4 Jul 2017 18.00-21.00.