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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 27 November 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Lords EU Select Committee has written in reply to the Government responses to the two reports of the European Union Committee considering Brexit and Gibraltar and the Crown Dependencies.
  2. The AFCO Committee commissioned a report into Brexit and the Good Friday Agreement, assessing the potential challenges posed to its implementation by exit from the bloc and exploring ways in which the Agreement may be upheld.
  3. The CJEU is to be asked if the UK can stop the Brexit process unilaterally in a legal challenge being launched in Scotland by pro-European politicians.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The EU has warned that trade talks cannot start until agreement on the issue of Ireland is reached; however Liam Fox has warned that no final decision on the border can be reached without the agreement of a trade deal. This has stoked tensions with Dublin. However both sides are predicting there will be an agreement within weeks.
  2. Wilhelm Kohler and Gernot Müller have argued that the EU’s position in the Brexit negotiations is based on the premise that the four freedoms of the single market – goods, capital, services, and labour – are indivisible, but that this indivisibility claim has no economic foundations, and that negotiating on this premise risks unnecessary harm.
  3. Ipsos MORI has published a study on global researchers’ views on opportunities and challenges posed by Brexit.
  4. Keir Starmer has accused the Government of withholding information on how leaving the EU will affect 58 industrial sectors, after it previously promised to give the Brexit committee these documents in an unedited and un-redacted form, with some MPs claiming David Davis is in contempt of Parliament.
  5. The EU is to tell Theresa May that she will have to legislate to extend Brussels’ and the CJEU’s powers in Britain during the Brexit transition period, and this will inevitably increase tensions with Eurosceptic Tory MPs.
  6. The UK has bowed to EU demands on the divorce bill, offering £50bn to Brussels in an attempt to get France and Germany to agree to move negotiations to trade. Eurosceptic MPs have brushed this off, though Ian Begg for the LSE blog has warned it will provoke a backlash if the negotiations do not move on. Meanwhile Labour has tabled a new amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that would commit the Government to giving MPs a vote on the Brexit financial settlement. However, Theresa May has been put on notice by hardline Conservative Eurosceptics that they could be prepared to vote against her final Brexit deal if the UK continues to pay the £50bn divorce bill for years to come or does not get good trade terms.
  7. The EU is reportedly prepared to confirm a two-year Brexit transitional period as early as January following a breakthrough in negotiations over the Irish border. Michel Barnier gave a speech on German Employers’ Day, discussing the challenge of Brexit and the individual and collective responsibility involved.
  8. The Financial Times has published an article considering that the UK has conceded to all of the EU’s demands within the negotiations.
  9. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, has given a speech considering the future of the UK’s jurisdiction and English law after Brexit.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Top City of London figures have blamed Brexit for the sharp downturn in the UK’s economic performance, evidenced in Philip Hammond’s budget figures.
  2. The Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has taken evidence from Business Secretary, Greg Clark MP, on the work of the Department, including focus on the impact of Brexit.
  3. Following annual stress tests, the Bank of England has stated that high street banks would be able to withstand a disorderly Brexit.
  4. Norway, the UK’s biggest gas supplier, and not itself an EU member, is lobbying the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, not to put its access to the market at risk.
  5. According to estimates from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Britain’s car industry faces a £4.5bn bill if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal.
  6. Mark Carney has suggested that some financial rules, including the cap on bankers’ bonuses, could be rolled back after Brexit. Meanwhile leading economists including the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, have stated that the size of the UK’s Brexit bill will not make a significant difference to the public finances.
  7. The most senior civil servant at the Treasury, Permanent Secretary Tom Scholar, has stated that the Office for Budget Responsibility’s assumptions about trade, migration and productivity after Britain leaves the EU represent a “mid point in the range of outcomes”, and that forecasts could be too pessimistic if May gets the Brexit deal she wants.
  8. The National Audit Office has published a briefing describing how the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, which has one of the largest and most complex EU Exit portfolios in government, is preparing to deliver a successful exit from the EU.
  9. According to a report by Fieldfisher, the UK will save more than £450m a year, and instead will spend £149m a year on regulation after Brexit, with 1,500 staff needed to re-establish EU agencies and institutions.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

For the Scottish Centre on European Relations, Andrew Duff has written a comment on Brexit and the regulatory challenges for the UK.

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority has warned UK financial firms that they should not rely on leniency from local regulators in the EU if the UK exits the trading bloc without a deal on the cross-border provision of financial services provision in place.

Health

The Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has taken evidence from a health minister on reciprocal healthcare after Brexit.

Immigration

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has warned that the number of staff the Home Office intends to recruit to register the 3 million EU nationals in Britain in the run-up to Brexit means each caseworker will have to take 100 decisions a day.

Net migration has dropped by 100,000 in the year after the Brexit vote, with the number of EU citizens arriving declining as the UK becomes a ‘less attractive place’.

Paul Daly, Kenneth Armstrong and Kirsty Hughes have written a paper on SSRN to explore how the UK can give legal effect to the TEU, art 50 agreement it proposes to reach with the European Union on the rights of EU nationals.