Brexit highlights—19 June 2020

Brexit highlights—19 June 2020

These Brexit highlights bring you a summary of the latest Brexit news and legislation updates from across a range of LexisNexis® practice areas, collated on 19 June 2020.

General Brexit headlines

This section contains key overarching Brexit news headlines.

Brexit Bulletin—UK and EU restate commitments and call for new momentum in talks at High Level Conference

The UK and EU issued a brief joint statement following the High Level Conference on 15 June 2020. The meeting between Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President, Charles Michel, and European Parliament President, David Sassoli, took place by video conference. At one time, this was a key milestone in the original transition schedule, giving the parties an opportunity to take stock of progress in the negotiations. By this point, the UK was hoping to have made significant progress on the key elements of the future relationship and the EU was hoping to be near to a deal on fisheries. However, due to the lack of progress so far, this meeting was not a watershed moment. The statement that followed simply confirmed matters already highlighted prior to the conference, welcoming ‘constructive discussions’ to date in spite of the challenges presented by coronavirus (COVID-19), but agreeing that ‘new momentum’ is required, particularly in light of the UK’s decision not to request an extension to the transition period, which was ‘noted’. Richard Eccles, partner at Bird & Bird and Adam Cygan, Professor at the University of Leicester, comment on the developments.

See: LNB News 15/06/2020 82.

Brexit Bulletin—government targets agreement with the EU 'as quickly as possible' but 'ready to trade' without it

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, has made a statement to the House of Commons on 16 June 2020, updating MPs on the progress in the Brexit negotiations. The statement focused on plans to intensify talks on the future UK-EU relationship throughout the summer. Gove also updated MPs on progress in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, which had its second meeting on 12 June 2020, agreeing to expedite its work, focusing on implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and ongoing efforts to protect citizens' rights under Part 2 of the Withdrawal Agreement. With an extension to the transition period ruled out by the government, the UK and EU delegations have agreed to be available 24/7. Gove concluded: 'we still have the time to bring a deal home', but that target depends on significant movement from the EU.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 88.

Brexit Bulletin—European Parliament adopts resolution supporting EU negotiating position on future UK-EU relationship

The European Parliament adopted a resolution reiterating its ‘unwavering support’ for the EU negotiating position on the future UK-EU relationship by a large majority during a plenary vote on 18 June 2020. In its draft, adopted on 15 June 2020, MEPs, standing firmly behind EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, deemed the UK's cherry-picking position 'unacceptable' and made the European Parliament's consent contingent on an agreement on level playing field and fisheries. The UK government has stressed that a deal on the future UK-EU relationship is still possible, but it has also warned that it cannot accept key elements of the EU position.

See: LNB News 18/06/2020 80 and LNB News 15/06/2020 45.

Brexit Bulletin—UK government respects but rejects devolved governments’ calls for transition extension

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, wrote to representatives of the Scottish and Welsh Governments following the second meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee, at which the UK delegation confirmed that it will not seek any extension to the transition period. Prior to the meeting, the Scottish and Welsh Governments had called on the government to reconsider extending the transition period. In the letter, Mr Gove acknowledged ‘disagreement’ of policy and approach among the devolved administrations, particularly on the question of the transition period. However, while the government ‘understood and respected’ the position of the Scottish and Welsh Governments, it was ‘clear’ that the matter is reserved to Westminster. 

See: LNB News 15/06/2020 24.

UK ‘definitively’ will not seek longer Brexit transition, Šefčovič says

The UK government has been ‘definitive’ that it will not seek a longer Brexit transition period, and the matter should be seen as closed, Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee Co-Chair Maroš Šefčovič told reporters on 12 June 2020. He also called on the UK to agree on an EU customs presence in Northern Ireland and to provide more details on how it will implement the Northern Ireland Protocol.

See News Analysis: UK ‘definitively’ will not seek longer Brexit transition, Šefčovič says.

Concerns over EU-UK quota split resurface as Brexit trade talks falter

Faltering EU-UK trade talks have prompted the US, New Zealand, Brazil and 11 other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to express concerns about the impact a potential no-deal Brexit could have on their access to preferential British and European quotas for sensitive agricultural products, MLex has learned.

See News Analysis: Concerns over EU-UK quota split resurface as Brexit trade talks falter.

UK expat campaigner lodges court challenge to EU governments’ Brexit agreement

British expatriate and veteran anti-Brexit campaigner Harry Shindler, along with other individuals, has asked the General Court to annul the January 2020 agreement by EU governments on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), according to a note in the Official Journal. Among the action’s claims are that UK citizens did not vote to exit the Euratom.

See News Analysis: UK expat campaigner lodges court challenge to EU governments’ Brexit agreement.

Brexit legislation updates

This section contains Brexit news headlines relating to Brexit-related primary legislation and legislative preparation for Brexit generally.

Lords amend Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill

The Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill, which aims to bring the 1996, 2005 and 2007 Hague Conventions into UK law, completed its report stage on Wednesday 17 June 2020. The House of Lords proposed several changes to the Bill including the enforcement of the Hague Conventions in the UK, regulations on rights under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and government consultation with the devolved administrations. The Bill’s third reading is scheduled to take place on Monday 29 June 2020.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 18.

ESC issues eleventh report on recent draft EU legislation

The European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) has published its eleventh report of the 2019–21 Parliament, focusing on recent draft EU legislation. The ESC gauges the legal and political importance of each legislative document and, where appropriate, inquires further on its implications and/or recommends it for debate. Reasons identified as legally and/or politically important include: implications of the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including Temporary Framework’s application to UK business support schemes and the transposition of ‘Driving licenses Directive’ in the UK; implications of the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, including the effect of ‘Drinking Water Directive’ on Northern Ireland’s drinking water system, the effect of Common Agricultural Policy reform on Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector and the effect of the EU’s proposed postponement of two new EU-policy tax law initiatives on Northern Ireland’s tax regime; and raise of post-Brexit policy questions concerning victims of crime.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 79.

Brexit SIs and sifting updates

This section contains updates on the latest final and draft Brexit SIs laid in Parliament, plus updates on proposed negative Brexit SIs laid for sifting.

Made Brexit SIs laid in Parliament

Environment (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/603: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018) in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends one UK secondary legislation in relation to environmental pollution in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. It comes into force immediately before IP completion day.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 1.

Cross-border Parcel Delivery Services (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/583: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the EU(W)A 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends one UK primary legislation in relation to Postal Services in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. It comes into force on IP completion day.

See: LNB News 11/06/2020 7.

Cyber (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/597: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (SAMLA 2018) in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment ensure that the UK can operate an effective cyber sanctions regime after the end of the transition period. When these Regulations come into force they will replace, with a similar effect, the EU sanctions regime relating to cyber security that is currently in force under EU legislation and related UK regulations. The EU sanctions regime is aimed at deterring and responding to cyber-attacks or attempted cyber-attacks with a significant or potentially significant effect which constitute an external threat to the European Union or its Member States. It also covers similar cyber-attacks in respect of third States or international organisations. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 18/06/2020 18.

Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/591: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends 11 pieces of UK secondary legislation and revokes 18 pieces of UK secondary legislation in relation to sanctions. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 16/06/2020 52.

Sanctions (EU Exit) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No 2) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/590: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends 11 pieces of UK secondary legislation and revokes eight pieces of UK secondary legislation in relation to sanctions. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 16/06/2020 7.

Draft Brexit SIs laid in Parliament

INSPIRE (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/Draft: This draft enactment replaces the previous draft SI published on 14 May 2020. This draft enactment is laid in exercise of legislative powers under the EU(W)A 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This draft enactment is proposed to amend three pieces of UK secondary legislation and one retained EU legislation in relation to INSPIRE legislative architecture in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. This draft enactment was re-laid with technical corrections changing ‘31 March 2020’ to ‘31 March 2021’ in regulation 2(9). It comes into force partly immediately before IP completion day, and fully on IP completion day.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 15.

Immigration (Persons Designated under Sanctions Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/Draft: This draft enactment is laid in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. These draft Regulations are proposed to ensure that the current process for considering a human rights or protection claim is retained for those subject to new autonomous travel bans and is not conflated with the review and challenge mechanisms for the sanctions themselves. It comes into force on the 21st day after the day on which these Regulations are made.

See: LNB News 16/06/2020 58.

Beyond Brexit

UK launches Free Trade Agreement negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has, on 17 June 2020, published the UK's negotiating objectives for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, with talks for each expected to take place by video conference in the coming weeks. The DIT also published a policy document setting out its roadmap towards membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Reaching trade deals with existing CPTPP members including Australia and New Zealand is part of that plan.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 76.

UK updates on plans for joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

The DIT has published an update on the UK's policy on joining the CPTPP. The policy paper was announced to coincide with the launch of trade negotiations with existing CPTPP members Australia and New Zealand. Talks with Japan are already under way. The government hopes that reaching trade deals with existing CPTPP members will help work towards UK accession to the bloc. A final decision applying to join CPTPP will be guided by progress in the UK's bilateral negotiations and an assessment of the UK's ability to secure accession on favourable terms.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 78.

Sub-Committee launches call for evidence on UK-US trade negotiations

The House of Lords International Agreements Sub-Committee has launched its first call for evidence on the ongoing UK-US trade negotiations. The committee is seeking evidence on a range of areas including agriculture and food safety, healthcare and drug pricing and digital trade and services. Submissions of written evidence must be received by 26 June 2020, but the call for evidence will remain open throughout negotiations. Chairman of the International Agreements Sub-Committee, Lord Goldsmith commented ‘The Government has made clear that agreeing a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with the US is an early priority for the UK’s independent trade policy…and Parliament has a role to play in ensuring that these negotiations deliver a good result for businesses and people across the country.'

See: LNB News 12/06/2020 40.

Finalised US-UK trade deal ‘impossible’ for congressional approval by November 2020, trade chief says

The US and UK are not likely to finalise a trade agreement that the US Congress could approve before November 2020 elections, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the House Ways and Means Committee on 17 June 2020.

See: Finalised US-UK trade deal ‘impossible’ for congressional approval by November 2020, trade chief says.

Commission adopts White Paper dealing with the distortive effects caused by foreign subsidies in EU Single Market

The European Commission has adopted the 'White Paper on levelling the playing field as regards foreign subsidies', addressing the distortive effects of subsidies granted by non-EU governments to companies in the EU. It will be open for public consultation until 23 September 2020.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 27.

Editor's picks—the practice area/sector view

This section contains key Brexit news hand-picked by Lexis®PSL lawyers from their own practice areas.

Environment

Lords Committee launches inquiry on environment level playing field provisions

The House of Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry to explore ‘what is at stake on the environmental and climate level playing field in the UK-EU future relationship negotiations.’ The rationale behind the inquiry is that, as production costs are affected by environment and climate change policies, a UK-EU trade agreement should include commitments to ensure that those policies do not lead to unfair competition. The Committee seeks to determine environment and climate provisions that the UK and EU may both accept.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 29.

Government minister comments on Taxonomy Regulation as retained EU law post-Brexit

The Cabinet Office has published a letter from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, to the chair of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, Sir William Cash MP, regarding the status of the proposed regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (the Taxonomy Regulation) at the end of the Brexit implementation period.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 96.

For further updates from Environment, see: Environment weekly highlights—overview.

Financial Services

John Glen on the UK-EU financial services relationship

The House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee published a letter dated 27 May 2020 from the economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, responding to the recommendations made in the Sub-Committee’s letter dated 27 March 2020 to the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak.

See: LNB News 12/06/2020 71.

UK Finance briefing examines the MiFIR third-country regime and the future of UK-EU cross-border services

With UK and EU banks' passport rights to provide cross-border services between the UK and EU set to end on 31 December 2020, UK Finance has published a briefing discussing how the EU regime for cross-border services under the Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFIR) operates.

See: LNB News 17/06/2020 91.

For further updates from Financial Services, see: Financial Services weekly highlights—overview.

IP

The UK proposes reciprocal disclosure arrangement for unregistered design rights with the EU

Jake Palmer, associate at Bristows, discusses the UK’s proposal for reciprocal disclosure arrangement for unregistered design rights with the EU.

See News Analysis: The UK proposes reciprocal disclosure arrangement for unregistered design rights with the EU.

Copyright in the UK post Brexit—how may the UK ‘take back control’?

Adam Rendle, partner at Taylor Wessing, discusses the UK’s draft working text for a comprehensive free trade agreement and how the UK’s copyright policy may develop after Brexit.

See News Analysis: Copyright in the UK post Brexit—how may the UK ‘take back control’?

Public Law

Lord Kinnoull writes letter to Michael Gove regarding government Brexit position

Chair of the European Union Committee, Lord Kinnoull, has written to Michael Gove in relation to the position taken by the EU ahead of the meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. In the letter, Lord Kinnoull notes that in draft Council Decision 8038/20, which outlined the position to be taken by the EU ahead of the meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on 12 June 2020, was adopted by the Council as Council Decision (EU) 2020/769 of 10 June 2020. He also mentions that, in marked contrast to the draft Council Decision, which explains in some detail the changes to the Withdrawal Agreement sought by the EU, the government has set out only certain documents and positions, including the Explanatory Memorandum on the draft Council Decision and a couple of Written Ministerial Statements.

See: LNB News 18/06/2020 68.

ESC publishes correspondence with government departments on a range of Brexit queries

In the latest correspondence published by the European Scrutiny Committee (ESC), government departments have been asked to provide an update on aspects of the UK position post-Brexit and the future UK-EU relationship impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Issues covered include the implementation of EU directives on Victims' Rights and the European Protection Order, recommendation of Port Services Regulation draft Brexit SI, future of the Common Agricultural Policy on Northern Ireland, impact of EU State aid rules on government support for businesses and proposal for Commission Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on driving licences.

See: LNB News 01/01/0001 2619.

For further updates from Public Law, see: Public Law weekly highlights—overview.

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About the author:
Holly joined LexisNexis in July 2014 and works primarily on the PSL Public Law module. Holly read law at university and qualified as a solicitor in private practice. Before starting her legal career, she gained experience working in local government and spent a year studying politics. Prior to joining LexisNexis, Holly worked in the Global Technology and Sourcing team at BP, supporting a variety of global procurement and compliance projects. Upon joining LexisPSL, she worked in the Commercial and LexisAsk teams before assisting with the development and launch of the PSL Public Law module. Holly looks after a number of core public law subject areas, including Brexit.