Brexit highlights—26 June 2020

Brexit highlights—26 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 26 June 2020.

General Brexit headlines

This section contains key overarching Brexit news headlines.

Brexit Bulletin—negotiators prepare for intensified talks on the future UK-EU relationship

The UK and EU have published the agenda for the next round of negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship, which will take place in Brussels between 29 June and 3 July 2020. This is the first in a series of 'intensified' negotiating rounds endorsed by UK and EU leaders at the High Level Conference on 15 June 2020. Negotiators will meet face to face, for focused talks on a smaller scale. The next round incorporates a series of restricted two-hour sessions on a number of core issues, beginning with some of the more contentious areas including level playing field, governance, and fisheries. Sessions on trade in goods and services, criminal law enforcement and judicial co-operation, energy and transport are also scheduled, as well as sessions on participation in EU programmes, social security co-ordination and thematic co-operation. Though the UK and EU have agreed on the need for swift and substantive progress, they appear fixed on their core positions on the most contentious issues. With both sides calling for movement from the other, the pathway to compromise remains unclear.

See: LNB News 25/06/2020 97.

Brexit Bulletin—EU27 support intensified talks on the future UK-EU relationship but urge stakeholders to prepare for all possible outcomes, including no deal

The Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on the future UK-EU relationship, ahead of the negotiations commencing on 29 June in Brussels. Reiterating their readiness to reach an ambitious agreement with the UK, as well as pledging full support for EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, EU27 leaders reinforced the need to adhere to the EU’s previous statements and declarations, and in particular the Political Declaration, establishing the ‘key parameters of the envisaged partnership’ between EU and the UK. ‘Meaningful and concrete steps’ by the UK as regards implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol are also anticipated for the effective implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. With EU27 leaders lamenting ‘limited progress’ achieved in the negotiations to date, the Council of the EU endorsed the ‘intensified’ negotiating schedule, particularly in light of the UK’s decision not to request or agree to any extension of the transition period, which was ‘noted’. Lastly, the conclusions, adopted by written procedure, called on all stakeholders to intensify their work on preparedness and readiness for the end of transition, taking into account all possible outcomes, ‘including that of no agreement’.

See: LNB News 26/06/2020 84.

Brexit Bulletin—Commons briefing compares UK and EU negotiating positions on governance

As negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship intensify, the House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper outlining the key differences between the UK and EU approach on governance. A thorny issue in the talks, governance arrangements vary on both the general structure of the future UK-EU relationship, in terms of its treaty architecture, institutional setup and oversight, and on the details of how dispute resolution between the parties is to work in the future relationship. An updated Commons report on energy and climate change policy in relation to the UK-EU future relationship negotiations has also been published. Additionally, the Commons Library has released a note giving key statistics on UK-Commonwealth trade, provided by the Office for National Statistics.

See: LNB News 22/06/2020 70.

Committee report stresses the need for political leadership in the Brexit negotiations

The Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union has published a report on the need for progress in the negotiations before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. Impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the report stresses the pressing need for political leadership and flexibility in the negotiations for a deal to be reached. The key recommendations include to intensify face-to-face negotiations, to overcome long-established disagreements with movement and compromise on both sides, notably over fisheries, governance, level playing field, and police and judicial co-operation, to provide more details to the people of Northern Ireland in regards to the GB-NI trade under the Northern Ireland Protocol, and to ensure new border arrangements work for all parties involved including port authorities, businesses, logistic firms and HM Revenue and Customs. The report also highlights the necessity to prepare a plan supporting the affected sectors in the prevision where an agreement would not be reached.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 59.

Committee calls for increased transparency on Brexit negotiations

The European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) has called on the government for increased transparency on changes to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, following the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee meeting on 12 June 2020. Last month, the EU published several proposed changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol, including adding eight further EU laws to the Protocol and adjusting how the EU's trade defence measures would apply to Northern Ireland manufacturers. The ESC contends that information provided by the government prior to the meeting 'provided neither clarity about the implications for the UK…nor confirmed the government’s intentions when they were to be put to the Joint Committee for approval'. By contrast, the EU’s position had been made public as early as 15 May 2020. Wider concerns were raised about parliamentary scrutiny of the Joint Committee’s work, particularly as it prepares to make critical decisions on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. Under current arrangements, the government and Joint Committee can together make decisions without consulting parliament on implications for the UK or seeking their approval.

See: LNB News 25/06/2020 64.

Committee publishes twenty-third report scrutinising Brexit-related international agreements

The House of Lords European Union Committee (EUC) published its twenty-third report scrutinising Brexit-related treaties and international agreements on 26 June 2020. This is the first such report prepared by the EUC's International Agreements Sub-Committee (IASC) under its revised Terms of Reference, which include a provision 'to consider matters relating to the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements'. Under these terms, the IASC is responsible for scrutinising all international agreements laid before Parliament under section 20 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2020. This includes international arrangements the UK is putting in place in preparation for the end of the Brexit transition period. In the latest report, bilateral agreements with Morocco and Poland are reported for information.

See: LNB News 26/06/2020 57.

Brexit legislation updates

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

New European Union Continuity Bill introduced to Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Government introduced the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament on 18 June 2020. The Bill aims to ensure Scottish law will remain aligned with EU law following IP completion day regarding environmental law. If backed by the Scottish Parliament, the Bill would give Scottish Ministers the ‘power to keep devolved laws similar to EU laws’, ensure that the four core environmental EU principles are taken into account by Scottish Ministers and public bodies while making policies, and set up the Environmental Standards Scotland organisation ‘to replace the oversight of environmental law provided by the EU’.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 66.

Lords amend Fisheries Bill

The Fisheries Bill, which makes provision in relation to fisheries, fishing, aquaculture and marine conservation, completed its report stage on Wednesday 24 June 2020. The House of Lords proposed several changes to the Bill including the imposition of a national landing requirement, the inclusion of boats 10 metres or less into the fishing industry and remote electronic monitoring on overseas vessels fishing in UK waters. The Bill’s third reading will take place on Wednesday 1 July 2020.

See: LNB News 25/06/2020 93.

Constitution Committee reports that Agriculture Bill ‘likely’ to cause disputes

The Constitution Committee has published a report finding that the Agriculture Bill is ‘increasingly likely’ to cause disputes between the UK and devolved governments post-Brexit, particularly with regard to future international trade agreements. The Agriculture Bill deals with several issues concerning the UK’s exit from the EU, especially regarding the withdrawal from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 88.

ESC issues thirteenth report on recent draft EU legislation

The European Scrutiny Committee (ESC) has published its thirteenth report of the 2019–2021 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 EU data protection and privacy law, particularly in the context of developing and launching contact tracing apps, EU's support to the fisheries sector, Commission guidance on EU passenger rights and the use of travel vouchers, EU-ASEAN comprehensive air transport agreement, recommendations under Green Lane's initiative, proposals under EU Action Plan to combat money laundering, EU Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived and the Schengen Information System.

See: LNB News 24/06/2020 86.

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

Lebanon (Sanctions) (Assassination of Rafiq Hariri and others) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/617: 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 gives effect to the UK’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1636 (2005). Resolution 1636 established a sanctions regime imposing restrictive measures against certain persons suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others, which is currently implemented through EU legislation and related UK legislation. This instrument is intended to ensure that the UK continues to meet its obligations after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Meanwhile, EU sanctions continue to apply in the UK during the transition period. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 42.

Central African Republic (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/616: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment gives effect to the UK’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 2127 (2013) and 2134 (2014). Resolutions 2127 and 2134 established a sanctions regime relating to the Central African Republic, which is currently implemented through EU legislation and related UK legislation. UN sanctions were imposed in 2013 and 2014 in response to the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the country. This instrument is intended to ensure that the UK continues to meet its obligations under the UN regime after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Meanwhile, EU sanctions continue to apply in the UK during the transition period. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 34.

Lebanon (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/612: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment gives effect to the UK’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006). Resolution 1701 established a sanctions regime relating to Lebanon, which is currently implemented through EU legislation and related UK legislation. This instrument is intended to ensure that the UK continues to meet its obligations under the UN regime after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Meanwhile, EU sanctions continue to apply in the UK during the transition period. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 25.

Nicaragua (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/610: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment ensure that the UK can operate an effective sanctions regime in relation to Nicaragua after the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. When this instrument comes into force it will replace, with a similar effect, the EU sanctions regime relating to Nicaragua that is currently in force under EU legislation and related UK Regulations. The purposes of the EU sanctions regime are to encourage the Government of Nicaragua to respect democratic principles and institutions, the separation of powers and the rule of law in Nicaragua; refrain from actions, policies and activities which repress civil society in Nicaragua; and comply with international human rights law and to respect human rights. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 9.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/608: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the SAMLA 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment ensure that the UK can operate an effective sanctions regime in relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) after the end of the transition period. When this instrument comes into force it will replace the EU sanctions regime relating to BiH which was established on 21 March 2011 as a framework in order to signal the EU’s continued support for the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP or Dayton Agreement, 1995). The purposes of this sanctions regime are to promote respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, international personality and constitutional order of BiH; to promote the peace, stability and security of BiH, and to encourage compliance with, and the implementation of, the GFAP. It comes into force in accordance with regulations made under SAMLA 2018, s 56.

See: LNB News 22/06/2020 32.

Draft Brexit SIs laid in Parliament

Electricity and Gas etc (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/Draft: 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 six pieces of UK secondary legislation in relation to electricity and gas 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 the day after the day on which these Regulations are made.

See: LNB News 24/06/2020 57.

Equivalence Determinations for Financial Services (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/Draft: 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 nine UK secondary legislation in relation to financial services and markets 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 the day after the day on which these Regulations are made.

See: LNB News 26/06/2020 56.

Beyond Brexit

UK’s post-Brexit customs plan could face complaints at WTO, expert says

Preferential UK checks on EU imports after Brexit could draw complaints from other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a customs expert told lawmakers in London on 23 June 2020. The UK government is planning a six-month implementation period for new customs procedures for EU imports after it fully leaves the bloc on 31 December 2020. This adjustment period is intended to ease the burden on businesses, especially with many struggling due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

See News Analysis: UK’s post-Brexit customs plan could face complaints at WTO, expert says.

Committee seeks evidence on various issues on UK-Japan trade negotiations

The House of Lords International Agreements Sub-Committee has launched a further inquiry into the ongoing UK-Japan trade negotiations. The Sub-Committee is seeking evidence on various issues, ‘including an initial focus on the automotive sector, and trade in digital goods and services’. It asks for written evidence to be submitted by 31 August 2020.

See: LNB News 25/06/2020 70.

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.

Corporate Crime

Committee seeks clarity on UK-EU co-operation on criminal justice and policing

The Chair of the EU Security and Justice Sub-Committee, Lord Ricketts, has written to the government seeking greater clarity on how it plans to ensure continued public safety after 31 December 2020 if co-operation arrangements with the EU on criminal justice and policing measures cannot be agreed.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 43.

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

Environment

Commission publishes notice on withdrawal of UK from rules on biocidal products

The European Commission has published a notice to stakeholders on the withdrawal of the UK and EU rules in the field of biocidal products. The notice covers the legal situation relating to biocidal products after IP completion day, the relevant separation provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the applicable rules in Northern Ireland after the IP completion day. The notice of 17 June 2020 replaces the notice dated 23 January 2018 and the Q&A document (REV1) dated 23 October 2018.

See: LNB News 24/06/2020 77.

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

Financial Services

HM Treasury consults on UK’s proposed approach to transposing BRRD II

HM Treasury launched a consultation on the UK’s approach to the transposition of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive II (Directive (EU) 2019/879) (BRRD II), particularly in areas where a policy choice remains in transposition. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK is required to transpose BRRD II by 28 December 2020, although it does not plan to transpose requirements that do not need to be complied with until after the end of transition period. The consultation is open until 11 August 2020.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 87.

HM Treasury issues policy statement on UK prudential regime for banks and investment firms

HM Treasury published a policy statement on the prudential standards in the Financial Services Bill. The policy statement provides an update on the government’s proposed legislative and policy approach to updating the prudential regime for banks to enable the implementation of Basel 3.1 and a UK version of Regulation (EU) 2019/876 (CRR II), and introducing a new prudential regime for investment firms, all of which HM Treasury proposes to include within the Financial Services Bill.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 82.

Comment—Laxer EU overseas clearinghouse rules are no guarantee of softer post-Brexit access

More relaxed vetting procedures for non-EU clearinghouses looking to access the bloc’s clients have been applauded by UK players, but they don’t guarantee a change in approach to post-Brexit access. It’s more probable the changes were made as a result of US lobbying firepower than Brussels softening its post-Brexit approach to financial services.

See: Comment—Laxer EU overseas clearinghouse rules are no guarantee of softer post-Brexit access.

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

Life Sciences

EFPIA calls for Mutual Recognition Agreement between the UK and EU

The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations has published a joint letter from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries calling for a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the UK and EU. The letter calls on the EU and UK to prioritise ‘health and patients’ access to medicines in the EU-UK negotiations by creating an MRA and introducing ‘simplified and rational rules of origin’ as well as ‘smooth import clearance processes’ for pharmaceutical and biotechnological products.

See: LNB News 18/06/2020 84.

Notice to stakeholders on UK withdrawal and EU rules on good laboratory practice

The European Commission has released a notice to stakeholders on the subject of the withdrawal of the UK and EU rules in the field of good laboratory practice. The notice explains how EU law applies during the Brexit transition period and after 31 December 2020, IP completion day.

See: LNB News 19/06/2020 85.

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

Personal Injury

Commons Bill Committee discuss Medicines and Medical Devices Bill

The House of Commons has published a briefing paper on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill 2019–21 (Bill 136), which was introduced in the House of Commons on 13 February 2020 and had its Second Reading on 2 March 2020. There were three sittings of the House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill from 8 to 10 June 2020, in which 19 written submissions were published.

See: LNB News 22/06/2020 42.

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

Public Law

ESC publishes further 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, including those arising in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Issues covered include UK participation in the Schengen Information System, the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, EU recommendations and communications on a contact tracing app, transparency of the UK-EU Joint Committee, Commission Recommendation (EU) 2020/648 of 13 May 2020 on vouchers offered to passengers and travellers as an alternative to reimbursement for cancelled package travel and transport services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 and Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 as regards specific measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the fishery and aquaculture sector.

See: LNB News 23/06/2020 8.

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

LexTalk®Brexit: a Lexis®PSL community

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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.