Brexit Update w/c 16/3/20

Please read below for our most recent list of Brexit updates.

1. Speech by Michael Barnier on 26th February – EU approach to Equivalence Decisions Relating to UK

Link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/speech_20_340

2. Boris Johnson’s EU Adviser, David Frost, has said there will be no extension to the transition period as a result of Covid -19. The salient points are:

  • When the government passed the EU withdrawal agreement in December, it added a commitment that the transition period would not be lengthened.
  • Pressed on whether that meant the government was prepared to leave without a trade deal if the negotiations were interrupted by virus prevention measures, the spokesman said: “It will be possible to do the trade talks. Both the UK and the EU are fully aware of the timetable which we’re working towards.”
  • He said both sides had committed to finding alternative ways to continue the negotiations, and were working closely together to achieve this.
  • “The discussions can take place using an alternative forum, such as video-conferencing,” he said. “Video-conferencing is something which is used throughout the world, and business.”
    The Guardian Newspaper made reference to this statement. In a subsequent edition, Labour M.P. Lisa Nandy denounced this decision not to extend.

3. UK Government policy paper on approach to UK-EU future relationship negotiations

On 27 February 2020, the UK Government published a policy paper on its approach to negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship (CP211).

In the paper, the Government sets out its proposals for the contents and structure of a comprehensive free trade agreement (CFTA) between the UK and the EU. In the area of financial services, it envisages that the agreement should include provisions that:

  • promote financial stability, market integrity and investor and consumer protection, providing a predictable, transparent and business-friendly environment for cross-border financial services business;
  • contain legally binding obligations on market access and fair competition, in line with the precedent of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA); and
  • establish regulatory co-operation arrangements intended to maintain trust and understanding between the parties’ “autonomous systems of regulation” as they evolve. These arrangements should be based on the precedent of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and international best practice and could include appropriate consultation and structured processes for the withdrawal of equivalence findings.

The Government emphasises that the equivalence assessments for financial services being conducted by the UK and the EU should be distinct from negotiations on the CFTA. It states that the fact that the UK currently has the same rules as the EU provides a strong basis for concluding comprehensive equivalence assessments before the end of June 2020.

More generally, the Government states that it will not agree to any obligations for the UK’s laws to be aligned with the EU’s or for the EU’s institutions to have any jurisdiction in the UK.

The Policy Paper can be found here:

Link: The Future Relationship with the EU

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