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The European Council May 2016 to June 2018

Striving for unity: The European Council, May 2016 to June 2018, report by President Donald Tusk. This report details the work of the European Council, where the leaders of the European Union meet, from May 2016 to June 2018.

Striving for unity: The European Council, May 2016 to June 2018, report by President Donald Tusk

The report shows how the Union’s political unity was maintained and strengthened in the face of multiple threats and challenges: unprecedented migratory pressures, shifts in geopolitics, a sustained terror threat, an uncertain economic outlook and the decision by British voters to leave.

From 2016 to the present, Europe’s leaders have remained united on the fundamental issues, from the withdrawal negotiations with the United Kingdom to standing together against external threats, whether it is Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine or fundamental challenges to the global trading system.

Due to a strong belief in the Union as the framework for member states’ common future, Europe remains a positive point of reference for the world, from championing the Paris Agreement to combat climate change to promoting the rules-based international order with free and fair trade at its centre.

Internally, the EU needs to invest more in the protection of our people against security threats, illegal migration and uncontrolled globalisation. Tough negotiations continue to limit the damage to citizens, businesses and member states arising from the UK’s departure on 29 March 2019.

And there is still much to do to strengthen economic and monetary union, advance co-operation on defence issues and develop a sensible, crisis-resilient migration policy.

EuropeanCouncilMay16toJune18 (pdf)

Press Release – Jeremy Hunt in Berlin 23 July 2018

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Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held talks with the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, in Berlin on July 23.

Press Release: from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-visits-berlin

Mr Hunt met with German Foreign Minister Mr Heiko Maas to discuss a range of issues of shared interest. These included the UK’s exit from the EU, and UK-German co-operation on foreign policy issues such as NATO, the Western Balkans, Iran, and joint work at the UN Security Council, which Germany will join as a non-permanent member next year.

Ahead of the meeting, the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Germany is one of Britain’s most important allies in every field, from trade to European security to counter-terrorism. Our 2 countries work side-by-side to defend the rules-based international system on which our safety and prosperity depend.

We are striving together to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, uphold the Paris Climate Change Treaty, strengthen NATO, combat terrorism, improve cyber security and stabilise the countries of the Western Balkans.

We will also discuss the UK’s exit from the EU. I will reassure my German counterpart that we want to continue to work alongside our European friends and allies, in defence of our shared values. But I will also be clear that our European partners must show much more flexibility and creativity in negotiations if we are to avoid a “no deal by accident” scenario.

Funding from EU programmes guaranteed until the end of 2020

Funding from EU programmes guaranteed until the end of 2020

Businesses, universities and local organisations were assured today (24 July 2018) that any funding they secure through EU programmes, from now until the end of 2020, will be guaranteed by the UK government even in a no deal scenario.

The implementation period agreed in March would see the UK continue to participate in all EU programmes until the end of 2020 – providing certainty for British organisations and their European counterparts.

The guarantee announced today (24 July 2018) will reflect this by underwriting the UK’s full allocation for structural and investment fund projects, such as funding secured through the European Regional Development Fund, until the end of 2020.

In addition, the Treasury will also guarantee funding for UK organisations which successfully bid directly to the European Commission – through projects like Horizon 2020 – until the end of this EU budget period if no deal is agreed.

This will give potential applicants continued confidence to bid for funding whatever the outcome of the negotiations, and ensure that UK organisations continue to benefit from funding post-Exit.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:

We continue to make positive steps towards getting the best possible deal with the EU – one that works for the whole of the UK. The guarantee we are making today however means that, even in the unlikely event of a no-deal, our businesses, universities and local authorities can be confident that they will continue to receive the funding they successfully bid for from any EU programme.

In 2016 the government committed to protect projects that were successful in securing EU funding before exit day. This new guarantee means that successful bids for EU funding until the end of 2020 will receive their full financial allocation and will continue to receive funding over a project’s lifetime.

Theresa May to lead negotiations wih the EU

Its a good time to watch out for statements issued by the Government as MP’s rush off to enjoy their 6 week holiday break … here’s another one.

Theresa May has given a written statement to Parliament this afternoon (24 July 2018) where she states that in future she will lead the negotiations with the EU, Dominic Raab deputising on her behalf, and be supported by the Cabinet Office Europe Unit which

“will have overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations”

effectively sidelining the Department for exiting the EU, DExEU, and taking negotioations back under the control of the Remain-dominated cabinet.

Machinery of Government Change:Written statement – HCWS924

I am making this statement to bring to the attention of the House a Machinery of Government change.

It is essential that in navigating the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Government is organised in the most effective way. To that end I am making some changes to the division of functions between the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Cabinet Office.

DExEU will continue to lead on all of the Government’s preparations for Brexit: domestic preparations in both a deal and a no deal scenario, all of the necessary legislation, and preparations for the negotiations to implement the detail of the Future Framework. To support this, DExEU will recruit some new staff, and a number of Cabinet Office officials coordinating work on preparedness will move to DExEU while maintaining close ties with both departments.

I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf. Both of us will be supported by the Cabinet Office Europe Unit and with this in mind the Europe Unit will have overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations, drawing upon support from DExEU and other departments as required. A number of staff will transfer from DExEU to the Cabinet Office to deliver that.

There will be no net reduction in staff numbers at DExEU given the recruitment exercise described above.

Dominic Raab Statement to MPs on 24 July 2018

Dominic Raab gave a statement to Parliament on the publication of the White Paper on Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the White Paper which has been published today, setting out the Government’s plans for legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement and the implementation period.

On Friday the 29th of March 2019, the UK will leave the European Union, giving effect to the historic decision taken by the British people in the 2016 referendum.

This Government is committed to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit. That’s why we’ve already passed the EU (Withdrawal) Act through Parliament, so we are ensuring our statute book functions after exit, whatever the outcome of the negotiations. I am grateful to the House, and the other place, for the many hours of scrutiny devoted to that vital piece of legislation.

We are now embarking on the next step in the process of delivering that smooth Brexit for the people and businesses of this country. Mr Speaker, since June last year, the UK has been negotiating with the EU to decide on the terms of our withdrawal.

We have made substantial progress: protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, deciding on the terms of the financial settlement, agreeing a strictly time-limited implementation period. Most of the Withdrawal Agreement, according to the EU side, around 80%, has now been agreed with our EU partners, and we have isolated outstanding issues for further focused negotiation. I will be meeting Michel Barnier again on Thursday, to take forward these negotiations at this critical time.

We have already agreed a financial settlement, estimated at between £35-39 billion, well below the figures being bandied around by some when we started this negotiation.

The implementation period is finite, it allows for the negotiation and conclusion of free trade deals.

Many of these arrangements will require new domestic legislation to deliver them into UK law.

And that is why, last November, we announced our intention to bring forward a new piece of primary legislation to implement the Withdrawal Agreement in UK law. So today, we are publishing a White Paper setting out our proposals for this important legislation, which will be introduced once the negotiations have concluded and Parliament has approved the final deal.

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