web analytics

Politicker

Brexit Negotiations – Round 5

The fifth round of talks between the UK and the EU started on Monday 9th October 2017 and is scheduled to finish on 12 October 2017.

Doesn’t seem to be anything different from previous rounds, so its hardly worth quoting the Agenda for the week of meetings. For some reason there are no details specified for Wed 10 October. Here’s the Agenda anyway

Monday, 9 October 2017
Technical working groups

Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Coordinators’ Session

Thursday, 28 September 2017
Principals’ meeting

Press briefing (to be confirmed)

Note:
There are three technical working groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other
separation issues. Horizontal issues, including governance, will be addressed by the Coordinators.
Additional technical working groups may be scheduled during the week.

David Davis and Michel Barnier didn’t meet this time on the first day of the talks.

When asked why the schedule for Wednesday had been left blank, the European commission’s spokesman said “the timetable was drawn up according to the availability of the British negotiating team“. A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the EU said: “The talks this week were a mutually agreed programme designed to give both sides the best chance to make progress. We have always been clear that we are ready to negotiate at any time.

In my opinion, with the apparent reluctance of the EU negotiating team to make “any” concessions, or to extend negotiatins to cover further topis, it wouldn’t be a surprise if ongoing negotiations were cancelled at some point in the near future.

Government Vision for post EU Trade and Customs

by Politicker 0 Comments

The Government have released white papers which pave the way for legislation that will ensure the UK is ready for the first day after the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Trade White Paper, published by the Department for International Trade, establishes the principles that will guide future UK trade policy as well as laying out the practical steps that will support those aims.

UK Trade White Paper (pdf)

The paper establishes the principles that will guide future UK trade policy as well as laying out the practical steps that will support those aims and includes:

  • taking steps to enable the UK to maintain the benefits of the World Trade Organisation’s Government Procurement Agreement
  • ensuring the UK can support developing economies by continuing to give them preferential access to UK markets
  • preparing to bring across into UK law existing trade agreements between EU and non-EU countries
  • creating a new, UK trade remedies investigating authority

The Customs Bill White Paper, published by the Treasury, sets out plans to legislate for the standalone customs, VAT and excise regimes the UK will need once it leaves the EU.

Customs Bill White Paper (pdf)

Later this year, the government will bring a Customs Bill before parliament. The Customs Bill will give the UK the power to:

  • charge customs duty on goods; define how goods will be classified, set and vary the rates of customs duty and any quotas
  • amend the VAT and excise regimes so that they can function effectively post-exit
  • set out the rules governing how HMRC will collect and enforce the taxes and duties owed
  • implement tax-related elements of the UK’s future trade policy

For perhaps the first time, the Paper also consider a scenario, where the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated outcome on customs arrangements.

In this scenario, the Bill will make provision for the UK to establish a standalone customs regime from day one, including setting tariffs and quotas, and establishing a goods classification system in line with the government’s WTO obligations. The UK would apply the same customs duty to every country with which it does not have a trade deal or otherwise provide preferential access to the UK market, such as schemes for developing countries. The level of this duty would be decided by the government, and set out in secondary legislation before the UK leaves the EU. Currently, for the EU as a whole, only around 30% of imported goods (in value terms) are subject to the Common External Tariff. On the whole, traders who already import from outside the EU should see no change in the customs declarations procedures for those imports.

References

Government sets out vision for post EU trade and customs policy

Preparing for our future UK trade policy

WTO Agreement on Government Procurement

Customs Bill: legislating for the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes

UK Trade Tariff: community and common transit outwards

PM statement on leaving the EU

Following the Prime Ministers speech in Florence, she made the following statement to Parliament on 9th October 2017, regarding the Brexit negotiations.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on our plans for leaving the European Union.

Today the fifth round of negotiations begins in Brussels and this government is getting on with the job of delivering the democratic will of the British people. As I set out in my speech in Florence we want to take a creative and pragmatic approach to securing a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union which spans both a new economic relationship and a new security relationship.

So let me set out what each of these relationships could look like – before turning to how we get there.

Economic partnership
Mr Speaker, I have been clear that when we leave the European Union we will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union. The British people voted for control of their borders, their laws and their money. And that is what this government is going to deliver. At the same time we want to find a creative solution to a new economic relationship that can support prosperity for all our peoples.

We do not want to settle for adopting a model enjoyed by other countries.

So we have rejected the idea of something based on European Economic Area membership. For this would mean having to adopt – automatically and in their entirety – new EU rules over which, in future, we will have little influence and no vote.

Neither are we seeking a Canadian-style free trade agreement. For compared with what exists today, this would represent such a restriction on our mutual market access that it would benefit none of our economies.

Instead I am proposing a unique and ambitious economic partnership. It will reflect our unprecedented position of starting with the same rules and regulations. We will maintain our unequivocal commitment to free trade and high standards. And we will need a framework to manage where we continue to align and where we choose to differ.

There will be areas of policy and regulation which are outside the scope of our trade and economic relations where this should be straightforward. There will be areas which do affect our economic relations where we and our European friends may have different goals; or where we share the same goals but want to achieve them through different means. And there will be areas where we want to achieve the same goals in the same ways, because it makes sense for our economies.

Because rights and obligations must be held in balance, the decisions we both take will have consequences for the UK’s access to the EU market – and EU access to our market.

But this dynamic, creative and unique economic partnership will enable the UK and the EU to work side by side in bringing shared prosperity to our peoples.

Security relationship
Let me turn to the new security relationship.

As I said when I visited our troops serving on the NATO mission in Estonia last month, the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security. And we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or manmade disasters.

So we are proposing a bold new strategic agreement that provides a comprehensive framework for future security, law enforcement and criminal justice co-operation: a treaty between the UK and the EU. We are also proposing a far reaching partnership on how together we protect Europe from the threats we face in the world today. So this partnership will be unprecedented in its breadth and depth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence and security, and development.

Implementation
Let me turn to how we build a bridge from where we are now to the new relationship that we want to see.

When we leave the European Union on 29th March 2019 neither the UK, nor the EU and its Members States, will be in a position to implement smoothly many of the detailed arrangements that will underpin this new relationship we seek. Businesses will need time to adjust and governments will need to put new systems in place. And businesses want certainty about the position in the interim.

That is why I suggested in my speech at Lancaster House there should be a period of implementation – and why I proposed such a period in my speech in Florence last month.

During this strictly time-limited period, we will have left the EU and its institutions, but we are proposing that for this period access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and Britain also should continue to take part in existing security measures. The framework for this period, which can be agreed under Article 50, would be the existing structure of EU rules and regulations.

Now I know some people may have some concerns about this. But there are two reasons why it makes sense.

First, we want our departure from the EU to be as smooth as possible – it wouldn’t make sense to make people and businesses plan for two sets of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU.

Second, we should concentrate our negotiating time and capital on what really matters – the future long-term relationship we will have with the EU after this temporary period ends.

During the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK; but there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new immigration system required to re-take control of our borders. And our intention is that new arrivals would be subject to new rules for EU citizens on long term settlement.

We will also push forward on our future independent trade policy, talking to trading partners across the globe and preparing to introduce those deals once this period is over. How long the period is should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new systems we need. As of today, these considerations point to an implementation period of around two years.

And as I said in Florence – because I don’t believe that either the EU or the British people will want us to stay longer in the existing structures than necessary, we could also agree to bring forward aspects of that future framework, such as new dispute resolution mechanisms, more quickly if this can be done smoothly. At the heart of these arrangements, there should be a clear double lock: guaranteeing a period of implementation giving businesses and people the certainty they will be able to prepare for the change; and guaranteeing this implementation period will be time-limited, giving everyone the certainty this will not go on forever.

Negotiations
Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Florence speech was to move the negotiations forward and that is exactly what has happened.

As Michel Barnier said after the last round, there is a “new dynamic” in the negotiations. And I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for all he has done to drive through real and tangible progress on a number of vital areas.

On citizens’ rights, as I have said many times this government greatly values the contributions of all EU citizens who have made their lives in our country. We want them to stay. In Florence, I gave further commitments that the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU, will not diverge over time, committing to incorporate our agreement on citizens’ rights fully into UK law and making sure the UK courts can refer directly to it.

Since Florence there has been more progress including reaching agreement on reciprocal healthcare and pensions, and encouraging further alignment on a range of important social security rights. So I hope our negotiating teams can now reach full agreement quickly.

On Northern Ireland, we have now begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area and associated rights. And we have both stated explicitly we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland, and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland, to get this right.

Then there is the question of the EU budget.

As I have said, this can only be resolved as part of the settlement of all the issues that we are working through. Still I do not want our partners to fear that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership. And as we move forwards, we will also want to continue working together in ways that promote the long-term economic development of our continent.

This includes continuing to take part in those specific policies and programmes which are greatly to our joint advantage, such as those that promote science, education and culture and those that promote our mutual security. And as I set out in my speech at Lancaster House, in doing so, we would want to make a contribution to cover our fair share of the costs involved.

Mr Speaker, I continued discussions on many of these issues when I met with European leaders in Tallinn at the end of last month. And in the bi-lateral discussions I have had with Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Szydlo, President Tusk and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, they welcomed the tone set in Florence and the impact this was having on moving the negotiations forwards.

Legislation
Mr Speaker, preparing for life outside the EU is also about the legislative steps we take. Our EU Withdrawal Bill will shortly enter Committee Stage, carrying over EU rules and regulations into our domestic law from the moment we leave the EU.

And today we are publishing two White Papers on trade and customs. These pave the way for legislation to allow the UK to operate as an independent trading nation and to create an innovative customs system that will help us achieve the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade as we leave the EU. And while I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality. So that is exactly what we are doing.

These White Papers also support that work, including setting out steps to minimise disruption for businesses and travellers.

Conclusion
Mr Speaker, a new, deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and a strong and successful European Union is our ambition and our offer to our European friends.

Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU. And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic it will receive a positive response.

Because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us – but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our European friends too. So while, of course, progress will not always be smooth; by approaching these negotiations in a constructive way, in a spirit of friendship and co-operation and with our sights firmly set on the future, I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong. And I believe we can seize the opportunities of this defining moment in the history of our nation.

Mr Speaker, a lot of the day to day coverage is about process. But this, on the other hand, is vitally important. I am determined to deliver what the British people voted for and to get it right.

That is my duty as Prime Minister. It is our duty as a Government. And it is what we will do. And I commend this Statement to the House.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-on-leaving-the-eu-9-oct-2017

Brexit Negotiations 4 – Press Conference, Michel Barnier

In the press conference held at the end of the 4th Round of Brexit Negotiations between the UK and the EU Michel Barnier said:

Thank you, David.

Good afternoon to all of you.

The Prime Minister’s speech in Florence has created a new dynamic in our negotiations. We have felt this during the negotiations this week, as David just said.

On Monday, I said that we needed a moment of clarity. David and I – as well as our teams – worked well together. I want to thank both teams for their dedication, professionalism and expertise.
We managed to create clarity on some points. On others, however, more work remains to be done. We are not there yet. But we will keep working in a constructive spirit until we reach a deal on the essential principles of the UK’s orderly withdrawal.

Allow me also on my side to briefly outline what was agreed this week and what more needs to be done.

On citizens’ rights, our priority, the UK has agreed to give direct effect to the Withdrawal Agreement. This is very important. It will give the assurance to our citizens that they will be able to invoke their rights, as defined by the Withdrawal Agreement, before UK courts.

We agreed to guarantee – for the citizens concerned – that the UK will apply EU law concepts in a manner that is consistent with EU law after Brexit. But we failed to agree that the European Court of Justice must play an indispensable role in ensuring this consistency.

This is a stumbling block for the EU.

There are others:

  • A big gap remains between our positions on family reunification. We want existing rights to continue for the citizens concerned.
  • The export of social security benefits also remains to be discussed.
  • Citizens need simplified administrative procedures. The UK stated its intention to put in place a streamlined system. We are looking forward, David, to hearing the details about this new system.

On the financial settlement, an expert group held detailed talks on some technical aspects. Those talks were useful.
Prime Minister May said two things in Florence,

  • First: that no Member State should pay more; and no Member State should receive less because of Brexit.
  • Second, that the UK will honour commitments taken during its membership.

This week, the UK negotiating team made clear that applying the first principle would be limited to 2019-2020.

The UK explained also that it is not in a position yet to identify its commitments taken during membership.

For the EU, the only way to reach sufficient progress is that all commitments undertaken at 28 are honoured at 28.

On Ireland: once again, we had a constructive discussion and we made progress in some areas.
As David just said, both the EU and the UK recognise that Ireland is in a unique situation. Any solution will need to be fully informed by the special circumstances on the island of Ireland.
As I mentioned several times, such solutions must respect both the integrity of the Union’s legal order, and the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts.
We also confirmed our commitment towards maintaining the Common Travel Area, and started drafting common principles.
*
Ladies and gentlemen,
We’ve had a constructive week – yes – but we are not yet there in terms of achieving sufficient progress.

Further work is needed in the coming weeks and months.
In three weeks from now, the October European Council will be an opportunity for me to take stock of the negotiations with President Juncker and President Tusk and the 27 Heads of State or Government.

I also look forward to the European Parliament’s resolution next week – which is important.

I hope that the new dynamic created by Prime Minister May’s speech in Florence will continue to inform our work. Let’s leave it here. We will pick up in the week of 9 October where we left off this week.

Thank you for your attention.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-3547_en.htm

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-3547_en.pdf

Brexit Negotiations 4 – Press Conference, David Davis

The usual press conference was held at the end of the 4th Round of Brexit Negotiations between the UK and the EU held from the 25th to the 28th September 2017.

David Davis said:

There is no doubting that this was a vital round of negotiations,taking place just days after an important intervention by the British Prime Minister.

Theresa May’s speech in Florence had at its heart a desire to drive progress this week. It was intended to change the dynamic and instil real momentum.,It set out a clear, pragmatic approach designed to help secure an agreement that works for all sides.,It built on the hugely significant work that has gone on across Government over the last year that has seen us publish 14 papers covering technical negotiation detail and the United Kingdom’s vision for the future relationship, the Article 50 letter and two crucial White Papers.

So this week my negotiating team came to Brussels armed with the detailed thinking that underpins the proposals set out by the Prime Minister. And while, inevitably, this requires further discussion, I believe that thanks to the constructive and determined manner with which both sides have conducted these negotiations we are making decisive steps forward.

After four rounds, when I look across the full range of issues to do with our withdrawal from the EU, I am clear that we have made considerable progress on the issues that matter:

  • Increasing certainty for citizens and businesses.
  • Providing reassurance to our EU partners in regards to our mutual financial obligations.
  • And agreeing on some of the key principles in relation to the issues arising for Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Now I make no secret of wanting to talk about the future, and the importance of this to business and citizens both in the European Union and the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister’s speech sets out the scale of our ambition here as well as our proposal for a simple, clear, time-limited period of implementation. This period, based on current terms, will ensure people, businesses and public services only have to plan for one set of changes. I believe this should be quick to agree, once Michel has a mandate to explore it with us.

As the Prime Minister said last week, our shared future can only be founded on partnership, friendship and most importantly trust. This is what discussions this week have been about. Which brings me to the detail of our discussions.

Citizens’ rights
On citizens’ rights, we have made real progress on issues which will enable citizens on both sides to continue to live their lives broadly as they do now. We will publish an updated table later today which shows many areas of agreement. So I am pleased to report that we have have agreed most aspects of social security coordination, building on the progress in the last round, which I told you about last time.

The United Kingdom thinks that in some cases we must go beyond the strict requirements of current EU law in order to protect citizens. For example we have offered the European Union guaranteed rights of return for settled EU citizens in the UK, in return for onward movement rights, right for onward movement, for our UK nationals who currently live within the EU27. And I look forward to the response of the Commission to this offer, once they have consulted with the Member States.

But we must also acknowledge that a major question remains open between us – it relates to the enforcement of citizens’ rights after we leave the European Union. The UK has been clear that, as a third country outside of the European Union, it would not be right for this role to be performed by the European Court of Justice. But we have listened to the concerns that have been raised – and as a direct result of hearing those concerns the United Kingdom has committed to incorporating the final withdrawal agreement fully into UK law. Direct effect if you like. We also recognise the need to ensure the consistent interpretation of EU law concepts.

We have not agreed the right mechanism for doing this yet but discussions this week have again been productive.

And we have provided further reassurance on how European Union citizens will be able to apply for a new status, once we leave. And we know that those already holding permanent residency documents should not have to go through the full process. So we presented early thinking on detailed processes and plans on how we might ensure this does not happen.

It’s all about providing certainty, clarity and stability for EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU27. And represents pragmatic compromises to our shared challenge of ending anxiety for those citizens. The shape of a deal is becoming clearer. We need to continue to work to address this in the interest of citizens on both sides.

Financial settlement
In her recent speech, the Prime Minister reassured our European partners they’ll not need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current EU budget plan, as a result of our decision to leave. The UK has explained this reassurance in detail to the Commission.

The Prime Minister also made clear that the UK will honour its commitments made during the period of our membership. We are not yet at the stage of specifying exactly what these commitments are. That will need to come later. Nevertheless, our negotiating teams have held very constructive discussions this week on detailed technical issues relating to that. This work is necessary so that when the time comes we will be able to reach a political agreement. And discussions will continue.

Ireland
On the issues that arise from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in relation to Northern Ireland and Ireland, we have had a constructive discussion and made progress in some areas.

Both sides recognise that the unique situation and the special circumstances on the island of Ireland must fully inform any solutions. We welcome the EU’s recent guiding principles paper which reaffirms the high degree of alignment between us on this vital strand.

Specifically, this week, we have begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area and associated rights. We have both agreed that the Good Friday Agreement citizenship rights must be upheld and we are working together on how this commitment is best codified.

The joint work which we agreed in the August negotiating round on preserving the North-South cooperation strand is moving along at pace. We are addressing complex issues here but both are resolved to finding imaginative solutions. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland – and across the island of Ireland – to see these commitments through.

Separation issues
We remain firmly committed to making as much progress as possible on those issues that are related to our withdrawal from the EU institutions and must be resolved before our departure from the European Union.

I am encouraged by the progress we have made this week on issues relating to Euratom. The EU welcomed our clear statement that we will maintain the same standards in our future nuclear safeguards regime which will be run by our existing nuclear regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation. We are now close to reaching agreement on the vast majority of issues set out in our position papers on this issue. Of course, we want to have a close and effective relationship with Euratom in the future and the best way to secure that is to press on with discussions on the details of this new partnership.

On a number of other issues – goods, union and Member State procedures, privileges and immunities and ongoing confidentiality obligations – we have had constructive discussion on technical issues and in some areas, reached agreement on the core issues.

At the beginning of the week, I mentioned the UK’s real and ongoing commitment to our European friends and allies. Our commitment to that ideal has been clear in these negotiations on those issues which relate to our departure from the institutions.

Conclusion
As I said at the start — this round was a vital one.

We’ve made important progress and capitalised on the momentum created by the Prime Minister’s speech.

We are working quickly through a number of complex issues, yet there remain some points where further discussion – and pragmatism – will be required to reach agreement. It is true that there are differences of opinion. But with the continued diligence and creativity of our teams, I am confident we can resolve these.

While the UK’s departure from the European Union is inevitably a complex process, it is in all of our interests for these negotiations to succeed. We must never forget the bigger picture. Britain wants to be the European Union’s strongest friend and partner. We want us both to thrive side by side.

I leave Brussels optimistic about this future and I look forward to continuing the negotiations.

Thank you.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/david-davis-closing-remarks-at-the-end-of-the-fourth-round-of-eu-exit-negotiations-in-brussels

css.php