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The future relationship between the UK and the EU – White Paper

The long-awaited White Paper on the Future Relationship between the UK and the EU, has been published (12 July 2018). This follows on from the contents being agreed (unanimously) by the Cabinet at the recent meeting at Chequers. The document has more than 104 pages.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-future-relationship-between-the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union

The newly appointed Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, is making a statement to the House of Commons about the Brexit White Paper. The statement was interrupted and the House of Commons suspended while MPs were given copies of the white paper. John Bercow, however, rejected a further request to suspend the sitting so that MPs could have time to read the White Paper.

(in case you don’t know who Domininc Raab is …)

https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/Dominic-Raab/4007

Here’s the statement:

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement about the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

Let me start by paying tribute to my Right Honourable Friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden, and his Herculean efforts along with my Honourable Friend the Member for Wycombe and the wider Dexeu team, to get us to this point in both the negotiations and the successful passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill. It is a striking achievement.

My Right Honourable Friend is a loss to Government, but I suspect, with the mildest apprehension, a considerable gain to this House.

Shortly, we will publish the Government’s White Paper on the UKs Future Relationship with the European Union. It is a new and detailed proposal for a principled, pragmatic and ambitious future partnership between the UK and the EU, in line with the policy agreed at Chequers last week.

I am placing a copy of the White Paper in the Libraries of both Houses, but let me briefly set out the key proposals. Mr Speaker, the Government is determined to build a new relationship that works for both the UK and the EU, one grounded in our shared history, but which looks to a bright and ambitious future. A relationship that delivers real and lasting benefit to both sides.

First, Mr Speaker the White Paper confirms that the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, forging a new way in the world – outside the Single Market, outside the Customs Union. It safeguards the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK. It reclaims the UK’s sovereignty. and it protects our economic interests, by minimising the risk of disruption to trade.

UK Government in Brexit meltdown ?

Is the UK Government in a Brexit meltdown? Following the meeting of the full cabinet at Chequers, which came up with an “agreed” plan for the future relationship between the UK and EU following Brexit. It appears, however, that perhaps everyone is not actually in agreement with initial skirmishes from Brexit supporting MPs considering it to be a bad “deal”.

David Davis resigns from his position as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and chief Brexit negotiator for the UK saying he could no longer support the government’s Brexit policy announced at Chequers last week.

He said it was “not tenable” for him to stay in post and try to persuade Tory MPs to back the policy when he did not think it was “workable”.

“The best person to do this is someone who really believes in it, not me.”

He was closely followed by his No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.

Number 10 has announced Dominic Raab, a Brexit-supporting minister, to replace David Davis as Brexit secretary.

Raab was previously housing minister and replaces Davis, who resigned late on Sunday night saying he could no longer support the government’s Brexit policy announced at Chequers last week.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative backbencher and chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, has said that the fact that No 10 is briefing Labour MPs on Theresa May’s Brexit policy suggests that May thinks she will have to rely on “socialist votes” to get her plan through Parliament.

Boris Johnson resigns as Foreign Secretary shortly before Theresa May makes a statement in Parliament.

In his resignation letter Johnson said

“The Brexit dream is dying”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been named as the new Foreign Secretary. In his initial comments he said

He would be standing “four square” behind the prime minister “so that we can get through an agreement with the European Union based on what was agreed by the Cabinet last week at Chequers.

(assuming, of course, that the EU negotiation team want to play ball!)

Parliamentary private secretary Chris Green, has also resigned saying in his resignation letter,

“The direction the negotiations had been taking have suggested that we would not really leave the EU and the conclusion and statements following the Chequers summit confirmed my fears.”

It seems that Theresa May has managed to head off a possible leadership challenge, at least for the time being, following a meeting with the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs. Under Conservative party rules it is necessary for 48 MPs (15% of MPs) to write a letter to Graham Brady, chair of the 1933 Committee requesting a leadership challenge.

With the addition of Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary, the most powerful positions in the cabinet PM, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary (referred to as the Great Offices of State) are now held by MPS who wanted to Remain in the EU. Looks like Theresa is setting out her intention to Remain after all.

Michael Gove has urged Tory MPs to back a compromise Brexit plan as the best chance of a “proper” exit from the EU. He told the BBC it was not all he hoped for, but said he was a “realist” and dismissed claims it would leave the UK as a “vassal state”. But he warned the EU had to be more generous or the UK would have no option than to walk away without a deal.

An option from the Chequers meeting, which is being somewhat overlooked by the mainstream media, refers to increasing preparations for a no-deal scenario resulting from negotiations with the EU. In this case, the UK would trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. Preparation for this possibility should have started 2 years ago, after Article 50 was invoked, but better late than never – this could possibly strengthen the UKs negotiating position with the EU who have proved somewhat intransigent in negotiations thus far with few if any concessions being made on their side (negotiations in “Good Faith” pah).

Alarmed at the threat of a no-deal Brexit, the Netherlands is recruiting 930 customs officers and 100 veterinary officials, following a recommendation from Pieter Omtzigt, a Dutch centre-right MP and two fellow MPs.

“The way Britain has waited so long has imposed real costs even if it is solved.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-netherlands/dutch-cabinet-drafting-playbook-for-chaotic-brexit-parliament-idUSKBN1JZ278

The European commission are being guarded in their response to the Chequers meeting, preferring to wait until it sees the British white paper, which is expected on Thursday.

In a tweet, perhaps still thinking the UK will remain in the EU, Donald Tusk said:

“Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain. I can only regret that the idea of #Brexit has not left with Davis and Johnson. But…who knows?”

Michel Barnier tweeted:

#Chequers discussion on future to be welcomed. I look forward to White Paper. We will assess proposals to see if they are workable & realistic in view of #EUCO guidelines. Next negotiations w/ #UK on WP, & Withdrawal Agreement, w/c 16 July #Brexit

Other interesting articles/reports/comments

Tony Connelly: The Chequers die is cast

EU diplomats remain guarded over May’s Brexit compromise

Chequers Meeting – 6 July 2018

The Prime Minister called a meeting of her entire Cabinet at Chequers, to finalise the Government’s Brexit trade policy and customs arrangement with the EU prior to publishing the official White Paper. The meeting was held on 6 July 2018.

It appeared to be an attempt to force her cabinet to back her vision for Brexit with apparent threats to sack ministers if they were to speak out against her plans.

This follows an earlier meeting of the Brexit War Cabinet which rejected her plans. Officially, this is the Brexit strategy and negotiation sub-committee which is chaired by Theresa May and meets to decide the detail of Brexit policies before presenting it to the full 23-member Cabinet for discussion and approval. Members of the Brexit War Cabinet are split with 5 from the Remain camp and 5 from the Leave camp.

In the full cabinet of 23 members, ministers in favour of Brexit are heavily outnumbered by 16 to 7

A number of statements were issued following the marathon 12 hour meeting, with no dissent eminating from ministers favouring Brexit, and appears to indicate a joint agreement was reached by the entire cabinet.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

Today in detailed discussions the Cabinet has agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU.

Our proposal will create a UK – EU free trade area which establishes a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products. This maintains high standards in these areas, but we will also ensure that no new changes in the future take place without the approval of our Parliament.

As a result, we avoid friction in terms of trade, which protects jobs and livelihoods, as well as meeting our commitments in Northern Ireland.

We have also agreed a new business-friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world.

Next week we will be publishing a white paper which will set out more details of how we will be taking back control of our money, laws and borders.

Now we must all move at pace to negotiate our proposal with the EU to deliver the prosperous and secure future all our people deserve.

The initial document published is the statement from the Government

Government Statement following the Cabinet away-day at Chequers

and a summary was published

“Here are 12 key principles that we will use in our EU negotiations as we continue along the road to Brexit.” – PM @Theresa_May”

However, it remains to be seen whther this is the end of the story …

EU Council Meeting 28-29 June 2018 (Brexit)

An EU Council meeting was held on 28-29 June 2018 which focused on migration. Leaders also discussed security and defence, as well as economic and financial affairs.

As regards Brexit, the European Council (Art. 50), in an EU 27 format, reviewed the state of play of Brexit negotiations and adopted conclusions on progress made.

  • The European Council welcomed the further progress made on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement. However leaders highlighted that important aspects still need to be agreed.
  • EU27 leaders expressed their concern that no substantial progress had yet been achieved on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland. They stressed the need for intensified efforts so that the Withdrawal Agreement, including its provisions on transition, can be concluded as soon as possible in order to come into effect on the date of withdrawal. Negotiations can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken so far are respected in full.
  • The European Council (Art. 50) stressed that work had to be accelerated with a view to preparing a political declaration on the framework for the future relationship. This requires further clarity as well as realistic and workable proposals from the UK as regards its position on the future relationship.
  • Finally, the European Council renewed its call upon member states, EU institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes.
  • EU Negotiation Documents – Catchup

    Catching up on various papers and slides published by the EU since May22 2018 related to the Brexit negotiations

    Slide on customs controls

    date: 22 May 2018

    This slide highlights the checks and controls that need to be carried out on goods entering, transiting or leaving the customs territory of the European Union. These controls are carried out by customs authorities, in close cooperation with other competent authorities, at the external border of the European Union. This slide also shows what checks and controls are not required if there is a customs union between the EU and a third country.

    N.B.: Note that in the case of a customs union, the levying of customs duties is removed and proof of free circulation is required instead of rules of origin. All other checks and controls are still necessary. This is indicated in red in the below slide.

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/customs_controls_0.pdf


    Slides on UK technical note on temporary customs arrangements.

    date: 11 June 2018

    These slides present an analysis of the ‘Technical Note: temporary customs arrangement’ published by the United Kingdom on 7 June 2018.

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/slides_on_uk_technical_note_on_temporary_customs_arrangements.pdf


    Infographic on the EU’s “backstop” proposal

    date: 11 June 2018

    This infographic presents a visual summary of the ‘Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland’, which is part of the draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19 March 2018.

    The ‘Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland’ operationalises in legal terms the agreement reached in the Joint Report of 8 December 2017 and the commitments undertaken by PM May in her letter to European Council President Donald Tusk of 19 March 2018

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/infographic_on_the_eu_backstop_proposal.pdf


    Involvement in the EU’s space-related activities (slides)

    date: 13 June 2018

    These slides summarise the possibilities for involvement of third countries in EU space-related activities, including Galileo, and provide a comparison with UK positions.

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/slides_on_the_eus_space-related_activities.pdf


    Foreign, security and defence policy (slides)

    date: 15 June 2018

    Slides on foreign, security and defence policy

    These slides provide a comparison with UK positions

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/slides_on_foreign_security_defence_policy.pdf


    Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

    date: 18 June 2018

    Slides on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

    These slides provide a comparison with UK positions.

    https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/slides-police-and-judicial-cooperation-criminal-matters_en


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