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European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage

My previous report European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage 1-3 covered the first three debates in the House of Commons during the Committee Stage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The next 5 debates were largely overshadowed with the “media excitement” generated by the possibility of the UK being allowed by the EU to discuss a future possible trading relationship between the UK and countries in the EU.

The debates were held

  • 4th sitting – 4th Dec 2017
  • 5th sitting – 6th Dec 2017
  • 6th sitting – 12th Dec 2017
  • 7th sitting – 13th Dec 2017
  • 8th sitting – 20th Dec 2017 (final)

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was considered and amended in a Committee of the whole House which was completed on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Details for all the debates can be found on Parliament’s web-site at:

https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/europeanunionwithdrawal/stages.html

More than 500 amendments were considered for debate and a number of votes were taken during the proceedings.

New Clauses and Amendments considered in Committee of the whole House (excel spreadsheet).

An amendment by the Government to add the actual date and time of withdrawal from the EU to the Bill was accepted after a vote. This is defined as 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m.

The Government were only defeated following a vote to accept a proposed amendment by Dominic Grieve. Clause 9 allows the Government to use statutory instruments to implement the withdrawal agreement. This amendment requires Parliament to approve the final terms of the withdrawal agreement before the Government can implement the withdrawal agreement.

A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of implementing the withdrawal agreement if the Minister considers that such provision should be in force on or before exit day, subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Details of all the Committee Stages is summarised in an interesting article at the Institute for Government

EU Withdrawal Bill: amendments and debates

All the changes made to the original Bill are shown in the following document:

Version of the bill showing changes made in committee (pdf)

What happens next?

MP’s will next consider the Bill at Third Reading and Report Stage, known collectively as remaining stages. This will take place on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 January 2018.

Documents related to Brexit from the EU Parliament

I came across a number of interesting documents related to Brexit that have been produced following various Events, Workshops and Committee meetings held by the European Parliament. They provide interesting reading and background to positions held by the EU regarding the Brexit negotiations and the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

Workshops are organised by the policy departments and enable members to put questions to and exchange views with experts on subjects associated with parliamentary business or subjects of current interest. They are not necessarily held in public but may be held during a committee meeting.

Hearings
A committee is permitted to organise a hearing with experts, where this is considered essential to its work on a particular subject. Hearings can also be held jointly by two or more committees. Most committees organise regular hearings, as they allow them to hear from experts and hold discussions on the key issues.

Implications of ‘Brexit’ for the EU agri-food sector and the CAP

This workshop was held on 9 November 2017 and discussed the issue of the impact of Brexit on the EU’s agri-food sector and on the CAP.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-workshops.html?id=20171114WKS01121

It looked at 3 specific aspects of Brexit:

  1. Impact on the CAP budget
  2. Impact on EU-UK agricultural trade flows and
  3. Possible transitional arrangements in agriculture in light of the future EU-UK relationship.

A number of documents were produced:

Possible impact of Brexit on the EU budget and, in particular, CAP funding – Jacques Delors Institute

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/132065/PPT_CAP_Financing_EN.pdf (pdf)

EU – UK agricultural trade: State of play and possible impacts of Brexit – CIREM-CEPII

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/132066/PPT_EU-UK%20Trade_EN.pdf (pdf)

Possible transitional arrangements related to agriculture in the light of the future EU – UK relationship: institutional issues – Trinity College Dublin

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/132067/PPT%20Template%20-%20A%20MATTHEWSrev.pdf (pdf)

The implications of Brexit on the Irish border

During the 28 November meeting of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, a workshop was held on ‘The implications of Brexit on the Irish border’. This workshop was organised by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-workshops.html?id=20171123WKS01141

Brexit and Ireland – Legal, Political and Economic Considerations (pdf)

Smart Border 2.0 – Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland for Customs control and the free movement of persons (pdf)

PowerPoint Presentation on Smart Border 2.0 (ppt)

UK Withdrawal (‘Brexit’) and the Good Friday Agreement (pdf)

PowerPoint Presentation on ‘UK Withdrawal (‘Brexit’) and the Good Friday Agreement’ (ppt)

Hearing on the Impact of Brexit on Aviation – 11 July 2017

High level representatives in the field of aviation were invited to speak in the next TRAN Committee meeting on the topic of Brexit. Stakeholders discussed ways in which the UK’s departure from the EU is likely to impact the aviation industry from the perspective of the airports, the airlines and the tourism industry as a whole. The presentations were followed by a question and answer session with Members

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-hearings.html?id=20170705CHE02242

Hearing on the impact of Brexit on aviation (docx)

Kevin Toland, Dublin Airport (pdf)

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair (pptx)

Ralf Pastleitner, TUI Group (pdf)

Exchange of Views with Associations of Citizens on Brexit

held on 21 Nov 2017

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-other.html?id=20171123EOT01882

Statement from British in Europe (pdf)

Statement from the 3 million (pdf)

Brexit and the issue of the jurisdiction

During the AFCO meeting of 21 November, the Committee heard from two experts during the workshop ‘Brexit and the issue of the jurisdiction over the Withdrawal Agreement and the future relationship agreement between the EU and the UK’ organised by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/events-other.html?id=20171123EOT01881

The Settlement of Disputes arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (pdf)

Professor Steve Peers presented a briefing on “Jurisdiction upon and after the UK’s withdrawal: the perspective from the UK constitutional order” (I couldn’t find a copy of this – politicker)

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage 1-3

The committee stage of the Bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other provision in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU ( European Union (Withdrawal) Bill) has begun in the House of Commons.

This process started on Tuesday 14 November (Day 1) then Wednesday 15th November (Day 2) and continued on Tuesday 21 November 2017 (Day 3). Further debate is scheduled for Monday 4 December (Day 4), Wednesday 6 December (Day 5), Tuesday 12 December (Day 6), and Wednesday 13 December (Day 7) with the conclusion of consideration in Committee taking place on Wednesday 20 December (Day 8).

All documents associated with the Bill can be found on the Parliament web-site at

https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/europeanunionwithdrawal/documents.html

Thus far, the bill has proceeded with no major amendments.

Complete details of the debates covering the first 3 sittings can be found at

https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/europeanunionwithdrawal/stages.html

UK Policy Paper – Enforcement and dispute resolution

This policy paper discusses options for enforcement and dispute resolution mechanisms for UK-EU agreements after the UK has left the EU.

The direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in the UK will end after our withdrawal from the EU. There needs to be an agreement between the UK and the EU on how the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement can be monitored and implemented to the satisfaction of both sides, and how any disputes which arise can be resolved.

After leaving the EU, the UK will become a “third country” as far as the EU are concerned. Many free trade agreements between the EU and with third countries include provisions on resolving disputes through a binding arbitration model in addition to mechanisms for political agreement. Examples include the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement as well as the Ukraine and Moldova Association Agreements. There are currently no precedents for the CJEU to act as the means of enforcing an international agreement between the EU and one or more third countries and there does not appear to be any sound reason for the EU to try and enforce the jurisdiction of the CJEU other than for (EU) political reasons.

The UK position is that where the Withdrawal Agreement or future relationship agreements between the UK and the EU are intended to give rise to rights or obligations for individuals and businesses operating within the UK then, where appropriate, these will be given effect in UK law. Those rights or obligations will be enforced by the UK courts and ultimately by the UK Supreme Court.

There is no precedent, and indeed no imperative driven by EU, UK or international law, which demands that enforcement or dispute resolution of future UK-EU agreements falls under the direct jurisdiction of the CJEU.

The precedents examined in this paper demonstrate that there are a number of additional means by which the EU has entered into agreements which offer assurance of effective enforcement and dispute resolution and, where appropriate, avoidance of divergence, without necessitating the direct jurisdiction of the CJEU over a third party.

Such an arrangement, whereby the highest court of one party would act as the means of enforcing or interpreting an agreement between the two parties, would be exceptional in international agreements. The UK will therefore engage constructively to negotiate an approach to enforcement and dispute resolution which meets the key objectives of both the UK and the EU in underpinning the effective operation of a new partnership.

More details of the UKs position regarding future Enforcement and Dispute Resolution procedures are set out in the Policy Paper available at:

Enforcement and dispute resolution (pdf)

UK Policy Paper – cross-border civil judicial cooperation

This paper outlines the United Kingdom’s position on cross-border civil judicial cooperation in the future partnership with the EU after Brexit.

The UK Government will seek a deep and special partnership with the EU after Brexit. Within this partnership, cross-border commerce, trade and family relationships will continue. Building on years of cooperation across borders,
it is vital for UK and EU consumers, citizens, families and businesses, that there are coherent common rules to govern interactions between legal systems.

To this end, the UK, as a non-member state outside the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), will seek to agree new close and comprehensive arrangements for civil judicial cooperation with the EU.

Details of the UK’s negotiating position is fully outlined in the document available at:

Providing a crossborder civil judicial cooperation framework (pdf)

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