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UK Position Paper – Northern Ireland and Ireland

This document, a Postion Paper prepared by the UK Government, outlines the UK’s position on addressing the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and Ireland in light of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It sets out the UK’s proposals in the following areas

  • Upholding the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement in all its parts
  • The UK proposes that the Withdrawal Agreement confirms that the current substantive position is not changed as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and that both parties recognise that it will remain unchanged

  • Maintaining the Common Travel Area and associated rights
  • The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a special border-free zone comprising the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and was created before either the UK or Ireland were members of the EU. The CTA arose to facilitate the principle of free movement for British and Irish citizens between the UK, Ireland and the Islands, and the reciprocal enjoyment of rights and entitlements to public services of citizens when in the other’s state.

    The UK proposes that the UK and the EU seek to agree text for the Withdrawal Agreement that recognises the ongoing status of the CTA and associated reciprocal arrangements following the UK’s exit from the EU. The UK believes that this proposal is consistent with the European Commission’s directives

  • Avoiding a hard border for the movement of goods
  • The UK Government’s clear priority in devising new border arrangements is to respect the strong desire from all parties and all parts of the community in Northern Ireland and Ireland to avoid any return to a hard border, and to maintain as seamless and frictionless a border as possible including customs arrangements.

  • Aiming to preserve North-South and East-West cooperation, including for energy
  • The UK proposes that the UK and the EU should focus in the initial phases of the dialogue on reaching a common understanding of the principles of North-South and East-West cooperation. It is important that the negotiations achieve the objective of upholding the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement itself, and also that, crucially, the UK and the EU do not do anything to obstruct the existing, wide range of cooperation between Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain in the future partnership.

An in-depth discussion of these topics is described in the published document available from

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/northern-ireland-and-ireland-a-position-paper

and the actual paper is available at

Northern Ireland and Ireland POSITION PAPER (pdf)

The Government also issued 2 additional papers.

Common Travel Area Data and Statistics covers the available data relating to the movement of people withing the Common Travel Area between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland as of August 2017.

Common Travel Area Data and Statistics (pdf)

This document shows an estimate of cross border traffic between Northern Ireland and Ireland of around 110,000,000 people crossing annually and more than 15.4 million crossings between the UK and Ireland made by air or ferry transport. Trips are made for work and study, shopping, visiting friends and family, holidays and business trips. A number of people have a daily commute across the border.

Northern Ireland Trade Data and Statistics covers the available trade data and statistics relating to Northern Ireland as of August 2017. It covers

  • Value of trade between Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain
  • Characteristics of exporting businesses in Northern Ireland
  • Volumes of freight to and from Northern Ireland
  • Agriculture and food cross-border supply chains

Northern Ireland Trade Data and Statistics (pdf)

Data from the Office of National Statistics show that the UK had an overall trade surplus with Ireland of £7 billion (£25.7 billion or 5% of UK exports, £18.7 billion or 3% of UK imports) in 2015. The majority of UK exports to Ireland were trade in goods, worth some £16.8 billion, while UK imports of goods from Ireland were worth £12.8 billion.

Other References:

Pledge to protect Belfast Agreement and Common Travel Area announcement.

UK Policy Paper – Future Customs Arrangements

This Government Policy Paper discusses options for new customs arrangements between the UK and the EU in a future partnership following Brexit and was issued by HM Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union. It was released on 15 August 2017.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-customs-proposals-laid-out-by-government-in-new-paper-on-future-relationship-with-the-eu

As we leave the European Union and therefore the EU Customs Union, the Government seeks a new customs arrangement that facilitates the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods between the UK and the EU, and allows the UK to forge new trade relationships with its partners in Europe and around the world.

The paper details the Government’s aspirations for the UK’s future customs arrangements.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-customs-arrangements-a-future-partnership-paper

The Government is seeking to establish a new customs arrangement between the UK and the EU following Brexit, that removes the need for a UK-EU customs border.

They are also suggesting an interim period be established for a limited time following Brexit, in order to fully implement any new system and minimise existing trading arrangements. During an interim period, the UK would continue to seek trade agreements with other countries, but be dependent on the terms negotiated for the interim agreement.

The paper includes proposals that to minimise disruption to trade across the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and ensure it as seamless and frictionless as possible.

More detail is available in the paper at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/637748/Future_customs_arrangements_-_a_future_partnership_paper.pdf

Brexit Negotiations – Round 2

The second round of negotiations between the UK and EU took place over 4 days from 17-20 July 2017.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/agenda-2nd-round-eu-uk-article-50-negotiations_en

David Davis’ opening remarks at the start of the first day were (short and sweet):

It’s good to be back in Brussels, to open the next formal round of the negotiations.

We made a good start last month, and as Michel says we are now getting into the substance of the matter.

As you’ve heard, it’s four categories; the issue of citizens rights, the issue of finance, the issue of separation issues and of course, separately, Northern Ireland.

For us it is incredibly important that we now make good progress, that we negotiate through this and identify the differences so that we can deal with them, and identify the similarities so we can reinforce them.

And now, it’s time to get down to work and make this a successful negotiation.

Thank you very much indeed.

The UK negotiating team started this round with a team of 98 people to continue discussions in 4 areas:

  • Citizens Rights
  • Financial settlement
  • Ireland
  • Separation Issues

A joint Technical Note was issued, which outlines the status of the UK and EU current positions on citizens’ rights.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/joint-technical-note-eu-uk-positions-citizens-rights-after-second-round-negotiations-0_en

The closing statements given at the end of the 2nd round of negotiations are available at

From David Davis

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

and Michel Barnier

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-2108_en.htm

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the Repeal Bill, was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Thursday 13 July 2017. This stage is formal and takes place without any debate. MPs will next consider the Bill at Second Reading. The date for second reading has not yet been announced.

This Bill is the first piece of Government legislation relating to Brexit since Article 50 was triggered in March.

The Bill repeals the 1972 European Communities Act which took the UK into the EU. It is designed to convert EU law into UK law and to ensure continuity of the rules and laws currently in place in the UK on the day after Brexit.

The Bill can be found at

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0005/18005.pdf

Explanatory notes are provided at

https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0005/en/18005en.pdf

Factsheets providing further information about the Repeal Bill can be found on the Government’s web-site at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-about-the-repeal-bill

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-about-the-withdrawal-bill

Details of the individual Factsheets are added here for convenience:

Guidance for businesses and organisations on the Repeal Bill at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-businesses-on-the-repeal-bill

UK Negotiating Documents – Update 1

The second round of negotiations takes place week commencing 17 July 2017.

Position papers outlining how the UK will negotiate on important issues related to Brexit have been published, ahead of the meetings, and will be presented to the EU team next week.

David announced the release of these documents and said

These position papers mark the fair and transparent way that the UK is approaching Brexit negotiations ahead of the second round of talks next week — and demonstrate how deciding the shape of our future partnership with the EU is inextricably linked with our withdrawal talks.

While we’re leaving the EU we are not leaving Europe, and we want to continue cooperating with our friends and neighbours on issues of mutual importance including nuclear safeguards.

By ending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, UK courts will be supreme once more. Our sensible approach to pending cases means there would be a smooth and orderly transition to when the court no longer has jurisdiction in the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/position-papers-published-ahead-of-july-negotiation

The papers are dated 13 July 2017 and include:

Ongoing Union Judicial and Administrative Proceedings

The United Kingdom (UK) is leaving the European Union, and our ambition is to secure a smooth and orderly exit. It will be important to have a clear position on the status of both any UK legal cases before the European Court of Justice (CJEU), and any administrative procedures before the Union institutions, offices and agencies that on exit day have not yet concluded. This is in order to minimise uncertainty and disruption for individuals and businesses.

Nuclear materials and safeguards issues

In notifying the intent to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom (UK) also notified of the intent to leave the Euratom Community. While the UK is leaving Euratom we want to continue working closely with the Euratom Community to help ensure a smooth and orderly exit and to pave the way for a future relationship that benefits the UK and the remaining 27 Member States.

Privileges and Immunities

Whilst the United Kingdom (UK) is leaving the European Union (EU), our ambition is to form a deep and special partnership. It will be important to have in place a legally acceptable framework of Privileges and Immunities that allows for the smooth conduct of relations between the UK and the EU

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