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Brexit Brexit Negotiations Trade

Open letter to business on the Implementation Period

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Chancellor Philip Hammond, and Greg Clark, Business Secretary have written to businesses setting out the UK’s ambitions for an implementation period following Brexit.

In the joint letter, the three Cabinet Ministers outline the Government’s commitment to providing businesses with the certainty and clarity they need to plan ahead.

Dear business leaders,

The Government is determined to support businesses and the economy, and is committed to implementing the Government’s Industrial Strategy, building a Britain fit for the future. As this new year gets underway, we are also conscious that many businesses are examining the implications of our withdrawal from the EU for themselves and their supply chains. Businesses have been clear that they need time to adjust to the terms of our new relationship with the EU – and are therefore following closely negotiations on the Government’s proposal for a time-limited implementation period.

The purpose of such a period is to give people, businesses, and public services in the UK and across the EU the time they need to put in place the new arrangements that will be required to adjust to our future partnership. This is why, during the implementation period, we are clear that the UK’s and the EU’s access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms, meaning there will only be one set of changes at the end of the implementation period, as we move into our future partnership. The period’s duration will be strictly time-limited, and should be determined simply by how long it will take to make these changes – as the Prime Minister has previously set out, this will be around two years.

We know this proposal has been warmly welcomed by businesses up and down the country, and in the EU, promising the certainty and clarity needed to plan ahead. We are therefore pleased that at the December European Council, EU leaders endorsed this proposal, and agreed guidelines that will enable our teams to discuss and confirm at pace the detailed arrangements, giving them legal form in the Withdrawal Agreement.

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Brexit Trade

David Davis – Teesport Speech

Speech in Teesport by David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Implementation Period – A Bridge to the Future Partnership between the UK & EU

Welcome everybody to tropical Teesport.

When the Cabinet meets next week and various of my colleagues moan about how cold it was in Davos I’ll suggest they try the North Sea in January.

Teesport – this is the export capital of England really. Teesport handles more than 40 million tonnes of cargo a year, importing and exporting goods that are used in sectors right across the economy. It acts as a gateway to the world for businesses not just in the North East, but also across the UK and Europe. And as we get on with the job of leaving the European Union — a move backed overwhelmingly by the people of Teesside — there will be new opportunities for ports like this, as you actually outlined in your speech, and for businesses like the ones in this room to cast their sights beyond Europe, to new markets around the whole world.

Today I want to talk specifically about the bridge that we plan to build, to smooth the path to our new relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

A strictly time limited implementation period, which forms a sound basis for the UK’s future prosperity. That allows us to grasp the benefits of Brexit by setting in place the fundamental building blocks for the country as we leave and a bridge that will give more certainty and clarity for ports like this, and businesses right across the United Kingdom and Europe.

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General Info Trade

A Deep and Special Partnership (Germany)

A deep and special partnership is a joint article by Philip Hammond and David Davis that appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 10 January 2018.

Today (10 January 2018) we’re both in Germany to highlight the important relationship that exists between our countries.

It’s a relationship built on shared interests and shared values, that has helped both our nations prosper and grow.

And while the UK will leave the EU next year, we can still look to the future with a shared vision — one that sees Germany, Britain and the EU continue to thrive, and our relationship remain strong and close.

Trade between the UK and EU 27 is worth €750 billion a year — and a quarter of EU exports to Britain, worth €113 billion, come from Germany, more than any other EU country.

Of course we understand that Germany and other EU countries want to protect the integrity of the single market, and that without all the obligations of EU membership third countries cannot have all the benefits.

Those priorities are not inconsistent with ours — a deep and special partnership with our closest trading partners and allies.

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Brexit Negotiations

Brexit Negotiations – Round 6

It’s hardly worth even mentioning details of the Round 6 Negotiations between the UK and the EU but for completeness here are the relevant happenings.

The talks were scheduled to take place on the 9-10 November 2017 with the following brief Agenda

At the usual Press conference after Round 6 negotiations finished, the following statements were made.

Statement by Michel Barnier

Brussels, 10 November 2017

Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for the interest you show in this negotiation. Do not expect from us today, at this stage, announcements or decisions.

The discussions over the past days – in between the two European Councils – are a moment of deepening, clarification and technical work.

We are determined to reach a deal on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, in view of the UK’s decision to leave. This is our absolute priority – as well as mine and my team’s – in view of the European Council on 14 and 15 December.

The decisions and guidelines of the European Council, particularly last month, and the resolutions of the European Parliament guide me every day in this work. When you read these resolutions and conclusions, you see again that only sufficient progress, i.e. sincere and real progress, on the three key areas of this negotiation will allow us to open the second phase of the negotiations. These three subjects are – I repeat – inseparable.

I would like to repeat that in this extraordinary negotiation, which is extraordinarily complex, that we are not demanding concessions from the United Kingdom, and we do not intend on issuing concessions either. We work on the basis of fact, and law, and on precise, reciprocal commitments. And we should – and we wish to – create certainty, especially legal certainty, where Brexit has created uncertainty and a lot of worry.

Ladies and gentlemen,
On citizens’ rights, we are making some progress, although we need to work further on a number of points.

The UK wants to put in place administrative procedures through which EU citizens can obtain “settled status”. The EU needed reassurances on how such a system would work: it should be simple to use, and low cost. We also needed reassurance on how people, when rejected, can appeal effectively. The UK has now provided useful clarifications that are a good basis for further work.

We also had encouraging discussions on direct effect of the withdrawal agreement. This is a key point to guarantee citizens’ rights.

There are still a number of points that need more work:
o family reunification;
o the right to export social security benefits;
o and the role of the European Court of justice in guaranteeing consistent application of case law in the UK and in the EU.

These three issues are important for people, as the European Parliament has also stressed.

We will continue our dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

We have to ensure a common reading, the same reading, of the conditions, consequences and implications of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area. This should lead us to identify the technical and regulatory solutions necessary to prevent a hard border, while preserving the integrity of the Single Market. As David and I told you last time, the unique situation on the island of Ireland requires specific solutions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On the financial settlement, we must now work on the precise translation of the commitments made by Prime Minister May in her Florence speech. I repeat that this is an essential condition to reach sufficient progress in December. Once again, I repeat that this – as in any separation – is about settling the accounts.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union over 500 days ago. And it will leave the Union on 29 March 2019 at midnight, Brussels time. And to reach our common goal – that of organising an orderly withdrawal with an agremeent – we are going to have to work intensively over the coming weeks, before the next European Council.

Thank you.

Statement by David Davis.

Thank you, Michel.

Last month I welcomed Michel’s recognition of the new dynamic in the talks created by the Prime Minister’s Florence speech. That speech set out a clear and pragmatic approach to securing an agreement that works for both the United Kingdom and the European Union. One that heralds a new era of cooperation and partnership between us.

During the October discussions we isolated the key remaining issues on Citizens’ Rights, Northern Ireland, and the Financial Settlement as Michel has just told you. So this week our focus has been on finding solutions to those issues. It was, of course, inevitable that our discussions would narrow to a few outstanding – albeit important – issues.

So we have continued to work through these remaining issues – consolidating the progress we’ve made since June and exploring options for reaching agreement. And now is the time for both sides to move together to seek solutions.

This is a serious business. If we are to find a way forward it will require flexibility and pragmatism from both sides as I think Michel also stressed.We have been clear with the EU that we are willing to engage in discussions in a flexible and constructive way to reach the progress needed.I will now address each issue in turn.

Northern Ireland
On Northern Ireland we have continued to have good, technical discussions.We have drafted joint principles on the continuation of the Common Travel Area and associated rights. We have continued to explore how best we preserve North-South cooperation. And we are drafting joint principles and commitments which will guide the solutions drawn up in the second phase.

We have also had frank discussions about some of the big challenges around the border. We remain firmly committed to avoiding any physical infrastructure and we have been clear about that this week.

These discussions will of course continue in the run-up to the December Council but let’s be under no illusion. We will only be able to conclude them finally in the context of the future relationship. We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and Customs Union. But that cannot come at cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom.

As I have said before, we recognise the need for specific solutions for the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. But let me be clear.
This cannot amount to creating a new border inside our United Kingdom. Now in this process, we are resolutely committed to upholding the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, in all its parts. We need to approach the challenging issues that arise as part of this process in a spirit of pragmatism, creativity and with a high degree of political sensitivity. We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland and of Ireland to do so.

Citizens’ Rights
We have continued to make progress on Citizen’s Rights. We are now seeking political solutions to the last outstanding issues on both sides. Earlier this week as Michel said, we published a detailed note setting out our new administrative procedures for European Union citizens seeking settled status in the UK. This delivers on a commitment I made in the last round of negotiations and discussed in the press conference too.

We listened carefully to the concerns raised about this process and we’ve responded. As our paper sets out, the new procedures will be as streamlined and straight-forward as possible and will be based on simple, transparent criteria laid out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

This week, we have discussed options for resolving issues ranging from family reunification to the export of benefits. For example, we have been clear that we are willing to consider what further reassurance we can give to existing families – even if they are not currently living together in the UK. There are a few areas where our citizens need to see further progress and movement from the European Union.

On the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, the European Union’s approach remains more narrow than we would like. We believe it is only right that people holding qualifications or in the process of acquiring them should be allowed to continue or begin their careers as they do now. We want to protect their livelihoods in line with our broader approach that people should be able to continue living their lives as they do now.

On voting rights, we are disappointed that the EU has been unwilling so far to include this in the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. As citizens may lose a right which they currently enjoy. However, if it does fall out of scope, we will discuss this issue bilaterally with Member States.

Finally, this week we have sought to give further clarity on our commitment to incorporate the agreement on Citizen’s Rights into UK law. This will ensure that EU citizens in the UK can directly enforce their rights in UK courts – providing certainty and clarity in the long term. We have made clear that, over time, our courts can take account of the rulings of the European Court of Justice in this area, to help ensure consistent interpretation. But let me be clear, while we share the same aims, it remains a key priority for the United Kingdom, as we leave the European Union, to preserve the sovereignty of its courts.

Financial Settlement

On the financial settlement we have made substantial technical progress across all the issues that will need to be addressed. The Prime Minister was clear in her Florence speech. But let me reiterate once again. Our European Partners will not 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 the commitments we have made during the period of our membership. We are making clear progress in building a common technical understanding on every item.

Conclusion

But as I outlined at the start – this week has enabled us to consolidate the progress of earlier negotiating rounds and to draw out those areas where further political and technical discussion is required. This is now about moving into the political discussions that will enable both of us to move forward together.

We must now look ahead to moving our discussions onto our future relationship.

For this to happen, both parties need to build confidence in both the process and indeed in the shared outcome. And we remain ready and willing to engage as often and as quickly as needed to secure this outcome over the weeks remaining ahead of the December European Council.

The United Kingdom will continue to engage and negotiate constructively as we have done since the start. But we need to see flexibility, imagination and willingness to make progress on both sides if these negotiations are to succeed and we are able to realise our new deep and special partnership.

From the text of these statements it’s possible to draw your own conclusions about how negotiations are progressing.

In questions from the press after the statements were made, Barnier suggested that the UK would have to clarify its position (concede to EU demands?) in the next 2 weeks on what it would pay to settle its obligations to the EU if the talks were to have achieved “sufficient progress” ahead of December’s European Council meeting.

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Brexit Negotiations

David Davis – Statement at end of Round 5 negotiations

David Davis made the following statement during the press conference following the end of the fifth round of Brexit negotiations.

Thank you Michel.

At the last round of talks we spoke of a new dynamic and Michel has referred to that. Our negotiating teams have continued to work constructively together in a professional and determined manner this week. And they have developed, as Michel says, an increased sense of shared political objectives.

Now while there is still work to be done, much work to be done, we have come a long way. And it is important to recognise the significant progress we have made since June. Let me, as Michael did, take the issues in turn.

Citizens rights

On citizens rights, we have made further progress to give British citizens in the EU and EU27 citizens in the UK the greatest possible legal certainty about the future. Our legal orders will, in the future, be distinct and different. So this week we explored ways of making sure the rights we agree now will be enforced in a fair and equivalent way. And in a way that gives citizens confidence that their rights will be upheld.

We have also explored ways in which we could fulfil the Prime Minister’s commitment to implement the Withdrawal Treaty fully into UK law which would give confidence to EU citizens living in the UK that they would be able to enforce their rights, as are set out in the Agreement, in UK courts. And we have discussed ways of ensuring the consistent interpretation of the concepts of EU law that will underpin much of our Agreement.

While we have not yet arrived at a single model that achieves this we have explored creative solutions and are confident that we’ll reach an agreement soon. We have also focussed this week on the other remaining issues on which we have not yet arrived at a solution and Michel referred to a few of them. These are:

  • the right to bring in future family members
  • to export a range of benefits
  • to continue to enjoy the recognition of professional qualifications
  • to vote in local elections
  • to move within the 27 as a UK citizen
  • to leave for a prolonged period and yet continue to enjoy a right to remain or permanent right of residence on return

These issues are not easy, but we have approached them with a shared spirit of trying to find solutions and both teams will now reflect further on that. We are taking a pragmatic approach. As demonstrated by our offer of a guaranteed right of return for settled citizens in the UK in return for onward movement rights for UK citizens currently living in the EU. We look forward to hearing the European Union’s response to this.

I want to highlight one particularly productive area of our talks this week.

And I recognise that there has been some anxiety about EU citizens rights to settled status in the United Kingdom. But today I can confirm that we want to reassure those European citizens living in the UK that their rights and status will be enshrined in UK law by the Withdrawal Agreement. And yes, there will be a registration process but the administration process will be completely new. It will be streamlined, and it will be low cost.

And in addition to that any EU citizen in the UK already in possession of a permanent residence card will be able to exchange it simply for settled status in a simple way. They will not have to go through the full application process again. And to reassure those affected I can confirm that the tests associated with this process will be agreed and set out in our Withdrawal Agreement. We will also make sure that citizens rights of review of – and redress for – any errors will be quick, accessible and fair.

I will set out our position on ensuring citizens’ future rights in a statement for the Commission, a written statement, which they can share with the European Union 27.

And as a result of our productive discussions, the Commission is also able to offer similar guarantees in return for those British citizens in the European Union.

This is a very welcome clarification and has built real confidence that the rights of EU citizens in the UK – and British citizens in the European Union – will continue to be accessible in the most straightforward way possible. In summary, I think that this week of talks has brought us even closer to a deal that gives citizens rights to the legal certainty that they deserve.

Northern Ireland

I welcome the advances too that we have made on the discussions on Northern Ireland and Ireland.

This week we developed the joint principles on the continuation of the Common Travel Area. Our teams have also mapped out areas of cooperation that operate on a North South basis.

As Michel said, there is more work to do here in order to build a fuller picture of how we overcome the challenges to North-South cooperation once the UK has left the European Union. But I’m pleased to say we have made further progress here.

We have also agreed, based on critical guiding principles which both sides recognise, we will start working on a common understanding on possible commitments and undertakings necessary to effectively protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions.

I said last time that we were determined to tackle the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland by focusing creatively on specific solutions and we have begun to do so. As the Prime Minister said in her statement to Parliament this week, “We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland—and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland—to get this right.”

Financial settlement

On the financial settlement, we have continued in the spirit fostered by the Prime Minister’s significant statements in her Florence speech.

In line with the process agreed at our last round of talks, we have undertaken a rigorous examination of the technical detail where we need to reach a shared view.

This is not a process of agreeing specific commitments – we have been clear this can only come later.

But it is an important step, so that when the time comes we will be able to reach a political agreement quickly and simply.

Separation issues

On separation issues we have continued to work through the detail on a range of issues.

And while we have made good progress, particularly on those areas relating purely to our withdrawal, we believe these issues are dependent on discussions on our future relationship. And as I’ve said before, we are ready and well-prepared to start those discussions.

Conclusion

So, our aim is to provide as much certainty as possible to business, citizens and the European Union. And on this we are making real and tangible progress. But I make no secret of the fact that to provide certainty we must talk about the future.

The Prime Minister’s speech set out the scale of our ambition for our deep and special partnership with the European Union. And also laid out the case for a simple, clear and time-limited period of implementation on current terms.

As I said when I stood here last time, I hope the leaders of the 27 will provide Michel with the means to explore ways forward with us on that. And to build on the spirit of cooperation we now have.

I have always been clear that we would enter these negotiations in a constructive and responsible way.

The work of our teams and the substantial progress that we have made over recent months proves we are doing just that. As we look to the October European Council next week, I hope the Member States will recognise the progress we have made, and take a step forward in the spirit of the Prime Minister’s Florence speech. Doing so will allow us to best achieve our joint objectives by turning the ideas we have explored into concrete shared proposals. That’s the way that we’ll move towards a deal that works for both the United Kingdom and the European Union.