Over the last four years David Chapman has kindly contributed several well-informed briefings on the EU and our departure from membership tomorrow night, as in this site’s Brexit hub. The following of last Saturday is a helpful, succinct summary of the situation but is not to be regarded as definitive. I append extracts from a latest opinion and some links for readers who may like to monitor developments outside mainstream media:
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS AT 11 pm, 31st JANUARY 2020?
For several weeks now I have been asking this question, hoping today that buying two newspapers with headings such as “Signed and Sealed” would provide the answers, only to find there is not one mention of the facts in either of them! At one stage some weeks ago I even wrote to the Brexit Party – with no reply as yet!
In the end as with so many things, we have to search it out for ourselves. Admittedly it has been by asking ‘Google’ the same question and I am grateful for the news items they supply, and in this case mainly to the i for its coverage. Whilst 31st January is a major step, here is what I understand happens:-
1. Britain, UK and Northern Ireland, cease to be a Member State of the European Union (EU).
2. We enter a Transition period during which time :-
a) We abide by EU rules
b) Preparations are made for businesses and governments to prepare for new post-Brexit arrangements,
c) We negotiate with the EU new Trade Terms/Relationship
d) Freedom of Movement Rights continue between EU and Britain
e) UK remains part of EU Trade deals (around world)
f) UK is able to negotiate new independent Trade deals with all Countries (but not implement till end of Transition period)
g) UK REMAINS in the Customs Union and Single Market, therefore continuing to be subject to EU regulations
h) Security (Defence etc) cooperation continues (therefore, we remain under EU Policy in this respect)
i) UK remains subject to EU Law and Rulings of the European Court of Justice
j) UK remains part of the Common Fisheries Policy
k) UK can scrutinise new EU Laws and debate them in our Parliament, but must accept them
3. UK have no representation in the EU Parliament (MEP’s)
4. There will be NO UK Commissioner in Brussels
5. No UK Minister will attend EU Council Meetings
6. We are unable to prevent enforcement of existing or new EU Laws
7. UK remains responsible for our share of any debt in the event of failure of the European Investment Bank (basically the Bank that bails out failing Member States of the EU)
8. The Transition period in UK Law until 31st December 2020 can be extended with EU if agreed prior to 31st July, but a new Bill would be needed to go through our Parliament as 31st December 2020 is part of UK Law now
9. Failure to agree a proper Trade Deal and Terms by this date means International Security terms would apply, and Trade would be on the basis of World Trade Organisation Terms (basically equal tariff terms for each Nation)
10. Still to learn whether we are ceasing our Annual Fees at end-January, or end-December
11. The ‘divorce Fee’, somewhere now in region of £30 billion
I hope the above is helpful for this next period of time, where clearly we shall want for the UK and Northern Ireland the very best arrangements that can be made. The journey to the ‘promised land’ has still some very important months to go, and we must not become complacent or misled into thinking the job is done at 31st January this year, though it is a major step in the process, but clearly is not the moment for Big Ben to bong yet!.
Dave Chapman, 25th January 2020
Brexit Central – Keep Up-to-Speed With Post-Brexit Negotiations/Developments
Brexit Central – Brexit Reflections from Sir Bill Cash
Former No 10 communications director Sir Ronnie Gibb makes a strong case as to why The EU has failed to grasp that the whole new political landscape has utterly changed and there’s now no turning back! In view of our monitoring the Eire-Ulster issue with Roger Jervois’ help, my extract from his article begins,
‘Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taioseach – presumably with one eye on Ireland’s election next month – suggests the EU will have the “stronger team” in the talks and that Britain has “yet to come to terms with the fact that it’s now a small country”.
‘But the whole landscape of Brexit has changed. Theresa May’s plan was to minimise the level of friction for British business trading with the EU. Boris Johnsons’ Government is happy to accept some friction, with its main focus being British sovereignty. That means no interference by the European Court of Justice, no bargaining away our fishing rights and critically, no automatic alignment with EU rules and regulations.
‘Yes that means some friction, some extra paperwork, but British businesses have the clarity they have sought for years. Want to know what the Government is looking for out of this new relationship? Read the Conservative manifesto – it’s all there.
‘This stand-alone provision has the effect of keeping Northern Ireland in both the EU and UK customs areas and with these arrangements, Britain is free to diverge from EU rules when it wants. This is the biggest change that the EU does not seem to grasp…’
He concludes, ‘Fears that a deal will need to be ratified by every EU government are unfounded as the Government believes it is asking for nothing more than already sits within scope of the European Commission.
‘We are leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. We are leaving the jurisdiction of European courts, we will regain control of our fishing industry and our farming. We will bring in a points-based visa system to attract the best and brightest. The EU needs to accept that things have changed and there is no turning back.’
This morning’s Brexit Briefing reports ‘Yesterday afternoon, as expected, MEPs in Brussels overwhelmingly voted – by 621 to 49 – in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement – almost the last piece in the Brexit jigsaw ahead of our formal exit tomorrow – yes, tomorrow – night…All that remains now is for the EU27 national leaders who comprise the European Council to submit in writing their approval for the deal by lunchtime today, which is the final formality…
‘…the speech of the afternoon came from Daniel Hannan, a Tory MEP for the last 20 years who has spent those two decades trying to do himself out of a job. In 90 seconds he encapsulated what I would reckon to be the feelings of the majority of Britons as he underlined that he was basically comfortable with the original terms of EEC membership based on trade, but that after the now European Union was created by the Maastricht Treaty and it started accruing the trappings and powers of a quasi-state, a parting of the ways became inevitable. “You are losing a bad tenant and gaining a good neighbour,” he concluded.