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Brexit round-up – 09/04/20

Welcome to this, our latest Brexit round-up. Each week we provide a succinct round-up of the latest news surrounding the Brexit process, so you can keep abreast of the issues which are likely to affect your organisation.

MEPs urge Brexit delay

The European Parliament’s largest group of MEPs have urged Boris Johnson to delay Brexit in light of the coronavirus outbreak saying the pandemic puts pressure on the chance of securing a trade deal by the planned date.  The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has contracted the disease, and UK’s chief negotiator David Frost has had to self-isolate.  The European People’s Party MEP Christophe Hansen said “Under these extraordinary circumstances, I cannot see how the UK government would choose to expose itself to the double whammy of the coronavirus and the exit from the EU single market, which will inevitably add to the disruption, deal or no deal.  I can only hope that common sense and substance will prevail over ideology.  An extension of the transition period is the only responsible thing to do.”   However, Mr Johnson has insisted that he will not delay talks and that he will not extend the Brexit deadline which is currently 31 December 2020 and his spokesperson said “The transition period ends on December 31 2020. This is enshrined in UK law.”

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Fisherman reject calls for Brexit extension

The Fishing for Leave campaign group have rejected calls for an extension to the transition period saying that failure to leave by the transition deadline would cause the UK to have to pay even more to the EU.  In a statement on Twitter, the group said “There cannot be a transition extension!  It would expose Britain to huge payments and any dodgy regulations the EU dreams up.  Better to leave on World Trade Organisation terms now when we’ve economic lockdown.”

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Brexit talks continue amid coronavirus

The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, has confirmed that Brexit talks are continuing regardless of the current coronavirus outbreak.  Following the first meeting last week, Mr Frost tweeted that he wanted to “reassure everyone” that contact was continuing between the UK and EU during the coronavirus outbreak and he said “We have remained in touch throughout, both sides have exchanged legal texts, and last week we had a series of conference calls to explore and clarify technicalities.”  Michel Barnier will now decide a timetable for further discussions in April and May.

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EU settlement applications will be delayed by coronavirus

EU citizens who are applying for permanent settlement in the UK for after Brexit are being advised by the Home Office that applications will take longer than usual to process due to the coronavirus outbreak.  The Home Office has advised that services have had to be scaled down due to the lockdown restrictions imposed by the government which have meant that staff are now having to work from home.  Telephones calls will not be answered and it has suspended applications being received by post.  Applicants must now apply online and can request a call back function if required.  The Home Office said “where a person eligible for leave under the EU settlement scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the application deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.”

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If you have any questions about any of the issues which are raised, or would like to discuss your own organisation’s options during the Brexit process, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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