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Brexit round-up – 12/10/18

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.

EU officials report progress in Brexit negotiations

EU negotiators have found renewed momentum in the Brexit negotiations with several EU officials expressing optimism that a Brexit deal can be reached by the end of the year. Although obstacles remain, such as a solution to the Northern Ireland border issue, European Council President Donald Tusk said an agreement was possible by the end of the year, whilst Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission confirmed the chance of the UK and the EU reaching a deal has increased in the last few days and could be agreed by November 2018. Both sides hope to reach an agreement by an EU summit to be held on 17 October 2018.

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Scottish National Party (SNP) Leader delivers keynote speech

During the SNP Autumn conference, the SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon stated that she was “more confident than ever” that Scotland would become independent whilst adding that members must “wait for the fog of Brexit to clear” and work to win people over who voted to remain in the European Union in 2014. To conclude the speech, Mrs Sturgeon described Brexit as a “serious problem” and repeatedly prompted the cause of independence and clarified that a Scottish independence referendum must be deferred until there is clarity over Brexit.

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How will Brexit affect the Good Friday Agreement?

The House of Lords has published a Library Briefing in advance of a debate in the House of Lords on a motion moved by Labour Peer, Lord Dubs on the “impact of the Good Friday Agreement of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.” The briefing provides background information on the changing context of the Good Friday Agreement represented by Brexit, summarises aspects of the withdrawal negotiations particularly relating to Northern Ireland and provides a summary of the political context in which the negotiations are currently taking place within the UK.

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Budget submission sets the tone for post-Brexit economy

Carolyn Fairbairn, the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Director-General, has urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to focus on key areas to unlock economic growth in a letter ahead of the Government’s Autumn Budget submission. The letter recommends that the Budget must help tackle the immediate impact of Brexit uncertainty whilst emphasising that businesses urgently require a one-stop shop for advice and information as the clock ticks down to March 2019. The recommended policies are structured around short-term, medium-term and long-term reform, suggesting policies for this year’s Autumn Budget that are financially viable for the Government.

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Date set for Brexit court case

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will consider on 27 November 2018 whether Brexit can be halted if MPs want it to be. The ECJ confirmed the case has been “granted the fast-track procedure” after a Scottish court said the issue was “urgent.” The fast-track procedure comes after the Court of Session in Edinburgh said it was referring the question to whether the UK is able to unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 letter in March 2017. If it is successful, the case could significantly strengthen the position of MPs should they wish to keep the UK in the EU after the final details of its departure terms are known.

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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 in the lead-up to Brexit, 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.

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