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Brexit round-up – 19/06/20

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.

Second meeting of withdrawal agreement joint committee

The second meeting of the joint UK-EU committee, responsible for overseeing the implementation and application of the withdrawal agreement, was held on 12 June 2020. The meeting was co-chaired by the UK Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič. Following the meeting the government said that only one decision was made, which was to correct ten minor errors and omissions in the withdrawal agreement relating to citizens’ rights and financial provisions. The government confirmed that it will not consider an extension of the transition period and said the “UK reiterated our commitment to protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all respects, and to upholding our obligations under the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK emphasised our commitment to EU citizens in the UK and ensuring that they and UK nationals in the EU have their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement protected.”

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EU’s statement following second meeting

Following the second meeting of the joint UK-EU committee, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič issued a statement. He noted that he was joined by Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, and 15 Member States representatives. He noted that the UK had confirmed that it did not want to extend the transition period and said that the EU remains open to an extension although this must be requested before 30 June 2020. He noted that if no extensions is requested then both sides have agreed to accelerate the implementation of the withdrawal agreement and to accelerate their work and that the joint committee should meet again in early September 2020 noting that “the window of opportunity to put in place the operational measures needed to ensure that the Protocol can function as intended on 1 January 2021 is rapidly closing.”

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UK-EU statement following high-level meeting on future relationship negotiations

On 15 June 2020, the high-level UK-EU meeting on the future UK-EU relationship negotiations took place by videoconference. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, to take stock of progress and agree actions to move the future relationship negotiations forward. Following the meeting, the government and the European Commission both published the same statement which said that the UK government had decided not to request any extension to the transition period, which will therefore end on 31 December 2020 in line with the provisions of the withdrawal agreement. It also noted that the parties agreed that new momentum was required, and supported the plans to intensify talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020. Both parties confirmed their intention was to work hard to deliver a future relationship which would work in the interest of UK and EU citizens and confirmed their commitment to the full and timely implementation of the withdrawal agreement.

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“Very good” chance of trade deal by December, says Boris Johnson

Following the high-level meeting which took place this week, Boris Johnson has said that new momentum is needed in negotiations between the UK and the EU but that if talks are intensified next month then there is no reason why a trade deal cannot be reached in July. Mr Johnson said the EU and the UK were “not that far apart” with regards to the future relationship, but he added that “a bit of oomph” was needed in the talks and said that there was a “very good” chance of getting a trade deal by the end of the year.

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Border controls will be introduced in stages

Following the government’s announcement that it will not extend the transition period, the government has announced that border controls for EU goods imported into Great Britain will be introduced at the end of transition period in stages to give businesses affected by coronavirus more time to prepare. The new measures will be introduced in three stages up until 1 July 2021. From 1 January 2021, traders importing standard goods will have up to six months to complete customs declarations and tariffs on goods can be deferred until a customs declaration has been made. Checks will also be carried out on controlled goods such as tobacco and alcohol with physical checks being put in place. From April 2021, all products of animals will require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation and from July 2021 traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Elizabeth de Jong, Policy Director at the Freight Transport Association, said “The logistics industry is extremely grateful for the measures announced by the UK government to stage the introduction of new trading arrangements between the EU and UK in the first six months after the Transition Period. They have listened to our concerns and made allowances to enable our sector to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and plan effectively so that we can continue to trade effectively with Europe.”

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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.

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