REUTERS | Denis Balibouse

Brexit: May 2018 round-up

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 completed its passage through the House of Lords this month. The Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission also jointly published a document setting out the topics for discussion in the negotiations on the framework for the future UK-EU relationship.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (EUWB) completed its passage through the House of Lords (HoL) in May, and will return to the House of Commons for debate on the HoL’s amendments at a date to be confirmed:

  • On 2 May 2018, the HoL made further amendments to the EUWB concerning the use of delegated powers affecting the Northern Ireland-Ireland border and the mechanism for arranging devolved authority powers.
  • On 8 May 2018, the EUWB completed its report stage in the HoL. The HoL agreed more changes, which included removing the government’s fixed date for “exit day”, and adding as a government negotiating objective the UK’s continued participation in the European Economic Area after exit day.
  • On 16 May 2018, the HoL approved an amendment to the EUWB that would insert a new clause concerning the maintenance of EU environmental principles and standards after the UK.s withdrawal from the EU.

On 15 May 2018, the Scottish Parliament voted to refuse to consent to the EUWB, while the National Assembly for Wales approved a legislative consent motion that consented to the progress of the EUWB by the Westminster Parliament.

Future framework of UK-EU relationship

At the start of May, the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission jointly published a document setting out the topics for discussion in the negotiations on the framework for the future UK-EU relationship. The document sets out the discussions under four headings: basis for co-operation, economic partnership, security partnership, and cross cutting co-operation and standalone issues.

The European Commission subsequently published a slide on the possible framework for the EU-UK future partnership discussions, which it had discussed with the Council of the EU and the European Parliament Brexit Steering Group.

Later in the month the government published a presentation for discussion with the EU on the government’s vision for the future UK-EU economic partnership.

Future UK-EU customs and regulatory arrangements

On 15 May 2018, the House of Commons Library published a paper that considers the UK government’s two main post-Brexit alternatives to the EU customs union (maximum facilitation or a customs partnership) and a main alternative to single market membership (mutual recognition of regulatory standards with a focus on outcome alignment). The paper summarises each proposal and reactions to it, both in the UK and by the EU.

Progress of Article 50 negotiations

The House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee published a report on the progress, between March and May 2018, of the UK’s Article 50 negotiations with the EU on 24 May 2018. The report looks at negotiations on the draft withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future UK-EU relationship.

Data protection developments

A few days before the GDPR became applicable across the EU, the UK government published a presentation setting out its proposed framework for the UK-EU partnership in relation to data protection. However, on 26 May 2018, Michael Barnier, European Commission chief negotiator in relation to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, rejected several of the proposals in a speech given at the 28th Congress of the International Federation for European Law.

The EU and UK will agree on the future framework alongside the Withdrawal Agreement later in 2018.

Consumer protection issues

At the beginning of May, BEUC, the European consumer organisation, published a report calling for EU and UK authorities to take specific steps to ensure that consumer protection issues are sufficiently prioritised in the Brexit process. The report references the financial services, energy, mobile telephone, food and air transport sectors.

Practical Law In-house Robert Clay

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