Note: This article first appeared in Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit on 3 January 2018 and we have permission to republish it.
The UK and the EU27 have said they want a close partnership post-Brexit but this year could test their co-operation on environmental protection in three ways.
Firstly, Brexit could have short term implications for the monitoring and reporting of the European Emissions Trading System – precisely at a time where annual allowances are up for negotiation. Secondly, planning for longer term climate action will become more challenging in the absence of a clear steer from the UK on whether it plans to participate in EU climate schemes and targets post-Brexit. Finally, the loss of a strong proponent of climate action in the European Council could also constrain the EU27’s ambition for global climate action post-Brexit.
Despite the potentially far reaching consequences for climate policy the UK Government has not, as yet, published detailed examination of the possible impacts of Brexit. Furthermore, there was no Government climate sector analysis in the documents released by the Exiting the EU Committee of the Parliament, in late December.
Read more on this issue here.
This post was originally published on our Insurance notes blog.
An opinion published by EIOPA on 21 December 2017 raises concerns for UK insurers who have policyholders in EEA states other than the UK. This will include, for example, every life company with annuitants living in an EEA state*, perhaps because they moved from the UK on retirement.
Insurers have been aware of issues raised by Brexit for legacy contracts written (or performed) cross-border since the UK referendum on EU membership (see, for example, our client briefing issued in July 2016). However, it has been widely hoped, to now at least, that a sensible compromise would be reached by the UK government and EU authorities to ensure that firms do not need to embark on expensive and time-consuming processes to avoid detriment to policyholders once the UK finally leaves the EU. Such a compromise currently appears less likely. Continue reading
The Brexit debate often looks different viewed from Brussels rather than from London. It is however important for businesses to also keep in mind the Brussels perspective and therefore we publish a regular view from our Brussels office on recent developments and the state of the negotiations.
In this third issue, we focus on the move from phase 1 discussions to the second phase involving discussion of the future relationship and transition. We also look at developments in other areas of preparation for Brexit including in relation to the EU Emission Trading Scheme, Justice and Home Affairs, the WTO, relocation of Agencies and the approach to Financial Services and Aviation.
Click here to read the full ‘The view from Brussels – developments in November and December.’
Following the European Parliament’s vote on 13 December and the European Council’s (EU27 leaders) confirmation today, Brexit negotiations are formally being allowed to move forward to phase two. New guidelines for the EU for this phase of negotiations have been released by the European Council following their formal adoption, read these here.
Following agreement reached in the early hours today on the Irish border issue, the negotiators have agreed that sufficient progress has now been made on the first phase of the negotiations in order to move on to the next phase which will cover preliminary and preparatory discussions on the framework for a future relationship.
The President of the European Council is recommending to the other Member States conclusions to this effect and proposes guidelines for the negotiation of the transitional arrangements which will involve the UK staying in the Single Market and Customs Union without a voice.
As for the “future relationship”, it is proposed that this will be the subject of a later recommendation. In the meantime, preparatory internal discussions are to continue and the UK is called upon to clarify its intentions. It is envisaged that the framework will be elaborated in a political declaration accompanying the Withdrawal Agreement.
A Joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK on progress during the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations was published today and is available here.
The report sets out the detail of the agreement in principle reached on the three main areas of the withdrawal negotiations on which sufficient progress was required:
- Protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU
- A framework for addressing the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland
- The financial settlement
The report also refers to progress on other separation issues such as the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom, ongoing judicial and administrative procedures, cooperation in civil and commercial matters and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
As the UK calls time on its 44 year membership of the EU, repercussions are felt further afield. African countries which currently access the EU via the UK, such as Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, or have the UK as their main end market within the EU will be exposed when the UK ceases to be an EU Member State.
Read more of our analysis on how Africa will be impacted by Brexit, including risks and opportunities, here.
The EU has released a Notice to Stakeholders that warns EU company law will no longer apply in the UK after Brexit. The main points it raises are:
- UK incorporated companies will become third country companies and branches in EU-27 Member States of UK incorporated companies will become branches of third country companies
- Member States may not be obliged to recognise the legal personality (and the protections that flow from it) of companies which are incorporated in the UK but have their central administration or principal place of business in the EU
- EU law on disclosure, incorporation, capital maintenance and alteration, and cross-border mergers will no longer apply. However as these are currently enshrined in UK company law, there would be no change on exit unless and until those UK provisions are amended.
- The UK business register will not be connected to the business registers interconnection system and the way information is obtained will be different.
If you think these company law changes may have consequences for your business, get in touch and we can guide you through these issues.
The UK Government introduced the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, previously known as the Customs Bill, to Parliament yesterday, in order to provide for the creation of a standalone UK customs regime. Negotiations between the UK and the EU are still focused on withdrawal and have not yet moved onto trade. However, this new Bill, once passed, will allow the UK Government to charge customs on specified goods and set preferential or additional duties in certain circumstances, e.g. to provide protection against unfair trade or to support developing countries by offering preferential treatment. The Bill complements the Trade Bill which was introduced to Parliament on 7 November and which will put in place the necessary framework for an independent trade policy for the UK outside the EU.
Read the full news story here.
The UK Government has announced that a new Bill will be released which will, once passed, enshrine the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU into UK law. This new Bill will ensure that the major policy decisions made in the Withdrawal Agreement are scrutinised by parliament before being made UK law. Before this announcement it was unclear as to whether the Withdrawal Agreement would be made into UK law via secondary legislation using the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19. The Bill is expected to include major policy issues such as financial settlements, citizens’ rights and the implementation period.
Click here to read the full press release made by the UK Government regarding this new Bill.
The UK Government has published a new Trade Bill which aims to ensure that the UK has the necessary tools in place to operate its own trade policy once it leaves the EU. The Bill includes provisions for the UK to implement existing EU trade agreements in order to provide continuity for businesses and consumers, by preserving the non-tariff elements of existing EU trade agreements to which the UK is currently party as an EU Member State. It also provides for the UK to become an independent member of the Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) which will continue to give UK businesses access to tenders for government contracts in 47 countries. A new independent trade remedies body, the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), is being created to protect UK businesses from unfair trade practices such as dumping by other countries. The Bill will be complemented by a new Customs Bill, due to be published shortly, which will allow the Government to create a standalone customs regime and amend the VAT and excise regimes.