Category Archives: Brexit

Arron Banks orders Verhofstadt to retract false claims

Lawyers for Brexit campaigner Arron Banks ordered the European Parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator to retract a claim that Banks colluded with Russia to deliver the UK vote to leave the European Union.

Guy Verhofstadt, who leads the European Parliament Brexit coordination team, said on Twitter that far-right and right wing leaders across Europe made up a fifth column of cheerleaders for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a letter to Verhofstadt, Bank’s lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, quoted the tweet which mentioned former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage as a cheerleader and he “colluded w/ Russians to deliver #Brexit”.

Northern Ireland to receive special status for EU trade

The United Kingdom will attempt to break the deadlock in the Brexit negotiations with a proposal to grant Northern Ireland joint UK and European Union status so that it can trade freely with both, The Sun newspaper reported.

Brexit Secretary David Davis  has put forward a proposal of a 10-mile (16-km)-wide trade buffer zone along the border that would be in effect for local traders like dairy farmers after the UK leaves the bloc, the newspaper said.

The special economic zone will mean traders, who constitute the overwhelming majority of cross-border traffic, can operate under the same rules as those south of the border, the report said, citing a senior government official.

Hammond: clarity on customs is top priority

“Britain is leaving the political institutions of the EU; but it is not leaving Europe, and British prosperity is, and always will be, closely bound to European prosperity,” – said  Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, addressing the European Business Summit in Brussels (24/05/2018) – “So Europe’s success – and the success of the Euro as a currency – is very strongly in Britain’s interest, and we will not do anything which jeopardises that success”.

“Our economy is recognisably a European-style economy with high levels of consumer and worker protection, a highly developed social welfare system and strong environmental standard, and it is the clear wish of the British people, regularly demonstrated, to keep it that way as we build a new deep and special partnership with the European Union” – Hammond continued.

“We have made significant progress since Article 50 was triggered, just over a year ago both in our own internal debate about what Brexit should mean, and in our negotiation with the EU”.

“I know that for business getting clarity on our future customs relationship is a top priority, and so it should be a top priority for European governments too” – Hammond underlined.

European Business Summit is an organization creating  and supporting networking and debating events in Brussels, including  the annual European Business Summit #EBS2018, with a principal goal to bring business and politics together and stimulate debate on the most challenging European issues of the moment. The latest event took place in d’Egmont Palace, Brussels on 23-24 May 2018.

UK and Ireland face similar Brexit trade challenges

he United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland face similar trade-related exposures to Brexit a new report by academic think tank The UK in a Changing Europe finds.

The report – Brexit and the island of Ireland – finds Brexit trade-related exposure of the UK varies between 9.8% to 16.3%; in the Republic of Ireland it is 10.12-10.13%. UK is 4.6 times more exposed to Brexit than the rest of the EU; the Republic of Ireland is 3.8 times more exposed to Brexit than the EU; and Northern Ireland is 4.4 times more exposed than the rest of the EU.

 The 10 chapter report is being launched on the day of The UK in a Changing Europe’s Brexit and the island of Ireland conference in which keynote speakers are Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP and The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP. Other speakers include the former prime minster of Ireland John Bruton, Lord Bew, Gerald Angley from the Embassy of Ireland, Great Britain, Catherine Moroney, head of business banking at AIB and Lord Paddy Ashdown.

The report finds the peace process and Good Friday Agreement are absolutely critical in the Brexit negotiations. Brexit will unsettle many of the assumptions of the peace process around British and Irish identity and may exacerbate divisions. National identity may become a signifier not only of national difference but also of those who are EU citizens and those who are not.

 One of the report’s authors argues that the UK can deliver on the promise of no hard border in Ireland without remaining in the EU customs union or inventing new and complex schemes involving the tracking of individual consignments to their final destination.

 Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research, the report finds the proportion of people in Northern Ireland wanting to Remain has risen since the 2016 referendum. 69% would vote Remain if there was another referendum compared to the 56% who voted Remain at the time of the referendum.

 Professor Anand Menon (pictured), director The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “This report shows that, whatever the outcome of Brexit, it will impact significantly, and in a number of different ways, on the island of Ireland. It is therefore incumbent upon all parties in the negotiations to deal with the issues with the due care, attention, sensitivity, respect and honesty.”

Johnson defines Customs partnership as”crazy”

Britain’s proposal for a customs partnership with the European Union after Brexit is “crazy“, foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, deepening divisions in the government of Prime Minister Theresa May. He criticised Prime Minister Theresa May’s compromise policy as a “crazy system” that would leave the UK “locked in the tractor beam of Brussels”, in an interview with Daily Mail newspaper ahead of his visit to Washington.

“If the EU decides to impose punitive tariffs on something the UK wants to bring in cheaply there’s nothing you can do” – Johnson continued.

“That’s not taking back control of your trade policy, it’s not taking back control of your laws, it’s not taking back control of your borders and it’s actually not taking back control of your money either, because tariffs would get paid centrally back to Brussels.”

The words got positive assessment of Nigel Farage, considering them “sensible”.

Johnson said the trade deal with the USA in not attainable if the UK remained “in the lunar pull of Brussels”. He clarified  that Americans wanted to see “

Barnier enters Irish border polemics with DUP

Michel Barnier, the EU top Brexit negotiator said “the time has now come to resolve the contradictions” over the Northern Irish border. His position was announced ahead of the visit to the island of Ireland for attending the conference on Civil Dialogue, and hear opinions from both sides.

Barnier also warned that protracted negotiations over the Irish border issue would lead to entire collapse of the Brexit Article 50 talks.

Commenting Barnier’s position, the Northern Ireland DUP party contested his position of an ‘honest broker’, understanding complexity of the issue. “…His proposal of us being in an all-Ireland regulatory scenario with a border down the Irish Sea simply does not work. I don’t think he does understand the wider unionist culture of Northern Ireland,” DUP’ leader Arlene Foster said to the UK national broadcaster.




Brexit impacts workers rights in UK

Part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, many of whom are women and from minority ethnic communities, may find that their rights at risk after Brexit a new report by The UK in a Changing Europe and the Oxford Human Rights Hub finds.

The EU has generated important regulations for the protection of precarious workers, namely the Part-Time Workers Directive, the Fixed Term Workers Directive and the Agency Workers Directive. Given these are not protected by primary legislation in the UK, they could be amended by ministers through Henry VIII powers without going through the full parliamentary procedure of primary legislation.

 The report ‘The Continuing Impact of Brexit on Equality Rights’ finds the EU Withdrawal Bill weakens equality and human rights after Brexit in three ways:

  1. Removes a possible constitutional protection of equality rights – in the absence of a codified constitution, EU law operates as a constitutional protection of equality rights. There is a possibility that the Equality Act 2010 could be amended by delegated legislation
  2. Weakens remedies that can be used to protect these rights – EU law helps to ensure adequate compensation for those whose rights have been harmed
  3. Creates uncertainty – it will be hard to determine which fundamental rights exist independently from the EU Charter.

 The future of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the UK remains uncertain. Currently, the Charter is not transposed into UK law by the EU Withdrawal Bill-(which transposes EU law into UK law). This means British citizens may find they are afforded the same protections once the UK leaves the EU. The EU Charter, and the general principles, bolsters the protection of equality rights by ensuring legislation, delegated legislation and directly effective EU law are interpreted and applied in a manner which protects fundamental rights. The situation remains in flux: this week the House of Lords voted to retain the Charter, but it is likely that the amendment will be reversed when the Bill goes back to the House of Commons.

 The report highlights the risks to women’s equality in relation to trade deals after Brexit noting the UK may choose to roll back minimum rights, such as maternity rights or rights of agency workers.

 The EU Withdrawal Bill creates an uncertain and potentially confusing relationship between the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and UK courts, stemming from the differences drawn between EU law before and after exit day. The Bill states the UK Supreme Court will not be bound by retained EU case law and the Supreme Court could deviate from EU case law. The Court will be free to interpret retained case law and general principles of EU law differently than the CJEU and the report finds this could be a moment to leave behind CJEU case law that curtails the growth of equality.

 The UK pioneered equality legislation before the EU including race and disability discrimination legislation. Over the past 50 years, EU law has also proved an important protector of equality rights in the UK, particularly for women and on labour laws. This vibrant, interactive relationship will end once the UK leaves the EU.

 The UK in a Changing Europe and the Oxford Human Rights Hub are holding a Brexit and equality event today at 4pm at the British Academy with keynote speaker, Baroness Jenny Jones (Green Party) and a panel discussion about the key issues around equality rights post-Brexit with Schona Jolly QC (Cloisters), Professor Catherine Barnard (The UK in a Changing Europe) and chaired by Dan Roberts, the Guardian’s Brexit policy editor.

« Older Entries