Trade in services and Brexit

While the UK prepares to leave the EU, the future of services trade has received less attention in the public debate than trade in goods. The UK’s exposure to services trade means however that businesses in many sectors across the economy will be affected. This paper looks at the complexity of international trade in services and discusses what could change under the different future scenarios.…

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Planning for a no-deal Brexit

After Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019 the Government intensified planning for a no-deal Brexit and stressed its intention to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October with or without a deal. But the UK remained in the EU after 31 October after a further extension of the Article 50 period was agreed with the EU. A no-deal Brexit however remains the default outcome if an agreement is not ratified. This briefing paper provides an overview of Government and EU preparations for a no-deal Brexit, and of recent reports analysing the possible impact of this outcome…

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Brexit questions in national and EU courts

It has been predicted that Brexit issues will give rise to many legal actions in UK and other Member States’ courts, and the Court of Justice of the EU. While there have not yet been a great many, several cases have been brought by UK citizens living in other EU Member States, while other cases have been interesting for their implications for the UK’s future relations with the EU. This paper looks at issues that have been the subject of legal action in UK and EU courts. …

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Withdrawal Agreement Bill: The Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

What does the Withdrawal Agreement Bill say about what will happen to Northern Ireland post-Brexit? How will it translate into UK law the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement that replaced the ‘backstop’? …

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Revisions to the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations

The UK and EU agreed a revised Political Declaration on the framework for the future UK-EU relationship on 17 October. This Briefing provides an outline of the contents of the Declaration and the key changes in the revised text …

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The October 2019 EU UK Withdrawal Agreement

Boris Johnson’s Government have negotiated a new ‘deal’ with the European Union. It is formed of a Political Declaration and a Withdrawal Agreement. This paper focuses on the Withdrawal Agreement and how it compares to the one negotiated by Theresa May’s Government in November 2018.

The main differences are in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland or the ‘backstop’ as it is commonly known. It contains very different arrangements, the UK will no longer be in a single customs territory or union with the EU. The UK will no longer be legally bound to continue with level playing field commitments at the end of the transition period.

Northern Ireland will still be in the UK’s customs territory and VAT area, however, the region will align with the EU’s rules in these areas. Northern Ireland will remain mostly aligned to the EU’s regulations for goods. Four years after the end of the transition period Northern Ireland’s democratic institutions will vote on whether they wish to continue the arrangements in the Protocol.…

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Northern Ireland, Citizenship and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement

The definition of ‘EEA citizen’ in the rules for the Home Office’s settled status scheme has recently changed. What are the consequences? How do these changes affect the people of Northern Ireland? Why are some people unhappy with these changes? What does British nationality law say about people born in Northern Ireland? How do these nationality laws interact with the birthright provision of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement? What does the European Convention on Human Rights say about identity and immigration? What do the people of Northern Ireland say when they are asked about their nationality? This paper looks at the complex issues behind all these questions.…

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EU Defence: the realisation of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)

In November 2017, 23 EU Member States submitted a Joint Notification to the EU Council of Ministers setting out their intention to utilise the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism to further European defence (CSDP). Ireland and Portugal subsequently joined in early December and a Decision formally launching PESCO was adopted on 11 December 2017. The first 17 capability projects were formally launched in March 2018, with a second tranche of 17 projects agreed in November 2018. The UK did not sign the Joint Notification and will, therefore, remain outside of PESCO. In doing so, the UK has no decision making rights over its governance, its projects, or a veto over its future strategic direction. …

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The European Intervention Initiative (EII/EI2)

The European Intervention Initiative (EII/EI2) is a French-led initiative set out by President Macron in September 2017 as part of his vision for a “sovereign, united and democratic Europe”. In order to achieve that ambition he put forward proposals for a common European intervention force and a common doctrine for action, independent of the European Union. Ten European countries, including the UK, are involved in the initiative. Italy indicated its willingness to join in September 2019. …

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UK replacement of the EU’s external agreements after Brexit

The EU has over a thousand international agreements with non-EU countries, covering trade, aviation, nuclear co-operation and other issues. These will cease to apply to the UK when it leaves the EU. The Government has identified 157 agreements with non-EU countries that it is seeking in order to replace these arrangements in the event of a no deal Brexit. Some agreements have already been concluded, but engagement is ongoing for most of these and some will not be in place by the scheduled Brexit day of 31 October. …

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Demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

On 2 August 2019 the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In place for over 30 years, it was considered a cornerstone of the international arms control architecture as it was the first treaty to eliminate an entire category of weapons from the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia and ended a nuclear stand-off in Europe. What are the implications of its demise for European security and the arms control agenda more broadly? …

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