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Brexit in a page – what do I need to know?

The Prime Minister, Theresa May is to hold a cabinet meeting today where preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit will be discussed.

Key dates

20 September
EU leaders to discuss progress and Brexit (Salzburg Summit)

17 October
EU Summit and possible agreement on a deal

13 December
EU Summit – fall back date for a deal to be approved (if not agreed in October 2018)

  • The Prime Minister, Theresa May is to hold a cabinet meeting today where preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit will be discussed, ahead of the release of a further tranche of Government guidance papers should there not be a deal reached with the EU.
  • Meanwhile, the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab has today sent a warning to the EU member states that the UK will not honour its obligations in relation to the £39 billion divorce bill if a deal is not reached. He has also called upon the EU to match the “ambition and pragmatism” shown by the UK during the negotiations.
  • Over in Europe, the European Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Junker, during his annual state of the union address in Strasbourg has said that the UK’s Chequers proposal could be a “starting point” for a future relationship. However, he was clear that the EU will not accept the UK’s attempts to acquire the benefits of part of the single market, stating “If you leave the union, you are of course no longer part of the single market, and certainly not only in the parts of it you choose”.
  • The House of Commons Library has published a ‘public procurement and Brexit paper’ during the last week, focusing on the Agreement on Government Procurement (“GPA”) between 18 countries and the EU. The UK is intending to remain a part of the GPA as an independent member post Brexit.
  • The House of Commons International Trade Committee has launched an inquiry to gather information and consider the impact that future arrangements between the UK and EU could have on wider UK trade policies. There are three specific questions raised, one of which asks how different UK and EU customs regimes would affect a wider UK trade policy. Replies are welcome before 7 December 2018.
  • This week has also seen the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, announce Germany’s preparations are underway for all Brexit outcomes, including ‘no deal’. The German Government’s Cabinet has approved a draft law on a transition phase for the UK after it leaves the European Union (“EU”) that will only come into force if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. Angela Merkel has also urged individual member states not to enter into individual negotiations with the UK as that could lead a weakening of the EU’s position during the remaining negotiations.
  • Roaming charges for using mobile telephones within the EU member states became a thing of the past in June 2007. Concerns were raised as to the reintroduction of such charges post Brexit but Vodafone and Three have confirmed that, deal or not, they will not bring back roaming charges. Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab has said that if other mobile telephone providers do not follow suit then the Government would introduce laws to forbid such charges to be applied.
  • Turning to the Irish Border issue, the European Research Group (“ERG”) suggests that streamlined customs checks and closer working between Belfast and Dublin to allay compliance and smuggling fears would work. The Government remains firm in its view, as contained in the Chequers plan, that a free trade zone for goods moving between the UK and EU supported by a facilitated customs arrangement is the “only credible and negotiable option”.

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