Brexit – The White Paper

Brexit – The White Paper

Brexit- the White paper

On 12 July 2018, the government published its white paper entitled The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, which details plans for the UK’s departure from the EU and any future alliances.

The rights of EU and UK citizens living in the UK or EU respectively are also addressed in the 104-page paper. Some of the government’s more controversial plans and ambitions are discussed below.

Trading goods within the single market

Although the UK will leave the single market after Brexit, there are plans to continue following EU standards as far as certain goods (though not services) such as agri-food are concerned. This is referred to as a “common rulebook”. This point has been criticised for tying the UK too tightly to the EU despite no longer being a member, and for making trade deals between the UK and third countries which are based on potentially different standards difficult, if not impossible. It is unlikely that EU will agree to this plan and allow the UK access to the single market without having to shoulder the responsibilities that this normally entails.

Facilitated customs agreement

The UK government envisages the introduction of a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) whereby the UK would collect tariffs for EU-bound goods at its borders on behalf of the EU. That way, the UK and EU would effectively be treated as being in a combined customs territory, pre-empting the need for customs controls between the EU and the UK while allowing the latter to impose its own tariffs on traded goods with third countries.

Again, it doubtful that the EU will consent to such an agreement. Furthermore, the complexity of such an arrangement both conceptionally and technologically is such that it would unlikely be ready by the end of the transition period in December 2020.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

In those areas where the UK has agreed on a common rule-book with the EU, it is highly likely that any disputes about the interpretation of such rules would have to be done by the CJEU, the only court which can bind the EU on the interpretation of EU law.

Although the UK Government’s plan is to set up a new ‘Joint Committee’ consisting of a mix of UK and EU representatives to oversee such disputes, if the Committee cannot agree, the matter would most likely have to be referred to the CJEU. Allowing EU judges to continue making judgments over the UK is certainly not what Brexit-Hardliners had in mind.

Immigration from the EU

While it is clear that Free Movement of Persons will no longer apply in the UK once it has left the EU, the UK government is planning to negotiate ‘reciprocal mobility arrangements’ to allow UK and EU citizens easier travel within each other’s territories. The details of these arrangements, as well as the question of how they will fit in within the UK’s general immigration rules, are yet to be negotiated.

All in all, the White Paper gives an idea of the UK’s Governments intentions and plans with regards to the UK’s future relations with the EU. However, any plans laid out in the paper are far from definitive and will have to be discussed with and agreed on by Brussels.

How can NA Law Solicitors help?

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