UKTiE Brexit ‘news and views’, which aims to provide you with the key headlines for the week ahead in relation to Brexit, Brussels and transport, in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee. We hope this news, analysis and advice will help you manage your Brexit strategy.
UKTiE Brexit or 360° members can ask for more information if you wish to explore behind the headlines or require some bespoke analysis.
1. EU Brexit negotiators meet this week for the first time. UK Government not invited
Michel Barnier, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, has called a meeting on Tuesday 29 November of senior officials from national governments and the European Parliament to discuss Brexit. Barnier has invited EU leaders’ top diplomatic advisers but representatives from the British Government are not invited to the meeting. The meeting will include national government officials, representatives of the European Parliament and the secretariat of the Council of the European Union – which represents national governments in Brussels. The aim of the seminar is to map out the issues at stake in the negotiations. Let us know if you want to know more about this meeting.
2. Guy Verhofstadt MEP gets to work on Brexit on behalf of the European Parliament
The former Belgian prime minister is the most public face of the EU’s Brexit negotiating team. He is the European Parliament’s chief negotiator and is well aware of the Parliament’s power to wield a veto over any future deal with Britain, giving him and his fellow MEPs unprecedented power during Brexit. He and his team begin their work in earnest this week, preparing the European Parliament’s ‘red lines.’ UKTiE has identified the nine most influential UK MEPs (who can still speak and vote on Brexit matters throughout the process), who will be closest to him during the negotiations. Let us know if you wish to brief them.
3. Top Brussels think-tanker and Brexit advisor to Scotland’s First Minister to speak to IDA about the future of the EU, including Brexit
IDA will hold a Business breakfast discussion with Dr. Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive of the European Policy Centre on Wednesday, 7th December, 8.00 to 9.00am at our Brussels office, 40 Rue d’Arlon. Fabian will give a brief analysis of the EU’s outlook, followed by an open floor for discussion. The event will be under the Chatham House Rule. The European Policy Centre is one of Brussels most respected and influential think tank and Fabian is both Chief Economist and Chief Executive. He has a long standing interest in the UK-EU relationship, and has been analysing the impact of Brexit on the UK and the rest of the EU, as well as the process of separation. He was appointed to the Standing Council on Europe, established by Scotland’s First Minister after the Brexit vote in June 2016. Let us know if you wish you attend (RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org as places are limited).
4. UK Brexit developments highlight risk to transport
A new report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, commissioned by an alliance of Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians trying to stop a hard Brexit, highlights the potential damage that almost every sector of the British economy, including transport, would suffer if there was a hard Brexit but argues against deals for individual industries. It warns that “all major sectors are linked to the EU and could be harmed if the UK government sought a free trade agreement which prioritised some sectors over others”. This is of particular relevance for transport, where there has been some discussion of prioritising transport, or some sectors within it. Meanwhile the Governor of the Bank of England has been attacked for calling for a transitional deal, repeating the demands we make in our UKTiE Brexit Plan.
Mark’s week ahead in Brussels
‘After the phoney-war of waiting for the UK to trigger Article 50 the EU has decided to get on with Brexit anyway. So leading EU Brexit negotiators meet this week for the first time, but the UK Government is not invited. They will have to get used to this because during the entire Article 50 process the UK Government is not allowed in the room, let alone vote, when the EU discusses their position. So whilst our friends from DfT, DExEU and UKREP can play a useful role, we can’t just entirely rely on them, we have to work with other Perm Reps, the Council Secretariat and MEPs. Indeed MEPs also start this week to forge their negotiating position on Brexit, but in contrast to the Council, UK MEPs can sit in, contribute to and vote on the Parliament’s Article 50 position. So it’s a good week to drop UK MEPs a line, particularly the nine closest to the negotiations, outlining your Brexit position, and sign up to our Brexit events.
Have a good week!’