Dr Jonatan Echebarria Fernández (City Law School), Dr Tafsir Matin Johansson (World Maritime University) and Mr Mitchell Lennan (University of Strathclyde)
On Tuesday 8 June 2021, eleven leading experts from academia, the fishing industry, and international organisations gathered at an online workshop to discuss the legal challenges presented by Brexit and fisheries. The workshop was organised as part of the City Law School Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) funded project “Legal challenges faced by coastal and fishing communities and the new British Fisheries Policy”. The project is led by Dr Jonatan Echebarria Fernández of City Law School (Principal Investigator), Dr Tafsir Matin Johansson of World Maritime University (Senior Expert Consultant) and Mr Mitchell Lennan of the University of Strathclyde (Impact Assistant).
After four years of turbulent discussions and 1,400 pages of complex provisions, the EU and the UK (the “Parties”) signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on 24 December 2020. Now that the much-feared risk of a no-deal Brexit seems to have been avoided, it could be high time to start digging into the details of the TCA and critically assess whether it is an effective and all-encompassing regulation or just a “platform” created in view of future negotiations and developments in the EU/UK (trading) relationships.
The deal between the UK and the EU has not put an end to their talks. As negotiations will continue on a number of fronts, UK-EU parliamentary cooperation will be essential to ensure that citizens’ interests are taken into account. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) sets out that the European Parliament and the UK Parliament may establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA) that would provide a forum for exchanges of views. It is still unclear whether and when a PPA will be created. As the TCA suggests, its establishment appears to be voluntary and at the discretion of the legislatures from both sides. So far, the parliamentary dimension within the overarching governance of the TCA has remained at an embryonic stage, leaving many questions unanswered. Yet the PPA would not be the only channel for parliamentary cooperation and other formats could develop.
Eva Pander Maat
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), concluded on Christmas Eve 2020 between the EU and the UK, is a unique trade agreement in that its objective is divergence, instead of convergence. It represents the culmination, but by no means the end of four years of Brexit turmoil. To what extent such turmoil will continue to dominate EU-UK relations will partly depend on the extent to which Parties use the TCA as a floor or a ceiling.
To help comprehend the 1,400 page Agreement, five experts provided their guidance to the TCA in the Webinar ‘The UK & the EU Relationship: What Next?’ on January 27, 2021. This event was the first in a promising cooperation between the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law, City, University of London and the Senior European Experts Group (SEE). The event was moderated by Sir Alan Dashwood, barrister and Professor Emeritus of European Law at University of Cambridge and Professor Emeritus of Law at City, University of London. This blog post revisits key points raised during the Webinar and summarizes its conclusions. Drawing on the expertise and experience of the experts, the blog post discusses five different aspects of the TCA: respectively, the legal aspects, trade and internal market regulation, agriculture and fisheries, the EU perspective and the political dimension.
The UK signed two more free trade agreements (FTAs) this past week, adding to the already impressive total of 57 and nearly £200 billion worth of trade that many sceptics had felt would be impossible once outside the EU’s protective sphere. By making further ground in Asia (after the success with Japan) the UK is in a strong position to help establish global rules in the vitally important sphere of digital trade, now one of the focal points of economic activity in many sectors.
Despite the rhetoric to diverge from the EU, the UK Government recently proposed a controversial piece of legislation for the functioning of a UK “Internal Market”, parroting with this language what has typically been an EU construction.
Brexit means that the UK will have to manage its internal trade, without being subject to EU rules. The UK Internal Market Bill has been introduced to ensure the free flow of goods and services between England and the devolved nations (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). The Government fears that, once the UK will be untangled from EU law, there regulatory divergence will create barriers and costs for internal trade. Whether the Bill was necessary at all to achieve this aim is still hotly debated. The widespread opposition it received from the Lords, not to mention the legal action launched by the EU Commission, suggest that, in its current form, it was not.
Legal debates about Brexit have mostly focused on the legal issues that arise under EU law and UK law and the impact of Brexit on the EU and UK. A recent book edited by Juan Santos Vara and Ramses A. Wessel analyses the international dimension of Brexit. The book examines the implications of Brexit for the external relations of both the EU and UK.
Researchers at City Law School – Professor Elaine Fahey, Professor Panos Koutrakos and Jed Odermatt – contributed chapters that examine some of the challenges arising from the UK’s departure from the European Union, with a focus on the international dimension.
Andrea Maria Pelliconi
In 2020, the government of the United Kingdom is facing the electoral defeat of its main transatlantic ally, a possible no-deal Brexit and an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Yet the Home Office is primarily concerned about another (perceived) critical threat: few thousands migrants crossing the Channel yearly to seek asylum on the island.
Over the past months a wide range of rather creative solutions were suggested to deal with the issue. The Home Office revitalised the ‘good old days’ idea behind the penal colonies of the great White Australia policy and decided that that ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a valid policy principle after all. In October 2020, externalising asylum processing centres on remote British territories in the Atlantic Ocean was suggested. The Home Office envisioned transferring migrants to Ascension Island – an island 4,000 miles away, barely inhabited and rather inhospitable to human life. Further leaks identified other possible territories being considered for extraterritorial processing, including Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea – which, apparently, were entirely in the dark about the idea. Weeks before, the proposed solution was buying retired ferries and converting them into floating asylum-processing centres. More recently, British people heard about pushing dinghies back to France with a wave machine or fishing asylum seekers with big nets.