EM Germany Newsletter CW 8/2021 | EU-UK after Brexit
In a world that is becoming increasingly uncertain and complex, „Brexit is a tragic step backwards“, we stressed as EM Germany Board more than a year ago when the UK left the EU. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which has been in force since the beginning of the year and still has to be ratified by the European Parliament, cannot stop this regression.
As this week’s #EBDGrafik shows, the agreement is a patchy safety net that has only partially prevented the deep fall on WTO provisions. So far, the integrity of the Single Market has been preserved and the new relations go beyond many existing EU trade agreements. However, new customs controls, visa requirements and the UK’s withdrawal from key EU programmes, including Erasmus+ hamper cross-border trade, freedom of movement and exchange. Moreover, with the Partnership Council and its more than 20 sub-groups, the negotiating parties have developed an extensive bureaucratic network, which is entitled to interpret and even amend the agreement in the future without parliamentary approval.
It is therefore good to know that the European Parliament – in contrast to its British counterpart – is taking the time for a thorough examination. Before ratifying the 1,246 pages, it should insist on strengthening democratic control and transparency, specifying the commitments to common high environmental and social standards and critically promoting close cooperation in all policy areas. After the setback of Brexit, we should refocus on political cooperation.
I wish you a good week, and stay healthy!
Dr. Linn Selle
European Movement Germany
#EBDFokus: EU-UK after Brexit
Just before the end of the transition period, the EU and the United Kingdom reached an agreement on their future trade and cooperation relations at the end of December 2020. The EU can now „leave Brexit behind […] and look to the future. Europe is now moving on,“ said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after the agreement was reached. The parameters covered by the agreement are shown in a new #EBDGrafik. +++ With the approval of the 27 EU member states and the British Parliament, the agreement has been coming into effect since the beginning of the year. However, only provisionally, as the approval of the European Parliament (EP) is still pending. While the EP was originally supposed to adopt the agreement by the end of the month, on 10 February the Commission asked the EU-UK Partnership Council, which former UK Brexit negotiator David Frost recently joined as co-chair, to postpone the period given for EP ratification to the end of April. The General Affairs Council will assess the state of EU-UK relations at its meeting tomorrow. +++ The lack of parliamentary control of the Brexit agreement was criticised by EM Germany President Selle at a discussion event of the European Academy Berlin (EAB) in early January. She called it unacceptable that „the EP and the member states had no access to the negotiating texts.“ +++ The situation on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is shaping EU-UK relations beyond the negotiation phase. Recently, the EU caused a stir by considering to control vaccine exports at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. According to media reports, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is examining plans to build a tunnel connecting Northern Ireland and Scotland. For an exchange on the Brexit consequences for the economy in Ireland and the Netherlands, the EP Liaison Office in Germany holds a press briefing with MEPs David McAllister, Kati Piri and Barry Andrews today at 12.45 p.m. Registration via email@example.com. +++ In September, EM Germany President Selle and Rt. Hon. Stephen Dorrell, President of the European Movement United Kingdom, published a joint editorial for the EM Germany Newsletter, highlighting the importance of maintaining and fostering a close EU-UK partnership. ++ The latest information on Brexit are provided on the related websites of the Federal Government and the European Commission. +++ Further news from the EM Germany‘s network on Brexit can be found on our website. +++
#EBDGrafik of the week
EM Germany News
Joint statement by EM Germany & EM Austria: EM Germany President Selle and the President of EM Austria Dr. Christoph Leitl call for European coordination on border closures: „What is currently happening in terms of controls and restrictions endangers production processes and cross-border everyday life in the European internal market.“ | More (in German)
EBD De-Briefing ECOFIN and Eurogroup: The Federal Ministry of Finance informed about the most important results of the latest ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings. | More (in German)
EP Rapporteur in Dialogue: On 11 February Daniel Freund MEP presented a report for the establishment of an Independent EU Ethics Authority. | More (in German)
Sentiments from EM Germany’s network about European coordination during Covid-19 crisis: Despite all criticism of Europe’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing remains clear: It is only a common European solution that leads out of the crisis. This is shown by the overwhelming sentiment from EM Germany’s network. In an EBD telegram, 18 member organisations comment on the current debate on vaccine distribution and express their expectations for European coordination of the corona crisis.| More (in German)
All EM Germany events take place via videoconference. Participation is free, but registration required. Conference language is German unless indicated otherwise. +++ 22.02.2021: Meeting of the regional European Movements in Germany +++ 26.02.2021: EM Germany Board Meeting +++ 01.03.2021: EBD De-Briefing COMPET +++ 16.03.2021: EBD De-Briefing Justice and Home Affairs +++ Our Presidency Calendar on the Portuguese EU Council Presidency has all EU events of the semester.
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