Questions and Answers

Have any areas that voted leave changed their minds?

Have any areas that voted leave changed their minds?

Why might Brexit result in clean water shortages in the UK?

Why might Brexit result in clean water shortages in the UK?

Most of the crucial chemicals used in the purification of UK water supplies which are imported from Europe, are at real risk of shortages.

The chemicals are part of the ‘just-in-time’ supply chain and due to the instability of some of these chemicals, they cannot be stockpiled due to safety concerns.

The chemicals used in the purification of our water include:

  • liquefied chlorine
  • sodium silicofluoride
  • aluminium sulphate
  • fluorosilicic acid
  • calcium hydroxide

These chemicals are used to combat water borne diseases such as:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid fever
  • Dysentery
  • Hepatitis
Will Brexit have an impact on the maritime industry

Will Brexit have an impact on the maritime industry

The maritime industry is arguably one of the most important industries in the UK. It supports nearly 1 million jobs worldwide and contributes around £40 billion to the UK economy.

This short report by Catherine Lumsden highlights the problems the industry faces as a result of Brexit:

  • thousands of UK-registered officers and crew members may no longer be able to work – the UK Government says establishing a new system for registration ‘may take some time’
  • 1.2 million cruise liner passengers visit the UK every year – new immigration rules may make this impossible, meaning the UK would lose valuable income from tourism
  • if new customs checks are required, costs would increase substantially – UK ports and shipping companies would need an estimated 3 years at least to devise a new system, to include staff training, new IT systems and infrastructure
  • security checks may be required for ferries and passengers travelling to and from the UK – this would have a serious effect on most services, as they rely on spending a very short time in port
Travelling with pets

Travelling with pets

Currently for dogs, cats and ferrets to travel with their owners between the UK and EU, this involves:

  • a one-off trip to a vet – to check rabies vaccinations, obtain EU Pet Passport
  • on each return to the UK – a check by a vet
  • from some countries – approved tapeworm treatment by a vet before returning
  • Pet Passports valid for unlimited travel
  • no checks at borders

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal the Government says before travelling, owners/pets should be prepared for:

  • at least 4 months before – discuss preparations with a vet
  • this means for travel on 30 March 2019, discussions required before 30 November 2018
  • 3 months before – a blood titre test from a vet
  • 10 days before – a health certificate from a vet
  • health certificate valid for maximum 4 months travel, required every time pet travels
  • checks at UK/EU border – test result and certificate to be shown to officials
What are the Alternatives to EU membership for the UK?

What are the Alternatives to EU membership for the UK?

What is sovereignty?

What is sovereignty?

Sovereignty means the authority of a state to govern itself and make its own laws and policies. In the case of the UK, we have what’s called Parliamentary sovereignty, which means Parliament is the highest authority for making our laws.

When the UK joined the EU, the UK voluntarily entered an agreement that our laws would be made with regard to EU Treaties. The effect is that EU laws or Directives can trump or have primacy over our own laws. All member states agreed to this and it’s called ‘pooling of sovereignty’.

But parliamentary sovereignty still applies as there still have to be Acts of Parliament to bring EU law into UK law. Parliament could revoke that law – though that would leave the UK in breach of the terms of EU membership.

The very fact that the UK can leave the EU makes it clear that the UK is ultimately a sovereign state.

Can Brexit be reversed?

Can Brexit be reversed?

Mrs May triggered Article 50 by sending a letter to the EU saying the UK will be leaving the EU. This letter started the legally required two-year process for Brexit.

There is no legal or political reason why the letter cannot be withdrawn before the end of the two year period, ending 29 March 2019. Although most people in the UK and EU said they believe it will be very difficult to reverse Brexit after December 2018 because of legal and admin requirements.

Now more is known about what will happen to the UK after Brexit, there are calls for MPs to give the people a vote on the 3 options people are facing – the deal, no deal, remaining.

What is the EU?

What is the EU?

EU stands for European Union. It is a collective or club of 28 European countries, including the UK. The club has close security, trade and legal ties. The members are:

What is Brexit?

What is Brexit?

Brexit is made up of two words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’. On the 23 June 2016, voters in the UK voted 52% – 48% in favour of leaving the EU club, after being a member for nearly 45 years.

Brexit will take place at 11pm on 29 March 2019.

What is a hard border?

What is a hard border?

This means a physical border, from remote cameras to guard posts, that might be needed along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to monitor and process people and goods crossing the border.

As long as a ‘no deal’ or ‘hard Brexit’ are avoided, a hard border is not likely to be needed.

What are the four freedoms?

What are the four freedoms?

The union is built on 4 freedoms – the freedom of movement of goods, people, services and money / capital. Countries in the EU can also trade freely with each other without tariffs or added taxes.

Brexit has increased the debate around free movement of people – which allows people from member states to live and work in any EU country.

What is the customs union?

What is the customs union?

The EU customs union, includes all EU members, plus Turkey, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino = 32 countries. The EU customs union is much more than applying the same tariffs to goods imported from outside countries, e.g. it has a system for exchanging information between countries on illegal goods.

By the UK being a member of the customs union, we cannot negotiate trade deals ourselves, we do this as a EU block.

Why was there such a big fuss about £350m?

Why was there such a big fuss about £350m?

  • The £350 million per week was the approximate amount the UK should have paid towards the EU budget in 2014. This figure did not include the discount or rebate that we get back from the EU.
  • However In 2016, whilst the UK’s gross contribution to the EU amounted to £19 billion i.e. £365m per week, this amount of money was never actually transferred to the EU.
  • Before the UK government transfers any money to the EU, it is entitled to a rebate which amounted to £5 billion in 2016.
  • Also, a further £4.4 billion in 2016 came back to the UK public sector and private sector.  Examples include payments to farmers and to poorer areas of the UK such as Wales and Cornwall.
  • The net contribution, after allowing for these payments amounted to £9.4 billion in 2016, i.e. £181 million per week.
  • The EU also makes direct payments to the private sector for things such as research grants. In 2014, these were worth an estimated £1 billion, i.e. £19 million per week, so including them would reduce our net contribution further still.

To get a sense of these numbers, total public spending in the UK in 2018/19 is expected to be around £15.7 billion per week, or £817.5 billion per year.

The UK’s net contribution to the EU is around 1.1% of our total public spending. Compared to the value of the UK-EU relationship, this contribution is quite a small number.

Is the EU Undemocratic-the European Council?

Is the EU Undemocratic-the European Council?

This is how key institutions in the EU operate:

 

The European Council

  • made up of PMs/Heads of all 28 member states
  • sets overall priorities and policies
  • every PM/Head has a vote with decisions made by simple majority
  • important issues require a unanimous vote

 

Council of the European Union

  • also known as the Council of Ministers
  • made up of government ministers from all 28 member states
  • votes on all EU legislation, with most decisions also requiring approval from the European Parliament
  • ministers attend depending on the issue being discussed – so if it’s finance, Finance Ministers attend

 

European Parliament

  • made up of 751 MEPs, including 73 British MEPs
  • all MEPs are directly elected by voters in all 28 member states
  • every MEP has a vote on legislation with decisions made by simple majority
  • for sanctions and security issues the Council of Ministers can decide on its own
What is a tariff on goods?

What is a tariff on goods?

A tariff is a tax on foreign goods and services – the higher the tariff the higher the price to consumers.

Will Brexit affect my holidays?

Will Brexit affect my holidays?

In a no deal Brexit, flights between the UK and EU and US/Canada could be hugely disrupted

  • Currently UK and EU airlines can fly, unlimited, to and between large numbers of EU and US/Canadian destinations
  • In future – for these flights to continue, the UK will need bilateral agreements with each relevant country
  • The rules for these agreements are set by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) – part of the United Nations. WTO rules do not apply
  • They typically take a minimum of 2 years to negotiate, but can take 7 or 8 years
  • During this time, the UK may need to fall back on old bilateral agreements. This would mean:

– much fewer destinations available
– much less choice in terms of airlines
– the cost of airfares would most likely go up
– passengers having access to few (if any) budget airlines

If the above is not possible, flights will be grounded – including the 53 million tourist flights taken by UK passengers to the EU every year

What is the European investment Bank(EIB) and why do we need it?

What is the European investment Bank(EIB) and why do we need it?

  • The EIB is the world’s largest international public lending organisation or bank
  • It gives loans / funding to long term projects in EU member countries at very low interest rates
  • As a member of the EU, the British government and organisations borrow form the EIB
Is there a border between North and South Ireland now?

Is there a border between North and South Ireland now?

There is what’s known as a ‘soft’ border, the Irish border that runs for 310 miles, separating the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland.

Border markings are fairly invisible, in common with many borders in the EU because states share a Common Travel Area and are part of the European Single Market, so the border is essentially open, allowing free passage of people since 1923 and of goods since 1993.

There are more than 200 public roads that cross the border.

Following the Brexit vote, the future of the border is uncertain and its status is one of the key points in the UK withdrawal negotiations.

How much of our laws are made by the EU?

How much of our laws are made by the EU?

Organisations who support Brexit say more than 60% of UK law is influenced by EU law.

But others say only 13% of UK law is influenced by EU law.

According to the House of Commons Library, which say there is no completely accurate way to say what the exact figure is, between 1993 and 2014 Parliament passed 945 Acts of which 231 implemented EU obligations of some sort.

It also passed 33,160 Statutory Instruments, 4,283 of which implemented EU obligations. Add both of these together and divide by the total number of laws passed, and you get the 13% figure.

But that number is not the full picture, as most EU regulations don’t require new UK laws. They can come into force by simply changing administrative rules. The 13% figure doesn’t take this into account.

If you count all EU regulations, EU-related Acts of Parliament, and EU-related Statutory Instruments, about 62% of laws introduced between 1993 and 2014 that apply in the UK do implement EU obligations. So, does that mean that the Brexiteers are right?

Not according to many expert lawyers and academics. Because:

  • Some EU regulations, e.g. about tobacco and olive oil production, are agreed by all member states but don’t affect us because we don’t have those industries here
  • We also adopt some EU regulations that we would have put in law anyway
  • But the biggest reason why 62% is much to high is because it includes within it non-legislative EU regulations, which are more about admin and not law
How will a hard or no deal Brexit affect travel and freedom of movement?

How will a hard or no deal Brexit affect travel and freedom of movement?

EU citizens may find it hard to live and work in the UK, and Britons may no longer be entitled to live or work or retire in EU countries.

Does being in the EU keep us safe?

Does being in the EU keep us safe?

As a member of the EU, the UK participates in over 30 shared terror and crime fighting agencies, including:

  • ECRIS – the European Criminal Record Information Service – used 539 million times by British police in 2017
  • Europol – contributes to over 13,500 cross-border investigations every year – main function cyber-crime co-operation
  • Eurojust – provides joint investigation teams – tackles range of crimes from terror to child abuse and modern slavery
  • European Arrest Warrants – allow for most wanted criminals to be returned promptly

Several senior military figures, including Chiefs of Defence Staff, say the EU is an “increasingly important pillar of our security”

Together with the other EU member states we have more strength to deal with terrorism and increasing Russian aggression

Why does the UK have to pay the EU money to leave?

Why does the UK have to pay the EU money to leave?

The UK would not be paying an exit penalty or money to leave. The money paid is owed by the UK for financial liabilities and commitments built up during the UK’s membership of the EU. Like the bills when you leave a flat, you have to pay what you owe. The UK and EU have to agree how this is calculated.

These financial liabilities are one of the three key issues that must be resolved before the UK can leave the EU.

How will leaving the EU affect my mobile?

How will leaving the EU affect my mobile?

  • UK roaming charges are cheaper across Europe due to EU rules
  • These are likely to go if there is no deal or a bad deal
  • Means access to the internet, social media and Google Maps could be much more expensive after Brexit
Does the UK have any control on our borders?

Does the UK have any control on our borders?

  • Unlike most other EU member states, the UK isn’t part of the Schengen agreement. This means we can retain border controls
  • It can deny entry to any EU criminals on the grounds of public security
  • The UK retains full control over its own border controls under European Parliament and Council Directive, which allows EU member states to repatriate EU nationals after three months if they have not found a job or do not have the means to support themselves. Unlike Belgium, UK politicians have chosen not to do this
What is Schengen?

What is Schengen?

In 1990 the Schengen Convention was signed creating the world’s largest passport free zone. The agreement removed border controls and established a common visa which means people can move across each other’s countries without passport checks or visa requirements. 22 of the 28 countries are in the Schengen agreement.

The UK and Ireland opted-out as we prefer to maintain control of our own borders.

Countries in the Schengen system also have close police and judicial relations. National police in the Schengen states, for example, can cross into other countries in hot pursuit. Police cooperation also extends to the Schengen Information System common database and alert system for suspicious persons or objects.

During the last few years there is growing pressure on the EU to review the Schengen agreement because of migration and terrorism:

  • September 2015: Germany re-imposed border controls along its border with Austria to limit the flow of migrants
  • November 2015: After the Paris terror attacks, France reinstated border controls at major crossings in response. (However, they’re not checking everyone who enters the country, as this is difficult because most of the border infrastructure required to check passports on trains and buses was dismantled years ago)
  • Right-wing parties in Western Europe, as well as Central European governments worried about migration and terrorism, are loudly calling for an end to Schengen
  • Hungary built a fence in June 2015 along its Croatian border to stop migrants — in violation of Schengen
  • Slovenia has begun doing so, and Austria is ready to build fences too

The Netherlands has suggested creating a “mini-Schengen” among Western European countries, instead of right across the EU.

What does the ‘rebate’ we get from the EU mean?

What does the ‘rebate’ we get from the EU mean?

A rebate is when you get a reduction or discount to the bill you should have paid. A few member states, such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have had temporary reductions to their contributions to the EU budget, but the UK is the only country who permanently gets money back.

Roughly speaking, the UK reduction or rebate to the EU budget is approximately 66% (2/3rd) of the difference between what the UK contributes to the EU budget and what we get back.

At the moment, the UK is the third largest net contributor, after Germany and France, to the EU budget. But in terms of each person in the country (per capita), the UK is the eighth biggest contributor.

Will UK qualifications be recognised in the EU after a no deal Brexit?

Will UK qualifications be recognised in the EU after a no deal Brexit?

At present, all our qualifications are recognised across the EU

It means qualifications are transferrable if you wish to work in another EU country

After a ‘no deal’ Brexit, many UK qualifications, for dance teachers, doctors, mechanics, chefs may not be recognised

Could the UK re-join the EU in the future?

Could the UK re-join the EU in the future?

If, after Brexit has happened, the UK wishes to re-join the EU as a member, all the other EU countries would need to agree.

It is highly unlikely they will give the UK the same benefits and opt-outs; the special deal we already have – not being in the Euro or Schengen and getting the rebate negotiated by Mrs Thatcher in 1984.

Many people believe that if the UK left and applied to re-join the EU in the future, we would have to agree to the Euro, Schengen and would not be granted a rebate.

What has being in the EU meant for our food?

What has being in the EU meant for our food?

  • We grow and produce about 50 – 60% of our own food
  • A further 30% is imported from our closest EU neighbours and another 2% from other EU countries
  • Common standards means we can trust the standards of food are safe, from farm to fork
  • The high EU standards include banning growth hormones & other harmful food additives
  • Due to the EU, our food standards are much safer than in the USA or many other countries
  • Food is also cheaper as it doesn’t have to travel far or have added tariffs or taxes
What does being a member of the EU mean for everyday life in the UK?

What does being a member of the EU mean for everyday life in the UK?

What is a no deal Brexit?

What is a no deal Brexit?

The UK and EU wish to continue a close relationship after Brexit. This will require a deal to be reached on a huge number of matters – for example security, imports, exports, air travel, EU workers, universities, medicines, energy emissions, food safety, pet passports, mobile phone charges.

If the UK and EU do not agree a deal which is then voted on by the remaining member states and the European Parliament before 29 March 2019, the UK will leave the EU without an agreement. This is referred to a “no-deal” Brexit.

What does ‘the ratification period’ in the Brexit process mean?

What does ‘the ratification period’ in the Brexit process mean?

The ratification period means that at the end of the negotiations with the EU, any Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and UK negotiators will need the consent of the European Parliament, by what’s called a simple majority of voting Member States.

This means that 20 out of the 27 Member States have to vote to approve any Withdrawal Agreement. The total population of these 20 Member States has to be in excess of c.280 million people as the rules require at least 65% of the population of all the member states to say yes.

There is a risk that some of the EU Member States might want to do this within their own country’s parliaments if the impact of an agreement would affect their national laws more than at EU level.  If this happens, the agreement would have to be ratified by these Member States “in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements”, which would take much longer.

The UK will also need to ratify the agreement under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, this would require:

  • Ministers to lay the Withdrawal Agreement before both Houses of Parliament for 21 sitting days prior to ratification
  • During this period, both Houses will have the opportunity to reject or ratify (approve) the Agreement
  • If either the Commons or the Lords votes against ratification, the Government cannot immediately ratify the treaty, but must make a statement giving the reasons why it wants to proceed with ratification and this would triggers a further 21 sitting day period, during which time the Commons may again vote against it – potentially blocking approval of the agreement indefinitely. This could create a continuous loop / catch 22 situation
  • If the House of Lords votes against ratification, but the House of Commons does not, then a ministerial statement must be laid before Parliament explaining why the treaty should be approved, but the additional 21 sitting day period is not triggered.

The House of Lords does not have the power to block ratification / approval

What EU Agencies do we belong to that will need replacing after Brexit?

What EU Agencies do we belong to that will need replacing after Brexit?

There are roughly 3 groups of EU agencies and bodies:

 

1st – the ones the UK might want to belong to post-Brexit, even if we have to make a financial contribution to stay in them:

  • The European Medicines Agency
  • The European Environment Agency, which a number of non-EU member states already belong to – including Turkey, Switzerland and Norway
  • The European Aviation Safety Agency, which again Switzerland and Norway are also members of
  • The EU Security Agencies – e.g. the European Police College (again which Switzerland and Norway are signed up to)
  • The European Patent Office
  • Convention on Cinematic Co-Production

 

2nd – the agencies we may want to stay in during a transition period – because, as our regulations immediately post-Brexit will be so similar to those of the EU, it could be harmful to withdraw suddenly from:

  • The European Regulators of Electronic Communications
  • The regulating agency of EU’s telecommunications market
  • European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) which regulated financial services

 

3rd – the ones the UK might want to leave straight away:

  • The European Fisheries Control Agency
  • The European Court of Human Rights
  • Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union
  • The European Training Foundation

It is too black and white to say we will either take back full control or sovereignty or that we would be a vassal state, just having to take all EU regulations and rules.

There are a huge number of decisions for the politicians to make regarding laws and regulations post-Brexit. Belonging to a few agencies will not change that.

How many Trade deals do we have as members of the EU?

How many Trade deals do we have as members of the EU?

The EU currently has a trade agreement of one kind or another with 50 countries. So that means as members of the EU we trade with the 27 other members states + 50 other countries = 77 trade agreements in total.

TABLE 1 – DURATION OF US FREE TRADE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS (IN MONTHS)

Note: Launch date means first round of negotiations; implementation means the agreement’s entry into forceSources: Complied from Office of the US Trade Representative, Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, Organisation of American States and authors’ calculations

What is a transition period?

What is a transition period?

If the UK and EU agree a deal before 29 March 2019, there will be a transition period from Brexit day on 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020; that’s 22 months.

During this transition period, EU and UK citizens should be able to travel freely between each other’s countries.

The UK will be able to negotiate its own trade deals during the transition period, whilst still enjoying existing EU trade deals with other countries

The UK’s share of fishing catch will be guaranteed during transition, but the UK will still be part of the Common Fisheries Policy but be a silent partner without a direct say in its rules.

If there is a “no-deal” Brexit, there will be no transition period.

Why is Brexit taking so long?

Why is Brexit taking so long?

Because it’s very complicated.

Over the 45 years that we have been members of the EU club, almost everything that happens in the UK is linked to the EU in some way – including education, training, counter-terrorism, security, healthcare, farming, fishing, food and drink, international trade, tourism, banking, workers’ rights. It is difficult for the UK and EU to unravel these ties and to come to new arrangements quickly.

What has the EU done for women?

What has the EU done for women?

  • A right to equal pay for work of equal value
  • Rights not to be dismissed when pregnant
  • Paid time off for ante-natal appointments
  • Opportunities to reach leadership positions, increasing employment rates for women
  • Better protection from harrassment
  • Equal access to pensions for part-time workers most of whom are women)