Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers
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:
Currently for dogs, cats and ferrets to travel with their owners between the UK and EU, this involves:
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal the Government says before travelling, owners/pets should be prepared for:
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.
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.
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There is no legal or political reason why the letter cannot be withdrawn before the end of the two year period, ending 29 March 2019.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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is how key institutions in the EU operate:
The European Council
Council of the European Union
A tariff is a tax on foreign goods and services – the higher the tariff the higher the price to consumers.
In a no deal Brexit, flights between the UK and EU and US/Canada could be hugely disrupted
- 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
As a member of the EU, the UK participates in over 30 shared terror and crime fighting agencies, including:
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
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.
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:
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.
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:
The Netherlands has suggested creating a “mini-Schengen” among Western European countries, instead of right across the EU.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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:
3rd – the ones the UK might want to leave straight away:
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.
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.
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:
The House of Lords does not have the power to block ratification / approval
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
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.
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.