Exit day is 31st October 2019 (this date is set out in a Statutory Instrument)
Today, the UK state issued its text proposal for a new Ireland Protocol (“backstop” in common parlance) to the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Only the letter and explanatory note are published – here.
The letter shows the direction of travel –
Our proposed compromise removes the so-called “backstop” in the previous Withdrawal Agreement. I have explained the difficulties with this elsewhere, including the fact that it has been rejected three times by the UK Parliament. Equally importantly in this context, the backstop acted as a bridge to a proposed future relationship with the EU in which the UK would be closely integrated with EU customs arrangements and would align with EU law in many areas. That proposed future relationship is not the goal of the current UK Government. The Government intends that the future relationship should be based on a Free Trade Agreement in which the UK takes control of its own regulatory affairs and trade policy. In these circumstances the proposed “backstop” is a bridge to nowhere, and a new way forward must be found.
The new proposal would create a complicated situation for traders in Northern Ireland, and for trade into Northern Ireland, plus a consent mechanism necessitating initial and repeated four-yearly approval by Stormont (that is not currently meeting).
The next step is for all parties to review the circulated (but unpublished) detailed text, and for the EU on behalf of the Member States, to indicate if the proposal has merit enough to enter into detailed discussion.
Please look out for further Blog posts.
NB – re Eco-design and Right to Repair – the EU agreed it’s new rules today, it seems in time for the 31st October Exit day – I updated the Blog post issued recently. This matter will be in the October Email Alert to subscribers.