News & Insights

Update on UK-EU Relationship

An update on the relationship between the UK and EU in a post-Brexit world, as Rishi Sunak becomes British prime minister.

Revocation of EU Law

Perhaps the biggest news since our last update is the introduction of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill in the British House of Commons. The Bill sets out that all retained EU law will be repealed on 31 December 2023, unless specific legislation is introduced to keep it in place. Importantly, this includes all UK statutory instruments that were introduced to ensure compliance with EU law. If it becomes law, the Bill will have a dramatic impact on various areas of UK law – most noticeably, on employment rights – and is likely to drive a further wedge between the UK and the EU as the UK looks to distance itself from the bloc’s legislation. You can read more about the Bill’s impact on employment rights here.

There is also the possibility that, if the UK opts to strip back its data protection regime as part of this overhaul, as has been posited by some Conservative MPs, that the EU could reverse the adequacy decision that it had previously taken, which had allowed the continuing free flow of data from the EU to the UK. To this end, a delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties is visiting the UK to discuss the potential impact of the UK’s planned data protection legislation with the Information Commissioner, members of the House of Commons and the Lords, NGOs, and various experts and academics.

Northern Ireland

Detailed examination of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill has begun in the House of Lords. The Lords have discussed amendments that would curtail the powers created for UK Ministers under the Bill, which were previously quite extensive. There have also been changes suggested to require consultation with government departments in Northern Ireland, business organisations, and human rights and equalities bodies. You can read more about the Bill and the powers granted to Ministers in our previous update, here.

The newly appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, has called for new elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. This follows a deadlock in devolved Northern Irish politics, with the Democratic Unionist Party boycotting the Stormont executive while their objections to the post-Brexit Irish Sea “border” remain unresolved. However, Mr Heaton-Harris has confirmed that no such elections will take place before 2023, with a statement setting out next steps to be made shortly.

Channel Crossings

In the opening days of his premiership, newly appointed UK prime minister Rishi Sunak told French president Emmanuel Macron of his intention to make Channel migrant crossings “completely unviable”. The pair have pledged to announce an “ambitious package of measures” in the autumn.

UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly

The UK Parliament has hosted the second meeting of the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA), with 21 MPs and 14 British Peers meeting with 35 MEPs to discuss issues of common interest. The meeting considered energy cooperation across Europe and relations between the PPA, civil society, and the devolved legislation. Sir Oliver Heald KC MP, Co-Chair of the PPA, said that the PPA wishes to “press successfully for good relations between the UK and the EU to achieve more cooperation in vital areas of interest”.

Key Dates for 2023

  • Late 2023: new requirements for Export Health Certificates for EU imports to Great Britain have been further delayed – a new date is yet to be confirmed.
  • Late 2023: Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on certain goods at British border control posts have also been pushed back.
  • Late 2023: Safety and Security declaration requirements on EU imports to Great Britain are also subject to further delay, with a new date yet to be announced.