News & Insights

Weekly Update on Brexit Negotiations: week commencing 31 December 2020

Post Brexit Trade Deal with the EU passes into UK law.

Yesterday, the Parliament has passed in one day the post Brexit trade deal with the EU after it has been recalled from its recess to debate legislation to give effect to the UK’s new Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union in domestic law.  It was also announced that this legislation has been given Royal Assent on Thursday morning, preventing a no-deal Brexit on 31 December 2020 when the transition period ends.

Agreed on Christmas Eve, the agreement is the culmination of eight months of negotiations, which passed several deadlines.  Stretching to more than 1,200 pages, the agreement sets out the UK’s future economic, social & security relationship with the EU for years to come.  And whilst concerns remain over border questions in Gibraltar and Northern Ireland, as of 1 January 2021 under the agreement there will be:

  • No extra charges on goods (tariffs) or limits on the amount that can be traded (quotas) between the UK and EU.
  • Level playing field provisions giving both parties the right to take countermeasures, but subject to arbitration, where they believe competition is being distorted by the other.
  • A transfer of 25% of the EU’s fisheries quota in UK waters to the UK over a period of five-and-a-half years.  After this, the UK and EU will negotiate access to each other’s waters on an annual basis.
  • A new security partnership providing for data sharing and policing and judicial co-operation but reduced compared to previous levels of co-operation.
  • New governance provisions involving a UK-EU Partnership Council.  This includes binding enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms covering the economic partnership.
  • Continued UK participation in some EU programmes: Horizon, Europe, Euratom Research and Training and Copernicus, but not others such as the Erasmus exchange programme.

For those wanting to read more about the deal, the Commons Library have produced an excellent overview of what has been agreed can be found here.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or if you need any assistance with immigration matters, please contact [email protected] in the immigration team at FSP.