News & Insights

Weekly Update on UK-EU Relationship: week commencing 22 February 2021

David Frost, will lead the UK’s future relationship with the EU.  The UK Government’s recent request for an extension of grace periods for trade between Great Britain to Northern Ireland called for changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol processes.

EU Commission VP (Maroš Šefčovič) responded on 10 February and raised concerns about:

  • border Control Posts and Entry Posts that are not fully operational;
  • few or limited checks being conducted; and
  • non-compliant consignments being accepted or not monitored at destination.

Maroš Šefčovič met Michael Gove on 11 February to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol before meeting with the EU-UK Joint Committee on the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Committee agreed to:

  • reaffirm their full commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and implementing the Protocol;
  • strive to implement solutions agreed upon in December 2020;
  • find practical solutions to address any remaining issues as part of the Specialised Committee’s work on the Protocol; and
  • ensure that the UK and the EU engage with businesses and civic society in Northern Ireland.

The Committee is set to meet no later than 24 February to discuss these issues further.

Monday 22 February

The Petitions Committee will hold an online e-petition session on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The petition was started by the First Minister of Northern Ireland and ahead of the session. A research briefing covers trading arrangements under the Northern Ireland protocol, Article 16 and grace periods for NI trade.

In the Welsh Parliament, the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee will hold an evidence session with Jeremy Miles, Counsel General and Minister for European Transition.  The Welsh Government has published a report on the new relationship with the EU and what it means for Wales, including businesses and employers, security, communities and society.

Tuesday 23 February

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee will hold an evidence session with representatives from the automotive sector as part of their inquiry into Brexit and business preparedness.  The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee will examine the economics of music streaming with representatives from Spotify, Apple and Amazon in the first panel, and with DCMS minister alongside officials from the Department and the Intellectual Property Office during the second panel.

The Lords will consider Commons amendments to the Trade Bill.  The Scottish and Welsh Legislative Consent motions to the Bill have now been passed.  The Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee will also examine Post-Brexit common frameworks with the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution at the Cabinet Office and Deputy Director of Common Frameworks at the Cabinet Office.

Wednesday 24 February

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will examine Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol with trade experts and the International Trade Committee will question Robert Jenrick MP and Steve Barclay MP on freeports in the UK.

At the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Committee for the Economy will be briefed by representatives from the business, retail and logistics sector.  The Committee for the Executive Office will also question junior ministers on Brexit issues.

Thursday 25 February

In the Commons Chamber, the Secretary of State for International Trade will be questioned by MPs.

The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Committee for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs will hold a virtual session with DAERA on the implications of the withdrawal from the EU.

Key Dates for 2021

  • 28 February: European Commission imposed deadline or European Parliament consent to the UK-EU TCA.  This date can be extended by a decision from the EU-UK Partnership Council.
  • 31 March: UK & EU to agree Memorandum of Understanding on framework for regulatory cooperation on financial services.
  • 1 April: End of grace period for UK supermarkets and trusted suppliers in relation to food safety paperwork when moving agri-food goods between the Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • 30 June: End of temporary bridging period for the free flow of data from the UK to the EU.
  • 1 July: End of 6-month grace period for Great Britain & Northern Ireland trade on chilled meat products.
  • 31 December: End of 12-month adaptation period for Great Britain businesses to implement new EU regulation in relation to the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland.