News & Insights

Weekly Update on UK-EU Relationship: week commencing 8 February 2021

The focus shifts on the future UK-EU relationship this week.  The UK Government wrote to the European Commission requesting an extension of grace periods for goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Currently supermarkets and their suppliers are allowed to operate with reduced paperwork and certification when moving goods, during the current grace period, which will expire in April.  The UK Government have asked for an 18-month extension to all grace periods (until at least 1 January 2023) and a permanent solution for chilled meat products moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Monday 8 February

The European Scrutiny Committee is continuing to monitor the new EU legislation and the future of the UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement, and will take evidence from Michael Gove MP today.

The Petitions Committee will host an evidence session calling on the Government to negotiate visa-free work permits with the EU for touring professionals and artists.

In the House of Lords, the EU Goods Sub-Committee will resume their inquiry into future UK-EU trade in goods.

Tuesday 9 February

Following the readmittance of an amendment to the Government’s Trade Bill preventing the UK signing trade agreements with States, the Bill will return to the House of Commons.  This will be followed by a backbench debate concerning the publication of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

In the House of Lords:

  • The EU Goods Sub-Committee will conclude their current inquiry into future UK-EU trade in goods
  • The European Union Committee will hear from Michael Gove MP and the UK’s new Brexit and International policy representative Lord David Frost, on the governance of the UK-EU TCA and future scrutiny of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Wednesday 10 February

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will hear from shipping & logistics companies concerning the on-going operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Home Affairs Committee will consider the implications for future UK-EU security co-operation .

In the House of Lords, the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee will take evidence from Commons, Senedd Cymru and Scottish Parliament Committee Chairs, concerning their experience scrutinising the UK common framework programme. In advance of the meeting, William Wragg MP, Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has written to the UK Government outlining concerns with the current scrutiny arrangements.

Thursday 11 February

Michael Gove MP, and the Minister of State for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP will give evidence to the Joint Committee on the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. This special committee has been appointed to:

  • carry out a review of the operation of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, and if appropriate make recommendations for the repeal or amendment of that Act; and
  • report on the Government’s proposed Draft Fixed-term Parliaments Act (Repeal) Bill, which would revive the dissolution prerogative allowing Parliament to once more be dissolved by the Sovereign, on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Key Dates for 2021

  • 28 February: European Commission imposed deadline for when the European Parliament will have consented to the UK-EU TCA.  This date can be extended by a decision from the EU-UK Partnership Council.
  • 31 March: Date by which the UK & EU aim to have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a 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.