13 May 2020

Unsurprisingly, EU exit activities slowed down while both the European Union and the UK Government focused on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the ongoing outbreak, negotiations and preparations are starting to pick up again, with Prime Minister Johnson continuing to assert that he will not be extending the deadline despite Covid-19.

I’m sure you are all consumed with keeping your supply chains moving and managing your business through the pandemic, but we continue to keep up with Brexit developments and to prepare.

The key thing to remember is that we need to plan for a 31 December 2020 deadline, regardless of what happens with Covid-19.

Second round of UK-EU negotiations

The second round of negotiations covered everything from trade in goods to transport.

The EU’s chief negotiator still sees difficulties ahead, and we expect to see more progress in the future on what the partnership will look like.

The third round of negotiations commenced this week, starting on 11 May 2020 and another round is planned before the end of June, which is the deadline for an extension on the transition period – not forgetting that the PM has said this won’t happen, and it would have to be agreed by both sides.

Border Delivery Group continues its work

I remain highly engaged with the Border Delivery Group (BDG); a group which looks are border controls and wider strategy.

The BDG will be developing a new ‘Border Operating Model’ and continues to plan border operations, and we will keep you updated on the progress and continue to advocate for the Logistics industry.

European Parliament recommendations

The European Parliament’s role in negotiations is to issue recommendations only, and they will also need to consent to any future free trade agreement.

Although not the final recommendation, the current draft shows that they are willing to preserve:

  • Basic connectivity in rail (Channel tunnel)
  • Aviation (market access including fifth freedom; cooperation on air traffic management)
  • Road (without the need to resort to ECMT permits)

They have also indicated that these preservations should require the UK to adhere to certain EU standards and strong level playing field measures.

The current recommendation is also that any future partnership should not grant the same opportunities as EU membership, and they are likely to recommend a less ambitious level of market access.

 
I hope this information is useful and that you are safe and well.