The government has pledged to vote on a resolution in both houses of Parliament before the Edo-Speaker votes, where each parliament is asked to approve the withdrawal agreement. So far, the British Parliament had had two “wise votes” but had not approved the November 2018 withdrawal agreement, despite assurances from the EU in January 2019 that the backstop should not be permanent and other interpretations and clarifications in March 2019. The Strasbourg clarification package and the Attorney General`s opinion will be discussed in the Commons Briefing Paper 8525 The Strasbourg package, 13 March 2019. Quote: “In future relations with the EU, the UK will also work to ensure that British EU nationals covered by the civil rights agreement have the opportunity to move freely.” How is she going to land? Food producers on both sides of the Channel feared losing lucrative protection after leaving the EU. This agreement will be welcomed by the industry as it ensures that the status quo can remain in effect for years longer than the 21-month transition period. Indeed, UK geographical indications (GIs), such as Scotch whisky, benefit from the many trade agreements that allow the sale of EU geographical indications worldwide. This still needs to be renegotiated in the future if the UK concludes new agreements with other countries. This is a far cry from what the UK proposed in July in its Brexit White Paper. It had proposed that the UK could set up its own ISIS system, for which EU food names could be candidates. The EU hated the idea and the UK withdrew. Some EU rules on food and agriculture also apply to NI during the backstop period. Existing controls on animals and animal products moving from the UK to NI need to be strengthened. The political statement states that provisions to address health and plant protection barriers to trade barriers should be introduced “on the basis of WTO agreements and going beyond.” This triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, which defines the procedure for the withdrawal of an EU member state, thus opening a two-year countdown to withdrawal.
What does that mean? In addition to the single customs territory, other aspects of the backstop are similar to those already proposed by the EU in March. In many areas, Northern Ireland will be subject to different regulations than the rest of the UK. What this actually means is in the European Commission`s backstop fact sheet: more controls at trade ports between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. While controls on industrial products “can most often take place on the market or at the merchants` homes by the relevant authorities,” according to the fact sheet, checks on agricultural products and livestock must be carried out at ports. “Existing controls at ports and airports must be continued, but they will be strengthened to protect the EU`s internal market, its consumers and animal health,” the fact sheet says. Under the backstop, the UK will form a customs union with the EU (with the exception of trade in fisheries and aquaculture products, which is expected to be the subject of a new agreement on fishing opportunities by 1 July 2020). The UK will comply with specific EU customs legislation, including for third countries, and some harmonisation of tax, environmental, labour law, state aid, competition and public enterprise/monopoly legislation will continue, but without any obligation to follow the new EU legislation and ECJ jurisprudence.