‘Difficult’ Brexit talks see no breakthrough, European Commission says (BBC): Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the talks had taken place in a “constructive atmosphere” but there had been no breakthrough. Downing Street echoed Mr Barnier’s characterisation of the talks as “difficult”, but said the negotiations were “ongoing”.
Brexit meaningful vote will go ahead, says No 10, despite talks stalling (Guardian): Downing Street said the talks had been “difficult”, but stressed the vote would take place on Tuesday, as committed by May. If it is lost, With it increasingly being assumed No 10 will not secure significant EU concessions on the backstop, May is expected to try to sell her plan to MPs and the public later in the week, potentially with a speech. There are no plans as yet for the prime minister or Cox to return to Brussels, but it is understood this could happen if required. Sunday night is the final deadline for any changes, as the government needs to publish and print copies of deal documents on Monday, and publish the motion MPs will then vote on.
UK businesses get trade remedies guidance for Brexit (MLex): Once the UK has left the EU (following any time-limited implementation period), UK businesses will no longer be able to ask the European Commission to investigate claims of dumping or subsidy. From this time, trade remedy measures active under the EU system that the UK has decided to keep will be applied at the UK border. The additional duty will be collected by HMRC. The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (TRID) will investigate if new anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures are needed to counteract unfair trading practices. TRID will also investigate if safeguarding measures are needed to counteract unforeseen surges in imports which risk damaging UK businesses and carry out a transitional review on each of the measures kept by the UK.
Workers’ rights: MPs promised vote on changes after Brexit (BBC): No 10 said Parliament would be given a say over whether to adopt any new protections introduced on the continent and to stay aligned with EU standards. A handful of Labour MPs have suggested they could be persuaded to back the deal when it returns to Parliament next week – if there are guarantees employment rights deriving from the UK’s EU membership, covering areas such as paid parental leave, leave for carers and flexible working, will not be watered down. With MPs due to vote on the PM’s deal again by 12 March, ministers have offered the following commitments:
- MPs will be given a vote on adopting future EU rules on workers’ rights
- Trade unions will be consulted in advance on any proposed future changes
- There will be a new single enforcement body to protect vulnerable and agency workers
EU governments’ no-deal plans for UK citizens published (MLex): An overview of measures that EU governments are going to take in an event of a no-deal Brexit to protect the rights of UK citizens living in the bloc has been published by the European Commission. It has underlined that the preparations depend on individual members and don’t reflect the EU’s official opinion.
Home Office to amend registration rules for vulnerable EU citizens (Guardian): The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) agreed to drop its application for a judicial review after Sajid Javid’s department made changes to its guidance to caseworkers in relation to vulnerable citizens. As part of the settlement, the government has expressly confirmed that it will not refuse settled status to anyone who is “economically inactive”, works part-time or lacks private health insurance. The government has also amended rules that would have allowed Home Office caseworkers to refuse settled status to EU citizens who had previously been served with a removal notice. The Home Office will also be forced to check the current circumstances of anyone who had been served a deportation order more than two years before to see if they are actually a threat to the country.
Bombardier presses DUP to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal (FT): Bombardier, the most important employer in the Unionist strongholds of Northern Ireland, is putting pressure on the region’s Democratic Unionist party to drop its objections to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal as a critical vote in Westminster nears.
UK faces recession in event of no-deal Brexit, warns OECD (FT): The Paris-based international organisation said the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement was a serious risk to global growth, which is already slowing as trade tensions and political uncertainty curb investment. In its latest economic outlook, the OECD predicted UK growth of just 0.8 per cent year on year in 2019 and 0.9 per cent in 2020. These are a significant downgrade from the 1.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent growth it forecast for those two years as recently as November, and considerably lower than the 1.2 per cent growth pencilled in for 2019 in the Bank of England’s latest forecasts from February. However, even that weak rate of expansion is premised on a smooth Brexit, with a transition period lasting to the end of 2020. The OECD believes a no-deal Brexit that led to the imposition of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules would reduce UK output by about 2 per cent, relative to a baseline of a smooth exit, over the next two years. The costs would be greater if delays at borders and a loss of access to other markets hit cross-border supply chains and if there was disruption in financial markets.