Finally, Progress on Finance: Beyond BrexitBloomberg (1 April 2021)

  • The UK and EU have agreed on a new forum on cross-border financial market regulation, which could help unlock equivalence talks.
  • Additionally, to boost London’s attractiveness, the Financial Conduct Authority announced that it will consult on changes to listing rules, following from news that Amsterdam overtook London as Europe’s share trading capital after Brexit.

Brexit: Counting the cost of the Irish sea border BBC (1 April 2021)

  • A BBC reporter examined the issue of the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland by speaking with business owners, logistics managers, and lorry drivers about the challenges of navigating Brexit’s trade transition, who noted extra administrative costs between £50-£350; an added turnaround time of 4 hours per trailer; 48% delayed or cancelled journeys reported by businesses; 1-2 extra hours at the Border Control Posts; a third of freight travel down over the Irish Sea.

Brexit reality only hitting now, EU’s Barnier saysReuters (31 March 2021)

  • The EU’s former Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, commented that the reality of Britain’s decision to leave the bloc was only now being felt, including trade barriers, limits on citizens’ movement and work visas.
  • He also noted that Brexit was a lesson for the whole EU which must show its 450 million citizens that the EU is not a distant, uncaring bureaucracy, but that it benefits all.

Brexit: UK ‘risks falling behind’ EU on workers’ rightsBBC (31 March 2021)

  • The Trade Union Congress (“TUC“) expressed concerns that the UK is at a real risk of falling behind the EU on the issue of worker’s rights, noting that the EU had “various initiatives” in the pipeline which would improve standards once they became law, but the UK has no similar legislation on the way. The TUC has noted that the UK had already failed to implement directives it agreed to while still a member of the EU, including:
    • A work-life balance directive, which gives fathers the right to day-one paid paternity leave and gives all workers the right to request flexible work; and
    • A transparent and predictable working conditions directive, which gives workers compensation for cancelled shifts, predictability of hours for zero hours contracts, and a right to free mandatory training.
  • Further initiatives being considered by the EU could improve conditions for “platform workers”, give employees the right to “digitally disconnect” outside working hours, and make employers accountable for the rights of workers in their supply chains.

How tampon tax, hedgerows and sanctions have changed since Brexit BBC (31 March 2021)

  • While the full impact of the UK’s departure from the EU will take years to materialise, the UK government has presented some quick wins:
    • A cut in VAT for tampons and sanitary products was the first Brexit ‘dividend’.
    • A new points-based immigration system.
    • The UK now has its own sanctions regime, which includes technical differences with the EU system and a slightly different list of people.
    • In February, the United States agreed to temporarily cut tariffs on imports of Scotch whisky in a long-running dispute about the manufacture of planes.
    • The government has claimed that farmers previously could not apply for money to help protect hedgerows from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy because they were dubbed “ineligible features”, which will change with the UK’s post-Brexit Sustainable Farming Incentive. The National Farmers Union say that’s not strictly accurate because some hedgerows were recognised previously, and there was also a separate British grant scheme for them.

N Ireland hospitality sector faces Brexit ‘trouble’ after lockdownFT (30 March 2021)

  • After coronavirus lockdown is lifted, the N. Irish hospitality will face sever Brexit-related difficulties after suppliers in Great Britain were told they were not covered by the unilateral UK extension of the “trusted trader” scheme.
  • The “trusted trader” scheme, designed to smooth supermarkets’ supply to the region, does not cover haulage, hospitality and food wholesale and Brussels has shown no interest in extending it into these sectors.

Brits in Spain spooked by post-Brexit statusPolitico (30 March 2021)

  • According to the Schengen rules, citizens from third countries like the UK who want to stay in a Schengen country for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period must either apply for residence status or a visa. Failing to do so can result in becoming an undocumented migrant, and a fine or even deportation.
  • Spanish and British governments have stressed that nobody is facing deportation on March 31, and that UK citizens in Spain should familiarize themselves with the new rules and apply for residency or visas to stay. Neither government could confirm media reports suggesting that up to 500 Brits could be sent home by the Spanish authorities this week.

Biden’s tariffs threat shows how far Brexit Britain is from controlling its own destiny – The Guardian (30 March 2021)

  • The US has threatened imposing punitive import tariffs if the UK proceeds with its plan to impose a tax on big tech. These new duties are intended to raise $325m – equal to the amount the US government believes the Exchequer will raise from the 2% tax on revenues of tech firms.

Ten EU states to halt extraditions to UK following BrexitThe Irish Times (30 March 2021)

  • Ten EU member states (Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden) have said they will no longer extradite their nationals to the UK following Brexit, the British Home Office has said, under the European Arrest Warrant, introduced in 2004, which obliged Member States to arrest and transfer suspects to countries where they were wanted.
  • Two more countries, Austria and the Czech Republic, announced they will only hand over suspects to the UK with their consent.

Brexit: Spain denies reports it will round up and deport Britons without visas The Guardian (29 March 2021)

  • Spain has warned British tourists and second-home owners about the risks over overstaying more than 90 days in the country in any 180-day period post-Brexit. While the visitor rules do not apply to British nationals settled in the EU lawfully, hundreds if not thousands of unregistered British citizens in Spain could be affected.
  • The Spanish government however dismissed reports that offenders would be rounded up and deported if they overstay. While police will not be deployed to search for British over-stayers, anyone staying longer than 90 days will be considered to be in an irregular situation and will be subject to the law if they are picked up at a border control point.