Initial thoughts on the Revised UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement
October 21, 2019
All about the Backstop
The changes in the revised UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement are focused on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. The paper below gives a brief overview of our initial first thoughts on what this means. While the rest of the Withdrawal Agreement sets out the rules for the transition period until the UK and EU agree their future trading relationship, the revised protocol is the framework for the rules that will apply in Norther Ireland unless the Assembly opts out at some future date.
Our key concerns:
- It was a missed opportunity to enhance the rights safeguards within the protocol;
- The consent mechanism creates the risk of ongoing division and tension in the NI Assembly and was designed by the UK and EU without any consultation in Northern Ireland;
- It removes important level playing field safeguards that protect a range of rights in relation to the environment, social and labour standards;
- It creates new customs and regulatory checks between NI and the rest of the UK with will only increase overtime as the rest of the UK diverges from EU rules;
- It carries over key provisions on the supremacy of EU law, which could be important for the protection of rights in the revised protocol; and
- The complex legislation to implement the revised Withdrawal Agreement needs to be enacted prior to Brexit day on 31 October, giving very little time for scrutiny.
You can download our initial thoughts below.