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UK position on Brexit negotiations

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The House of Lords European Union Committee (EUC) has published correspondence with Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove MP, in response to queries around the impact of coronavirus on the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the EU and on preparations for the end of the implementation period, in light of the government’s position that the 31 December 2020 end date is set out in statute and will not be moved.

Among its questions, the EUC asked for a detailed timetable for implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement, so that businesses already under strain due to coronavirus are in a position to prepare, and whether the preparations for ‘implementation period completion day’ can be completed by the end of 2020, in light of coronavirus disruption.

Gove sought to reassure the Committee of the ‘ample time to strike a deal with the EU’ and confirmed that technical discussions with the Commission on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol had started, including talks on necessary systems, databases and regulatory provisions, although no detail on the plans or timeline was provided, and the UK government position remained that there would be no extension to the transition.

By the time of the high-level conference with the EU in June (as agreed in the final clause of the Political Agreement) Gove expected ‘if the negotiation was productive, to see a broad outline of the deal. If that was not the situation, we would have to consider whether it looked likely that we could reach an agreement in the time remaining’.

Issue: 1488
Categories: News