Documents considered by the Committee on 18 April 2018 Contents

Meeting Summary

The Committee looks at the significance of EU proposals and decides whether to clear the document from scrutiny or withhold clearance and ask questions of the Government. The Committee also has the power to recommend documents for debate.

Brexit-related issues

The Committee is now looking at documents in the light of the UK decision to withdraw from the EU. Issues are explored in greater detail in report chapters and, where appropriate, in the summaries below. The Committee notes that in the current week the following issues and questions have arisen in documents or in correspondence with Ministers:

Adoption of detailed EU fishing rules

Animal welfare standards and international competitiveness

Relocation of the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority

Union Customs Code: electronic systems

Proportionality test for regulation of professions

EU space programmes, particularly the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS)

Summary

Adoption of detailed EU fishing rules

The Committee reports to the House a Commission Report setting out the instances where detailed rules have been adopted under the Common Fisheries Policy (EU tertiary legislation, akin to UK Statutory Instruments). While the Report is largely factual, the Committee considers this to be a helpful case study into the potential implications for the UK during the post-Brexit implementation period of no longer being party to decisions on tertiary legislation that will nevertheless apply. The Committee therefore asks how the consultation mechanisms agreed in the draft Withdrawal Agreement would apply in practice.

Not cleared; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Animal welfare standards and international competitiveness

Noting the work of the Commission to engage internationally in order to promote high animal welfare standards and therefore mitigate any impact of high standards on international competitiveness, the Committee asks how a post-Brexit UK strategy in this area might differ and what progress has been made in advocating greater flexibility to make imports conditional on compliance with animal welfare standards.

Not cleared; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Relocation of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA)

Swift progress is being made in putting in place the legal arrangements for the relocation of the EMA and EBA from London as a result of Brexit. The Committee seeks information on the progress of any discussions between the EMA, EBA and the Government concerning how the UK might facilitate the Agencies’ relocation, in particular as regards reducing the withdrawal costs.

Cleared; further information requested.

Union Customs Code: electronic systems

The legal foundation for the operation of the EU’s Customs Union on goods entering from other countries is the 2013 Union Customs Code (UCC). It foresaw the upgrading or creation of various new electronic systems by the end of 2020 to automate the operation of the Customs Union and eliminate the need for physical paperwork when exporting goods to or from the EU. In March 2018, the European Commission proposed to delay the legal deadline for implementation of seven of the UCC’s electronic systems in view of the difficulties encountered in the preparatory process until the end of 2025.

Given the Government’s policy is to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union at the end of the post-Brexit transitional period, the European Scrutiny Committee has concluded that any delay in the establishment of the speedier electronic customs processes would have an impact on British businesses trading with the EU when the UK assumes ‘third country’ status. This is because the Government has failed to advance a detailed prospectus for the post-Brexit customs cooperation agreement with the EU, and customs checks (and regulatory controls) will by default apply to exports of UK goods to EU countries.

The Committee asks the Government for further detailed information about its post-Brexit customs proposals, to assess to what extent they are likely to require continued policy alignment with the EU even when the UK ceases to have a formal say over EU customs law and policy. The Committee has also repeated concerns that negotiations over a new customs agreement with the EU could be complicated by an on-going dispute between the Treasury and the European Commission over alleged widespread customs fraud at UK ports on Chinese imports.

Cleared from scrutiny; drawn to the attention of the Home Affairs, International Trade and Treasury Committees.

Proportionality test for regulation of professions

In January 2017 the European Commission proposed a Directive for a proportionality test, to be conducted by Member States before they introduced new national regulatory measures or amended existing provisions in this area, with the aim of ensuring greater compliance with the requirement that any regulations which restrict access to professions be necessary and proportionate. The Government indicated its support for the measure, which could benefit the UK post-exit, particularly where Member States’ professional regulation does not discriminate between EU and third country nationals. The Minister (Lord Henley) now seeks clearance of the file before its adoption in Council, following the quick and uncontroversial conclusion of trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament. On Brexit, the draft Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of UK and EU citizens whose qualifications have been recognised as well as recognition procedures that are ongoing when the transition period ends. Thereafter, the legal default is UK non-participation in the EU’s mutual recognition of professional qualifications regime. However, the Prime Minister and the European Council’s guidelines both indicate an interest in retaining mutual recognition of qualifications. The EU has an interest in retaining these arrangements as the UK has recognised a high number of EU27 national’s qualifications (mainly doctors, nurses, and teachers), although the value of any such arrangement will be contingent on the provisions regarding movement of natural persons. Meanwhile, UK professional business service providers also benefit from the ability for their UK staff to practice in/provide services to their EU branches.

Cleared from scrutiny; update requested; drawn to the attention of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Exiting the European Union Committees.

EU Space Programmes: Galileo, EGNOS, Copernicus

The EU27 have decided (unanimously — the UK abstained) to relocate a back-up monitoring centre for the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) from the UK to Spain, to comply with the programme’s security requirements. A recent furore at the prospect of UK exclusion from the EU space programmes has given the issue prominence. Concerns have focused on possible UK exclusion from the secure Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) which is restricted to government-authorised users. The chief development in this regard is that the Government recently accepted the inclusion of agreed text in the draft Withdrawal Agreement which enables the EU to exclude the UK from activity that involves the transfer of sensitive information by notification. This gives the EU27 the option to exclude the UK and UK providers from the PRS from exit day.

The report judges it unlikely that the UK will be unable to access the PRS in the long-term, as an EU Decision allows for third country access, negotiations are already underway with Norway and the US, and it appears to be in the EU’s strategic and commercial interest to grant PRS access to its NATO partners, including the UK. However, it appears less likely that UK businesses will be able to continue to participate fully in in the production of PRS-infrastructure and equipment. The Decision governing third country participation permits third country involvement in production of PRS receivers but not the most sensitive parts of the programme such as the security modules. To continue to have access to the PRS, the Government would have to conclude separate space programme and security agreements with the EU.

Regarding the EU space programmes more generally, UK participation post-transition will be dependent on the future relationship; however, UK firms are already encountering difficulty securing contracts which will involve delivery post-transition, as the legal basis for them to do so is not established. This is cause for concern for the sector as, despite previous UK opposition to Galileo, the UK space sector has been a significant beneficiary and wants to continue to grow on the back of this work and to exploit the downstream commercial opportunities that the infrastructure will create.

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Committees for Exiting the European Union and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Documents drawn to the attention of select committees:

(‘NC’ indicates document is ‘not cleared’ from scrutiny; ‘C’ indicates document is ‘cleared’)

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee: EU space programmes: Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus [(a) Commission Decision (NC), (b) Commission Report (C)]; Proportionality test for professions [Proposed Directive (C)]

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee: International cooperation to combat match-fixing [Proposed Council Decisions (NC)]

Exiting the European Union Committee: EU space programmes: Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus [(a) Commission Decision (NC), (b) Commission Report (C)]; Proportionality test for professions [Proposed Directive (C)]

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Adoption of detailed EU fishing rules [Commission Report (NC)]; Animal welfare and international competitiveness [Commission Report (NC)]

Home Affairs Committee: Union Customs Code: electronic systems [Proposed Regulation (C)]

International Trade Committee: Union Customs Code: electronic systems [Proposed Regulation (C)]





Published: 24 April 2018