Brexit update
Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ycwhanegol | 3 April 2017
 External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee | 3 Ebrill 2017




Research Briefing:

1.       Introduction

This paper provides an update on the most recent developments on Brexit of relevance to Wales. It includes sections on the work of the Assembly and Welsh Government; EU; UK; and Scotland and Ireland. The period covered is 15 March – 3 April, although reference is made to later events where information is available at time of final drafting.

2.       Developments in Wales

National Assembly for Wales

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

The External Affairs and Additional Legislation (EAAL) Committee is the lead Committee in the Assembly for co-ordinating the Brexit-related activities of Committees. The Committee has completed an inquiry into the Potential Implications of Leaving the EU in Wales.

On 27 March the Committee held an all-day Conference ‘Brexit: What next for Wales?’. The Conference brought together key organisations and bodies from across Wales to discuss priorities for Wales in the UK’s negotiations on exiting the EU.

The most recent sessions of the EEAL Committee inquiry were:

§    20 March: The Committee continued its Inquiry into regional policy - what next for Wales? with an evidence session. Witnesses included Mark Drakeford AM, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government.

§    27 March: Brexit Conference.


Regular updates on the work of the EAAL Committee are posted on the Assembly Blog: https://assemblyblog.wales/tag/european-union/.

The Research Service’s own blogs are published on In Brief. The latest Brexit blog is Article 50 has been triggered; what happens next?


The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is carrying out an inquiry into Marine Protected Areas in Wales, has published its report on  the Future of Agricultural and Rural Development Policies in Wales.

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee has just closed its consultation on What will human rights in Wales look like after Brexit?and will begin to consider the evidence.

‘The implications of Brexit for the medical workforce’ is explicitly included in the terms of reference for the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s current inquiry on medical recruitment. This inquiry will continue gathering oral evidence throughout March.

Plenary debates

22 March: Debate on the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee report on the implications for Wales of leaving the European Union. The debate continued and the report was noted on 28 March.

29 March: Statement by the First Minister: Article 50 Response, followed by questions.

Welsh Government

15 March: Two EU backed property development funds set to create £40m infrastructure boost for West Wales and the Valleys.

15 March: EU funding to support jobseekers in Powys.

22 March: £5m EU funding boost for Welsh universities.

23 March: Global buyers get a taste of Wales in an effort to reach new markets post-Brexit.

24 March: New EU project to enhance coastal infrastructure in Wales and Ireland.

28 March: Lesley Griffiths today confirmed she is fully committing the remaining £223million of funding under the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020.


16 March: UK urgently needs economic modelling with Brexit imminent (FUW)

17 March: CLA sets out red lines for food and farming in UK/EU trade deal.

20 March: NFU Cymru presents evidence at Welsh Affairs Committee Brexit inquiry.

21 March: 10-point plan to protect Cardiff in a post-BREXIT world - Cardiff Public Services Board.

24 March: Innovative ‘made in Wales’ policies key to successful agricultural sector post-Brexit – says National Assembly’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee.

28 March: EU funding legacy as Communities Investment Fund repayments are reinvested into sector. (WCVA)

28 March: True benefit of EU funding demonstrated at WCVA’s largest ever third sector event.

3.       EU developments

European Council

15 March: Report by President Donald Tusk to the European Parliament on the European Council of 9 March and the informal meeting of the 27 heads of state and government of 10 March, and his final remarks.

17 March: Speech by President Donald Tusk to Speakers of EU Parliaments in Rome.

21 March: President Tusk called a European Council (without UK) on Brexit for 29 April. He highlighted that the main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states that will be negatively affected by Brexit as well as for the EU's important partners and friends around the world.

25 March: Speech by President Donald Tusk at the ceremony of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.

25 March: The Rome Declaration.

European Commission

15 March: Enforcement of rules along the agri-food chain in the EU.

17 March: EU imports of organic products from Norway and Iceland to resume – following a delay in the incorporation of new regulations into the EEA agreement.

22 March: Speech by Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom, at the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions.

22 March: European Commission registers two European Citizens' Initiatives on the rights of Union citizens after Brexit and rejects one on preventing Brexit.

24 March: The Treaties of Rome at 60: Commission recalls Europe's achievements and leads discussion on the future at 27.

European Parliament

15 March: Summit conclusions and future of the EU headline Wednesday’s plenary debates.

15 March: Sustainable growth, jobs and security: MEPs adopt 2018 budget priorities.

17 March: This week in plenary: safe food, melting ice caps and a prejudice that won’t go away.

27 March: President Tajani on EU anniversary: “We should be proud of the legacy”.

European News

28 March: A new evaluation says that almost one in ten German companies want to relocate activities from the UK. German exports to the UK fell 3.5% in 2016, mostly after the referendum. (Frankfurter Allgemeine quoting German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) report, original in German).

28 March: The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions calls for regions to be represented in Brexit negotiations.

4.       UK developments

16 March: Royal Assent was given to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.

UK Government

15 March: Minister David Jones addressed freight and transport industry leaders.

20 March: The Prime Minister visited Wales as part of her ongoing engagement with the devolved nations ahead of triggering Article 50.

26 March: PM visited Scotland to set out plan for Britain.

29 March: The UK’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, Sir Tim Barrow, formally informed the office of European Council President, Donald Tusk, of the UK’s intention to leave the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

30 March: The Government published a White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill.

House of Commons

22 March: First Reading agreed for the Terms of Withdrawal from the European Union (Referendum) Bill. The Second Reading will be 12 May.

23 March: Questions about WTO Rules, answered by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade, Mark Garnier.

14 March: Exiting the European Union Committee: The UK’s negotiating objectives for its withdrawal from the EU - Evidence given by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

15 March: The Exiting the European Union Committee heard from David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

15 March: The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee held its final evidence session as part of its inquiry into Feeding the Nation: labour constraints. George Eustice and Robert Goodwill gave evidence (Ministers for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and Immigration.

15 March: European Scrutiny Committee Meeting Summary – discussed the future Europol-Denmark agreement.

15 March: How have TTIP negotiations informed future UK-US trade talks? The International Trade Committee took evidence.

20 March: MPs from four select committees have combined forces to launch an unprecedented joint inquiry on air quality to scrutinise cross-government plans to tackle urban pollution hotspots.

20 March: The European Scrutiny Committee took evidence from David Jones MP, Minister of State, Department for Exiting the European Union, and Sir Tim Barrow KCMG, UK Permanent Representative to the EU, as one of its sessions on EU-UK relations in preparation for Brexit.

20 March: The Welsh Affairs Committee visited Dolgellau to launch the next stage of its Brexit: Agriculture inquiry, hearing from Farmers’ Union Wales and National Farmers Union.

21 March: The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee considered access to the European Union's internal energy market (IEM) and the future energy relationship between the UK and EU after Brexit.

23 March: The Home Affairs Committee visited Wakefield for an evidence session on immigration.

28 March: The International Trade Committee continued its inquiry into UK-US trade relations with a session featuring representatives of the Institute of Directors and BritishAmerican Business.

29 March: The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee examined the rural tourism experience in Wales and Scotland. One witness was Dr Manon Antoniazzi, Director, Culture, Sport and Tourism, Welsh Government, and soon to be the National Assembly for Wales’ Chief Executive.

24 February: Ensuring strong equalities legislation after the EU exit – Women and Equalities Committee report

17 March: The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published its report Forestry in England: Seeing the wood for the trees.

20 March: Treasury must investigate if post-Brexit tax powers can boost tourism - Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report.

21 March: The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee published the Farmers Union of Wales’ written evidence for the inquiry Brexit: agriculture.

22 March: The Government must address four priorities for the justice system in negotiating the UK's new relationship with the EU: Justice Committee’s report Implications of Brexit for the justice system.

24 April: The Prime Minister will be questioned by the Liaison Committee.

House of Lords

The House of Lords European Union Committee and its six Sub-Committees is undertaking a “co-ordinated series of inquiries into the key issues that will arise in the forthcoming negotiations on Brexit”.

15 March: Questions on Universities: European Union Students.

20 March: Questions on Brexit: Negotiation Programme.

21 March: A debate on the Government’s response to the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: Gibraltar.

23 March: A debate on the Science and Technology Committee’s report A Time for Boldness: EU Membership and UK Science after the Referendum, followed by a debate on the European Union Committee’s report Brexit: environment and climate change.

15 March: Tech industry representatives techUK discussed EU Data Protection with the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee.

21 March: Brexit and Northern Ireland: former party leaders give evidence to the EU Committee on the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.

22 March: David Davis MP questioned over Article 50 and Brexit by the EU Committee as part of its ongoing scrutiny of Brexit.

22 March: The EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has started a new inquiry into Criminal Justice Cooperation with the EU after Brexit: The European Arrest Warrant.

24 March: The EU Committee continues its inquiry into Brexit: devolution, and former Scottish First Minister Lord McConnell gave evidence on the impact of Brexit on Scotland.

16 March: Government response to House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee Report into the future of fisheries in the light of the vote to leave the EU.

20 March: The EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has received a response from Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Commercial Secretary, HM Treasury, including the Government’s response to the committee’s report, Brexit: financial services, which was published on 15 December 2016.

20 March: Brexit: justice for families, individuals and businesses? report published by the EU Justice Committee.

22 March: UK needs uniquely comprehensive trade agreement to protect services sectors - EU Internal Market Sub-Committee’s report on the implications of Brexit for the UK's trade in non-financial services with the EU.

27 March: EU External Affairs and EU Internal Market Committees’ reply to the Government’s response to Brexit: the options for trade.

28 March: Clarity needed on UK access to Digital Single Market post-Brexit – European Scrutiny Committee report.

5 April: The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has launched a short inquiry into Brexit: farm animal welfare, which will be a roundtable discussion on Wednesday 5 April, at which academics and industry experts will give evidence on farm animal welfare and Brexit.


17 March: What happens if there’s no deal? – CBI

21 March: MPs back CLA call for post-Brexit policy to better support forestry sector.

26 March: British Retail Consortium, National Farmers Union of England and Wales (NFU) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) outline their joint priorities for UK trade policy.

28 March: Article 50 annotated — with comments from its author. (Politico)

28 March: Article 50: Two Crucial Years for Food, Farming and the Countryside. (Tenant Farmers Association)

5.       Scotland

Scottish Parliament

15 March: Debate on the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committees’ Reports: The EU referendum result and its implications for Scotland.

Scottish Government

15 March: Brexit impact on universities.

16 March: PM bid to block Scotland’s choice “undemocratic and unsustainable”.

20 March: Will of Scotland’s national parliament must be respected - FM: Sovereign right of Scottish people to determine form of government.

24 March: Building links with Bavaria - First Minister signs joint economic declaration.

24 March: EU student status confirmed - free tuition in Scotland for EU students enrolling for 2018-19.

6.       Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Assembly

28 March: Secretary of State's Oral Statement on NI political situation.

7.       Other reports published

§    Keep trade easy: What small firms want from Brexit Federation of Small Business