Brexit update
Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ychwanegol | 8 May 2017
 External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee | 8 Mai 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 29 March – 3 May, 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.

29 March: Statement from the Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee on Article 50.

The most recent session of the EEAL Committee inquiry was:

§    3 April: The committee discussed a paper on the future of regional policy, members received a briefing from the Assembly’s Chief Legal Adviser on the Great Repeal Bill, and members discussed the Committee’s forward work programme.

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. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX The latest Brexit blogs are Estimating the timeline for Brexit Legislation, “The Great Repeal Bill”: What will it mean?, and Brexit: What would trading under “WTO terms” mean for the Welsh economy?.




29 March: Statement from the Llywydd on the UK Government triggering Article 50.

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

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is carrying out an inquiry: What will human rights in Wales look like after Brexit?

‘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.

Plenary debates

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

4 April: The First Minister led a debate: The Implications for Wales of Leaving the European Union.

Welsh Government

29 March: First Minister Carwyn Jones – “We’re committed to a sensible Brexit that secures Wales’ future”.

30 March: The Great Repeal Bill: Welsh economy needs certainty, clarity and reassurance - Carwyn Jones.

30 March: Wales broadens its horizons attracting €66m to drive innovation (Horizon 2020).

30 March: West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin becomes latest member of Wales’ Protected Food Name family.

30 March: A new Board and a new era for Hybu Cig Cymru post Brexit.

10 April: Wales hits target for maximising £1.8bn EU Funds.

10 April: EU funding boost an Epic start to Easter.


29 March: Triggering of Article 50 makes progress essential (FUW)

29 March: Article 50 triggered (NFU Cymru)

30 March: Members urged to take Access to Labour Survey (NFU Cymru)

30 March: The Great Repeal Bill White Paper - our response (NFU Cymru)

3 April: UK farming unions press for common financial framework post-Brexit (NFU Cymru)

18 April: General Election must not distract from Brexit progress FUW says.

19 April: CLA Cymru Gives Evidence at Parliamentary Hearing.

20 April: UK Farming and Landowning Organisations meet as ‘Brexit’ Election Called (Tenant Farmers Association)

27 April: MPs back CLA call for certainty to help feed the nation (migrant workers scheme).

3.       EU developments

European Council

29 March: Statement by the European Council (Art. 50) on the UK notification.

29 March: Remarks by President Donald Tusk following the UK notification.

31 March: Remarks by President Donald Tusk on the next steps following the UK notification.

25 April: North Sea plan for fisheries: Council ready to negotiate with the European Parliament.

29 April: A special European Council agreed the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations.

European Commission

29 March: Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union – Fact Sheet.

29 March: Registration of a European Citizens' Initiative inviting the Commission "to improve the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities and strengthen cultural and linguistic diversity in the Union".

5 April: Statement by Michel Barnier at the plenary session of the European Parliament.

5 April: Speech by President Juncker at the European Parliament Plenary session.

27 April: April infringements package: key decisions: Commission calls on the UK to protect blanket bog habitats [in England], and the Commission requests the UK to adopt uniform rules concerning the contract of use of infrastructure in international rail traffic.

3 May: European Commission's draft negotiating directives for Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom.

3 May: European Commission takes next step in Article 50 process by recommending draft negotiating directives.

3 May: Speech by Michel Barnier at the press conference on the adoption of the Commission's recommendation on draft negotiating directives.

European Parliament

28 March: London Mayor: “We are still going to be part of the European family”.

29 March: Article 50: how the future of EU-UK relations will be decided.

29 March: Brexit: MEPs set out conditions for approving UK withdrawal agreement.

4 April: German President: "Europe is complicated but worth the effort".

4 April: Brexit: MEPs to put people first during the negotiations.

5 April: MEPs approve €71.5m in EU aid after natural disasters in UK, Cyprus, Portugal.

6 April: Red lines on Brexit negotiations – Parliament’s resolution.

20 April: Tajani in London: “Citizens deserve certainty regarding their post-Brexit future”.

28 April: Belonging to the EU is a good thing, say a growing number of citizens.

3 May: EU-NATO relations: debate with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg.

European News

23 March: Brexit: EU must show unity protecting the rights of every citizen living and working in regions and cities. (Committee of the Regions)

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

27 April: Merkel warns against UK 'illusions' over Brexit. (CNN report)

4.       UK developments

UK Government

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.

30 March: Guidance for businesses on the Great Repeal Bill.

30 March: Certainty and stability for UK businesses as negotiations begin on new relationship with Europe.

31 March: Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte following the UK's letter of notification to the European Council.

2 April: Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo about how we will work with Gibraltar for the best possible outcome on Brexit.

5 April: Lord Bridges speech to Alliance of European Metropolitan Chambers.

6 April: Lord Bridges speech at the National Consumer Federation Consumer Congress.

6 April: Prime Minister Theresa May met with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk for talks following the triggering of Article 50.

7 April: UK leaving the EU: what you need to know - Information for EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals living, working, visiting and studying in the EU.

26 April: Prime Minister Theresa May met President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission at Downing Street.

27 April: Prime Minister May met Commission President Juncker in London.

House of Commons

29 March: The Prime Minister led a debate on Article 50.

30 March: A statement by the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, on Legislating for UK Withdrawal from the EU, followed by questions.

19 April: The Prime Minister moved a motion for an Early Parliamentary General Election, which after debate was agreed by 522 votes to 13.

19 April: A debate on Section 5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 - the UK’s convergence programme – which was agreed.

20 April: Presentation of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report “Lessons learned from the EU Referendum”, followed by questions.

26 April: Questions on Leaving the EU: Effect on Wales, answered by Alun Cairns and Guto Bebb, and questions on the Great Repeal Bill.

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

29 March: Potential for UK-US trade deal examined by the International Trade Committee, the evidence has been published.

30 March: Procedure Committee added to terms of reference for 'Great Repeal Bill' inquiry.

18 April: The Culture, Media and Sport Committee held an evidence session in its inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the digital single market.

19 April: The Welsh Affairs Committee held an evidence session on Agriculture in Wales post-Brexit.

19 April: The Exiting the European Union Committee looked at the potential financial settlement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

19 April: The Scottish Affairs Committee continued its inquiry into Scotland's place in Europe with a session examining the constitutional implications of the Brexit process and settlement.

4 April: The Exiting the European Union Committee concludes in its report that the Government's assertion that "no deal is better than a bad deal" is unsubstantiated without an economic assessment of "no deal" having been done and without evidence that steps are being taken to mitigate what would be the damaging effect of such an outcome. The report’s findings include: Timescale for reaching agreement; Gibraltar; Potential exit payment; Securing an UK–EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA); The Customs Union; FTAs with non-EU countries; Cooperating in the fight against crime and terrorism; Immigration; Consultation with devolved administrations; Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; Minimising disruption to business when we leave the EU.

7 April: The European Scrutiny Committee report says that the Government must continue to consider EU proposals over the next two years, even though the UK is about to leave the EU.

12 April: The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee report says any future referendum in the UK should take note of the lessons learned from the execution of the Brexit referendum, including the damage to the reputation of the Civil Service and the lack of preparation for either of the possible outcomes.

12 April: Government's Industrial Strategy could do more to reflect Brexit opportunities –Science and Technology Committee Report.

29 March – 26 April: Joint Committee on Human Rights has published a lot of written evidence for its inquiry The Government’s proposed derogation from the ECHR.

11 April: The Scottish Affairs Committee has published two letters on inter-governmental relations, to Angela Constance MSP and to Damian Green MP.

19 April: The Welsh Affairs Committee has published evidence for its Agriculture in Wales post-Brexit inquiry: Countryside Alliance - written evidence; Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales - written evidence; CLA - written evidence.

20 April: Letter from the Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox, regarding UK trade options beyond 2019 report (International Trade Committee).

26 April: European Scrutiny Committee released most recent Government update on EU Trade negotiations.

27 April: Government statistics inadequate for the needs of agriculture – The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published its report Feeding the nation: labour constraints into the agriculture and horticulture labour markets.

29 April: The Environmental Audit Committee published its report The Future of Chemicals Regulation after the EU Referendum.

1 May: The Home Affairs Committee published its report ‘Hate crime: abuse, hate and extremism online’.

2 May: An in-depth consideration of the relationship between Ministers and civil servants is vital as Whitehall faces the challenges of leaving the EU – said the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in its report.

2 May: Government must act urgently to end Brexit risk to nuclear industry - Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee report.

2 May: Further scrutiny of "Great Repeal Bill" proposals urged for next Parliament by the Procedure Committee in its report: Matters for the Procedure Committee in the 2017 Parliament.

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”.

29 March: The Prime Minister’s statement on Brexit: Triggering Article 50 was repeated, followed by a debate.

30 March: Questions on Brexit: Crime Prevention, followed by questions on Brexit: Court of Justice of the European Union.

30 March: The statement on Brexit: Legislating for the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal from the European Union was repeated, followed by questions.

4 April: A debate on motions about Brexit: European Union-derived Rights, motions agreed.

6 April: Questions on Brexit: European Parliament Resolution.

6 April: After debate, the House noted the European Union Committee’s report Brexit and the EU Budget.

24 April: Questions on Brexit: Negotiations.

24 April: Motion approved on the UK Convergence Programme.

25 April: Questions on Brexit: United Kingdom-Africa Trade and Development.

29 March: The Constitution Committee heard annual evidence from the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court, topics included Brexit and Devolution.

30 March: Members of the European Union Committee met committees of the Portuguese Assembly of the People in Lisbon, and the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) in Berlin.

31 March: The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee launched a new inquiry into UK sanctions policy after Brexit.

5 April: The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee started a short inquiry into Brexit: farm animal welfare, with a roundtable discussion with academics and industry experts.

5 April: Former Eurojust presidents questioned on the European Arrest Warrant by the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee.

6 April: The EU External Affairs Sub-Committee held a one-off evidence session on Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) post-Brexit.

25 April: The EU Justice Sub-Committee started a new inquiry into Brexit: consumer protection rights with an evidence session.

25 April: The EU Justice Sub-Committee held an evidence session for a new inquiry into Brexit: consumer protection rights.

26 April: The EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee took evidence from a Home Office Minister on the EU Data Protection Package.

26 April: The sixth meeting of the Informal Brexit Liaison Group, set up by the House of Lords Liaison Committee, was held.

5 April: The Economic Affairs Committee published evidence on Brexit and the Labour Market: 28 Feb 2017 - Brexit and the Labour Market - oral evidence; 08 Mar 2017 - Brexit and the Labour Market - oral evidence; IPPR - written evidence; Migrants' Rights Network - written evidence; Immigration Law Practitioners Association - written evidence; Trades Union Congress (TUC) - written evidence.

22 March – 11 April: The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee published evidence on its Brexit: agriculture inquiry: 08 Mar 2017 - Brexit: agriculture - oral evidence - Evidence given by George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; 01 Mar 2017 - Brexit: agriculture - oral evidence - Evidence given by Professor Nigel Gibbens CBE, Chief Veterinary Officer; BMPA - written evidence; Scottish government - written evidence; Welsh Government - written evidence; British Meat Processors Association - written evidence.

21 April: The EU Justice Committee has received the Government's response to its report on the legality of EU sanctions listing process.

3 May: The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee published its report Brexit: agriculture, particularly on the implications of leaving the EU's Common Agriculture Policy and the Single Market.

5.       Scotland

Scottish Parliament

25 April: Round-table discussion with young people to explore Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union.

Scottish Government

29 March: First Minister on Article 50.

30 March: Great Repeal Bill - Holyrood powers “must not be diminished”.

26 April: EU funding for Seafood Scotland.

27 April: Migration drives record high in population - EEA inward migration supports Scotland’s population levels.

6.       UK-Ireland relations

Irish Government

29 April: Comments by Taoiseach Enda Kenny following [EU27] European Council.

7.       Reports published

House of Lords

Leaving the European Union: World Trade Organisation


Legislating for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Dods)

A New Trading Order for the Manufacturing Industry(EEF)

Brexit negotiations [What Think Tanks are thinking](European Parliamentary Research Service)

Global Britain - Priorities for trade beyond the European Union (Open Europe)

A skilful exit: What small firms want from Brexit(Federation of Small Business)

Striking the right deal: UK–EU migration and the Brexit negotiations(IPPR)

The Impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on Scotland, Wales and Gibraltar (European Parliament Research)