Brexit update
Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ycwhanegol | 22 May 2017
 External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee | 22 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 3 – 17 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.

The most recent session of the EEAL Committee inquiry was:

§    15 May: The Committee took evidence from the Industrial Communities Alliance and the Danish Regions as part of its inquiry into the Future of Regional Policy. The Committee also heard evidence from Professor John Bell, University of Cambridge, Professor Paul Craig, University of Oxford and Dr Jo Hunt, Cardiff University as part of its inquiry into the Great Repeal Bill and took evidence from the Minister for Finance and Local Government on the same issue.

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 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?.


The Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is carrying out an inquiry into Marine Protected Areas in Wales, and has published its report 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.


2 May: NFU Cymru launches its General Election Manifesto.

3 May: FUW outlines priorities for agriculture in General Election manifesto.

5 May: 2017 General Election – CLA Cymru sets out rural priorities for Wales.

3.       EU developments

European Council

4 May: Remarks by President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

17 May: President Tusk at the European Parliament on Brexit: "Time is of the essence here, and much is at stake".

European Commission

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.

5 May: Speech by Michel Barnier at the 7th State of the Union Conference, European University Institute, Florence – he spoke about Protecting Citizens' Rights in the Negotiations with the UK.

10 May: Commission launches reflection on harnessing globalisation.

11 May: Spring Economic Forecast. UK Forecast.

11 May: Speech by Michel Barnier at the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas, Dublin.

17 May: Speech by President Juncker at the European Parliament Plenary session on the conclusions of the Special European Council (Article 50) of 29 April 2017.

17 May: May infringements - Commission calls on the UK to transpose new rules on recreational boats and their engines, and the Commission has opened infringement proceedings against 14 Member States (inc. UK) for failure to report on the implementation of several EU waste rules.

European Parliament

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

3 May: Committee MEPs welcome stepping up of EU-NATO cooperation.

5 May: Great expectations: Europeans reveal what they want the EU to do more on.

9 May: Future of the EU: harnessing globalisation.

11 May: Brexit: MEPs want EU and UK to take care of citizens’ rights first.

16 May: MEPs want to protect citizens from negative effects of globalisation.

17 May: MEPs welcome unity on Brexit and call for reform of the EU - MEPs debated the guidelines for the negotiations with the UK on the terms of its withdrawal, adopted by the April EU Summit, with European Council President Donald Tusk and the Commission.

17 May: A strong and united EU is fundamental to a strong UN - António Guterres, UN Secretary-General.

European News

5 May: EU maps out plan for 4-week cycles of Brexit talks. (Politico)

11 May: Michel Barnier’s Irish pledge. (Politico)

12 May: Tony Blair at EPP meeting in Wicklow on Brexit. (Politico)

16 May: (Court of Justice of the European Union) The free trade agreement with Singapore cannot, in its current form, be concluded by the European Union alone – the agreement is shared with the member states in the field of non-direct foreign investment (‘portfolio’ investments made without any intention to influence the management and control of an undertaking) and the regime governing dispute settlement between investors and States. The UK had joined with most of the member states in saying that the EU alone could not conclude the agreement.

16 May: Court ruling makes Brexit harder. Or easier. (Politico article on today’s Singapore trade agreement judgement)

4.       UK developments

UK Government

7 May: PM call with French President-elect Macron.

House of Commons

The Houses of Parliament are in recess until the General Election.

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”.

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.


15 May: Businesses Preparing to Sever Supply Chain Ties Between the UK and the EU to Avoid Brexit Tariffs (Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply).

5.       Scotland

Scottish Parliament

11 May: The Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee held an evidence session with the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell MSP.

Scottish Government

3 May: CAP reform - Rural Affairs Secretary sets out thinking.

6.       UK-Ireland relations

2 May: Publication of Ireland and the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

9 May: The Taoiseach led a debate on Ireland and the Negotiations on the UK’s Withdrawal from the EU.

11 May: Exchange of views with Mr. Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator of the Taskforce for the Preparation and Conduct of Negotiations with the United Kingdom.

7.       Reports published

House of Commons

Brexit timeline: events leading to the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Legislating for Brexit: the Great Repeal Bill.


Taking back control of trade policy (Institute for Government)

Outcome of the special European Council (Article 50) meeting of 29 April 2017 (European Parliamentary Research Service)

Implementing Brexit: Immigration (Institute for Government)