Brexit – the way forward

16th November 2018

EU and UK negotiators reached a deal on a way forward for Brexit this week. The document provides for a customs union between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and access for financial services companies to the single market.

A temporary EU-UK customs union will be in place until a solution on the hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is found. This essentially means that a de facto customs union will apply until negotiators come up with a permanent alternative.

This was the result of the negotiations between the European Commission and United Kingdom on the terms of the Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement. The 585-page document goes into minute detail on a number of topics. The agreement was given the thumbs up by a majority of the UK government and Council President Donald Tusk called an extraordinary EU Summit for 25 November to signal the agreement by the EU27.

After Brexit, access for financial service companies to the single market will be via the EU’s equivalence framework — which allows access to certain services on the basis that rules in a country outside the bloc are similar enough to those inside.

On citizens' rights, the Withdrawal Agreement states that the UK will also seek to secure onward movement opportunities for UK nationals in the EU who are covered by the citizens’ rights agreement. This is expected to affect over 3 million EU citizens in the UK, and over 1 million UK nationals in EU countries, safeguarding their right to stay and ensuring that they can continue to contribute to their communities.

The withdrawal agreement sets up a Joint Committee to oversee the process ahead. This committee will be composed of 25 people — 10 proposed by the U.K., 10 by the EU and five by both sides to serve on arbitration panels to deal with disputes. A transition period shall be determined, during which the EU will treat the UK as if it were a Member State, with the exception of participation in the EU institutions and governance structures.

The EU and UK negotiators will continue their work on the political declaration on the framework for the future relationship. It is up to the President of the European Council to decide whether and when to convene a meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government. It will be up to the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the Withdrawal Agreement and the joint political declaration on the framework of the future relationship.

Once the Withdrawal Agreement is endorsed by the European Council (Article 50), and before it can enter into force, it needs to be ratified by the EU and the UK. For the EU, the Council of the European Union must authorise the signature of the Withdrawal Agreement, before sending it to the European Parliament for its consent. The United Kingdom must ratify the agreement according to its own constitutional arrangements. In practice, this means that the House of Commons in the UK will have to approve the Agreement.

This information is being brought to you thanks to the Malta-EU Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC)

15th November 2018

Numerous young entrepreneurs attended an event on the availability of funds for start-ups titled ‘Start-Up Strong: Access to Finance’ at the Malta Chamber on 13th November. The event which was organised in collaboration with BOV, formed part of SME Week.

15th November 2018

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, aimed to further recognise and establish friendly and cooperative relations, as well as support trade and investment promotion between Malta and China.

9th November 2018

Malta Chamber publishes its complete and in depth reaction to the Budget for 2019.

7th November 2018

Chamber President Frank V. Farrugia urged Minister Cardona to promote the competitiveness of Malta’s manufacturing industry in any political discussions on measures that would impact competitiveness.