Brexit in a page: what do I need to know?

A look at the latest developments with Brexit, as negotiations with the European Union continue.

Insurance

Key dates

29 March 2017

Article 50 triggered

June 2017

Negotiations commenced

September 2017

Prime Minister’s Florence speech

Oct - Dec 2017

EU expects divorce negotiations to be complete

31 December 2017

EU target date to conclude initial Brexit negotiations

January 2018

Draft Brexit deal to be put to the European Council

  • ABI agree that leaving the EU without a deal is not acceptable.
  • The bloc’s insurance watchdog has warned London-based insurers who apply for licences to operate in the EU after Brexit will be scrutinized for any attempts to game the system.
  • Insurance firms with operations in the UK, including Lloyd’s of London and RSA have announced plans to open EU hubs to maintain links with customers there after Brexit.
  • The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (“EIOPA”) which writes rules for insurers across the EU, published Brexit licensing guidelines or “opinion” in July aimed at stopping national regulators from undercutting each other to attract insurers from Britain.
  • Lloyd’s of London has confirmed it will hire up to 20 people for its EU subsidiary in Brussels, while other insurers, in a recent survey, said they would hire 10 or less for their EU hubs.

European Union Withdrawal Bill

  • Passed the second reading on 11 September 2017.
  • Whole House committee stage on a date to be fixed (anticipated at the end of October after the Political Party Conferences).

Transitional period

  • Announced at the Florence speech by the Prime Minister.
  • A 2 year transitional period is sought by the UK during which access to the single market should continue on current terms.
  • Businesses and public services should only have to plan for one set of changes in the relationship between the UK and EU.
  • UK want a clear double lock:  a guarantee that there will be a period of implementation giving businesses and people alike the certainty that they will be able to prepare for the change; and a guarantee that this implementation period will be time limited, giving everyone the certainty of time.
  • The Brexit Secretary, David Davis and the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, have clashed over the UK’s exit bill and UK’s request for a transitional period on the first day of the fourth round of talks. Barnier said the Prime Minister’s £18bn offer did not mean the UK would be given a transitional period or that negotiations could move on to the detail of a future trading relationship.

Divorce/budget payments

  • The Prime Minister has reassured the EU that the UK will honour its commitments during the current budget plan (ends 2020).
  • UK could pay £18bn during the two year transition period. It’s unclear however whether the UK will intend such payment to cover part of the UK’s divorce bill.

The rights of EU Citizens

  • During the transitional period EU citizens would be able to come and live and work in the UK, but a registration system will be implemented.
  • However, over time the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens overseas will diverge.
  • UK want to incorporate its agreement on EU citizens’ rights fully into UK law and make sure that the UK courts can refer directly to it.
  • UK says that where there is uncertainty around the underlying EU law, the UK courts should be able to take into account the judgments of the ECJ to ensure consistent interpretation.
  • Unclear whether UK courts or the ECJ will be the ultimate arbiter.

Trade

  • Norway style option has been dismissed by the UK (a deal that allows the UK to stay in the EEA)
  • Too restrictive for the UK.
  • The UK Prime Minister has dismissed such a deal as primarily the UK would have to adopt new EU rules fully and therefore violate the call for sovereignty that has underpinned Brexit.
  • A free trade deal (similar to the deal with Canada) is also off the table for the UK as it would take too long to negotiate. 
  • UK wants a unique solution but the details of which are still unclear.

The Irish border

  • The Prime Minister, during the Florence speech, stressed the importance of an open border.
  • The UK and EU have committed to protecting the Belfast Agreement and the Common Travel Area and will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border.

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