I’ve contributed another piece to the LSE Brexit Blog, this time expanding upon my tweet below which went a bit viral after I spluttered indignantly at David Davis and his disdain for impact assessments.
I read this with boggling eyes. As a junior UK civil servant in the 90s, I was sent to Brussels with a single instruction: always insist on impact assessments! The British banged on about them at EVERY Council meeting. All EU policies MUST HAVE IMPACT ASSESSMENTS. https://t.co/11rjrAy4Oq
— Chris Kendall 🇪🇺 (@ottocrat) December 6, 2017
The Brexiters were convinced the EU’s 759 agreements would “novate” to the UK on Brexit. More recently they’ve started to admit this will not be the case and that while third countries have agreed they want to have a deal with the UK, they’re not happy for it to be on the same terms. This is logical: a market of 66m ≠ a market of 506m consumers.
Today I have been blind-sided by the following argument: “Have you taken account of Article 24 of the GATT, which gives a 10 year period to get these permissions, during which time all the agreements remain in force.”
Is that correct? Do these 759 EU FTAs & other treaties/agreements benefit from a 10-year grace period?
Hi Kim, nice to see your comment and thanks for the question! The short answer is, I don’t know, I couldn’t claim to be a GATT expert, though I have experience working in and with the GATT and WTO. But my instinctive reaction is that this is another example of wishful thinking exactly as the novation argument was. Article 24 of GATT may well allow for a ten-year grace period for the adaptation of terms to an agreement, but the point is that the agreements will not change, and no-one will be seeking to change them, the default position is that the agreements will simply cease to apply to the UK. This relates to agreements where the EU has sole competence, or those parts of mixed agreements where the EU has sole competence. From all I’ve heard, the lawyers’ view is that the agreements are between the EU and a third party and that nothing will change if the EU itself changes in terms of its membership. This seems logical given that we didn’t have to renegotiate all our trade agreements, or live with a ten year grace period, when the EU enlarged from 15 to 25 then 27 then 28.