THE LOTUS WEEKLY BREXIT ROUND-UP
BREXIT BRIEFING 7 OCTOBER 2019
UK Government publishes checklist for businesses in tourism and hospitality
On 2 October, the Government published their 10 point checklist to understand what tourism or hospitality businesses need to do to prepare for no deal Brexit.
This covers information on what to do with regards to
1) Employees – and whether they might need a visa or work permit to visit EU countries for work; whether they need to apply to the EU Settlement scheme and recruitment;
2) Business and data. This section covers changes to the way you access personal data from the EU/EEA; moving goods in and out of the EU; and legal and regulatory and administrative barriers in terms of appointing local representatives and meeting trade regulations
3) Travelling to Europe. This section covers information on passports, immigration rules, healthcare insurance, and mobile roaming charges. It also covers driving licenses, and what is required if you are running coach or bus services in EU countries.
4) Customers and online services. This section looks at what information you need to provide to international visitors travelling to the UK and checking that online activities are compliant.
Cruise bookings during September strong
TTG reported from the ABTA New markets in cruise conference that Deloitte’s assessment that despite political and economic uncertainty, bookings during the September lates market had been stronger than the lull experienced around the UK’s original Brexit date of 31 March.
Sudheer Sharma of PT Trustees in Travel Weekly cited Brexit as only a possible reason for a number of European airline failures over the past 15 months amongst a raft of other tangible reason including economic slowdown in a number of European countries, rising fuel prices; currency issues; the ability to hedge fuel and currency and the inaccuracy of forecasts and aircraft issues, including the tragedies involving the Boeing 737 Max.
Leaks to the new proposal
At the beginning of last week, The Conservatives held their party conference under the banner ‘Get Brexit Done.’ On Tuesday, PM Boris Johnson conducted a number of interviews to counter leaks about the Government’s plans for a new Brexit proposal, particularly about the alternatives for the Northern Ireland backstop.
Theresa May’s deal had agreed on a ‘backstop’ in Ireland, which had meant that whatever happened after Brexit there would be the guarantee that nothing would change in Ireland and that there would be no customs checks between the North and the South of Ireland in order to protect the Good Friday peace agreement.
Boris Johnson has always stated that he disagreed with this approach and vowed to get rid of the backstop. In his interviews on Tuesday he said that whilst he acknowledged that under his proposals that there would be customs checks on the island of Ireland, the leaks were wrong about customs zones on both sides of the border.
The alternative plan delivered to Brussels
On Wednesday 2 October, Boris Johnson unveiled his alternative Brexit plan to Brussels in his speech to conference. This has now also been delivered to the European Commission.
His solution to replace the backstop is that for Northern Ireland to stay in the single market and follow EU rules for its agriculture and industrial goods, but Northern Ireland itself would vote on this before the end of the transition period and then every four years.
Secondly, Northern Ireland would, with the rest of the UK, leave the EU customs union, which would result in the need for some kind of customs checks on the island of Ireland and an increase in checks for goods going from GB to Northern Ireland but not from Ireland to the rest of the GB – ie there would be a regulatory border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea.
This gives Northern Ireland a unique status — partly aligned to the European Union and partly aligned to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Reaction to the plan: EU
So far, EU leaders have been “queuing up to pour scorn” on his proposals. In Brussels Guy Verhofstadt Eu Brexit co-ordinator in EU Parliament. said that agreeing to the proposals would be "nearly impossible", adding the British government was just "repackaging the bad ideas that have already been floated".
But The Times believes that although the mood music in Europe has so far been negative towards the Johnson proposals this should not be overinterpreted. Its benefits are that it is a compromise between the EU and the Irish Government and the DUP.
Katya Adler BBC’s Europe editor said: “EU leaders face a delicate political dance, uncertain if Mr Johnson is open for deeper negotiations or is focusing his attention on a possible election campaign.
“Whatever happens, she adds, the EU will be reluctant to be seen slamming the door in the face of the UK.”
Robert Peston from ITV has said that Johnson does have one big advantage over his opponents in Parliament: he knows what he wants. They, by contrast, can’t tell the EU what any delay would achieve, as they still can’t agree on any alternative way forward. “Johnson’s Brexit on 31 October, deal or not, has the merit of being some kind of ending.”
If no agreement with the EU is reached by 19 October, the so-called Benn Act obliges the Prime Minister to request a Brexit extension. Johnson insists he will refuse to do so, says The Guardian, and some No. 10 aides have suggested they have found a legal loophole that will enable him to get away with it.