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Committee reports on Brexit financial settlement, 2021 fishing quotas, and EU energy strategy

16 September 2020

In its latest report, the European Scrutiny Committee considers recent draft EU legislation and policy documents deposited in Parliament by the Government.

Each document is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum from the relevant Minister. The Committee examines the legal and political importance of the document and where appropriate asks further questions of the Government about its implications. The Committee also has the power to recommend documents for debate.

In its latest report, published today, the Committee highlights the importance of several documents, and how it intends to follow up with Government. These include:

HMT – the cost of the Brexit financial settlement

Important because:

  • These documents detail the EU’s long-term budget and pensions costs, both of which the UK has agreed to contribute to under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In July of this year, the Treasury forecast that the final cost of the Brexit financial settlement to the UK would be £32.7 billion. However, the exact final figure remains unclear, owing to uncertainties in areas such as pensions liabilities and potential European Investment Bank capital injections. Based on recent developments, including this document, the Committee’s report assesses the factors that will determine the eventual cost of the Brexit financial settlement to the UK.

DEFRA – Fishing Opportunities 2021

Important because:

  • This document relates to the settling of fish quotas for the EU and UK in 2021, which will be the UK’s first year outside the Common Fisheries Policy

  • In correspondence to the Committee, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food confirms that the Government is already preparing to negotiate fishing quotas for next year with the EU, Faroe Islands and Norway, regardless of the outcome of future relationship negotiations with the EU.

The Committee has asked that the Minister provide regular updates as negotiations on quotas in 2021 unfold.

BEIS – EU Hydogen Strategy, EU Energy System Integration Strategy

Important because:

  • These non-legislative documents outline the EU’s plans in areas of significant interest to the UK: combating climate change, participation in future research programmes, and regulatory requirements arising from the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol.

Despite the significance of the documents, and the level of detail they contain, the Government has provided no substantive analysis to accompany them. The Committee has written to the Minister to express its unhappiness with the Government’s approach, and to ask them to properly outline its assessment of the document’s implications for the UK.

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