Implementing Brexit: the role of the joint committee


This latest report from UK think tank the Institute for Government looks at the joint committee established by the UK and EU.

The UK has formally left the European Union (EU) – but that is not the end of Brexit. The two sides have started negotiating their future relationship. They also need to implement the withdrawal agreement: the UK must pay the financial settlement; the rights of citizens in the UK and EU must be protected; and the UK needs to put in place agreed arrangements to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. The scale of the task is huge – and the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus has cast doubts on whether everything can be done by the current deadline of 31 December 2020. The withdrawal agreement commits the UK and the EU to establish a joint committee to oversee and monitor the application of the treaty. This joint committee is due to meet for the first time on 30 March 2020. But despite its importance, there is still a lot of confusion about how it will work. The government urgently needs to answer several questions, not least on how frequently the joint committee (and subcommittees) will meet; what the government tells parliament about its meetings; and if there are any deadlines for key decisions, in particular those relating to the application of the Northern Ireland protocol. This short paper looks at what we know, and what answers are still outstanding.

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