Brexit – an audit of UK-EU relations

Anand Menon, director of UK in a Changing Europe,  predicts that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Windsor Framework agreement resetting trade rules for the island of Ireland will remain the formal template for relations with the European Union for the “medium term”.

And that is likely to mean under the current Conservative government and probably under the next government even if it’s led by Labour after elections expected late in 2024.
But it does not preclude separate agreements in specific areas such as scientific research and security for example.

Anand Menon teaches European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London and was appointed in January 2014 as director of UK in a Changing Europe, a think tank funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues and part of a UK government funded “non-departmental public body” responsible to Parliament.

At an AEJ UK lunch meeting on April 18 he presented a comprehensive, detailed and even-handed analysis of the current state of Brexit and answered questions from members and guest journalists.

In particular, he signalled immediate potential problems with the government’s plans to scrap thousands of EU laws through the “Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill”, currently due for detailed examination in the House of Lords.
If passed, the law would end legislation and regulation at the end of 2023 in a variety of areas, from food standards to airline safety, which has not yet been assimilated into UK law – rules inherited and retained from the EU.
The problems he noted include:

  • not knowing if all the rules have yet been identified 
  • wholesale deregulation in a number of sectors without consultation with stakeholders​
  • lack of clarity on the role of government departments and the civil service in deciding which rules to save or scrap
  • potential internal market  divergence​ as many regulations are now in areas of devolved competence

The government delayed further consideration of the proposed law in the House of Lords until mid-May – after local elections in England and Wales and after wide opposition from business, environmental groups, and unions.

The legislation was originally championed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and other hardline Tory Brexiters but there is speculation that the government has begun a full-scale retreat on the plans.

Illustrated report on meeting from Peter Norman, AEJ member and former FT economics editor
Audio recording of Anand Menon at the AEJ UK
Anand Menon slide presentation – downloadable
Anand Menon slide presentation as PDF file
Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill
Government delays Lords examination of law to repeal EU rules – Politics Home
Government retreats on EU rules repeal? – The Observer
Britain sending wrong signals? – Daily Express
Anand Menon
Anand Menon at UK in a Changing Europe
Economic and Social Research Council
Anand Menon on Rishi Sunak’s Windsor Framework
Anand Menon at King’s College London