On February 15, 2018, the DCU Brexit Institute held an event on “Brexit, Climate and Energy Policy” organised in partnership with the Irish Environmental Protection Agency and the Political Studies Association of Ireland. The event was hosted by Arthur Cox.
Opening Keynote Speech by Enrico Letta (former Italian Prime Minister and Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po Paris)
Enrico Letta spoke about Brexit being one of the most important challenges of our times, even though, as he reminded the audience, it is not as important in France and Italy as it is in Ireland. Before continuing, he gave warning that the topic is complicated and he cannot see a happy end of Brexit. The Union risks and will lose most in the area of energy and climate. In these topics the UK had a big leading role and therefore losing the UK is a loss for the EU.
Opinion: Brexit is causing deep uncertainty across a range of policy spheres so what will it mean for Europe’s efforts to combat climate change?
The scale of the decarbonisation challenge facing the world is nothing short of daunting. According to the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report 2017, climate change policy pledges made by governments around the world cumulatively amount to only approximately one-third of what is required to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, a key danger threshold set by climate scientists.
The EU is widely recognized as having one of the strongest data protection regimes in the world. The right of protection of personal data is codified in Article 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. However, as with so much else, this regime has been cast into doubt by Brexit. Immediately after the results of the Brexit referendum, scholars pointed out that “data protection has the potential to be among the issues that “make” or “break” a possibly successful Brexit” (see this article by de Hert, Papakonstantinou) It is unclear what sort of political and legal solutions will be found for this problem.
The crux of the discussion can be summarized as the need to continue guaranteeing Data Flow. The question is how to fuel Data Exchange and Data Transfer between the UK and the EU since this Data Flow is the cornerstone for both private economic activities and (above all) for police and judicial cooperation. This will certainly require a general legal framework that guarantees the complex and increasingly refined system of legal protection of individuals concerning their personal information and their rights concerning these data.
Public procurement refers to the purchase of goods, works and services by the public sector (and organizations funded in the main through public monies).
In Ireland, as undoubtedly in many other countries, interest in public procurement appears to be inversely related to the fortunes of the economy. In times of economic prosperity the procurement of goods and services by public sector organizations has tended not to be a primary consideration for politicians, policy makers or industry representative groups. However, in recent years public procurement has moved center stage for both the public and private sectors of the economy. For central government, the strategic management of procurement across the public sector has assumed priority status. Expenditure by public sector organizations on a range of goods and services is coming under increasing scrutiny with a view to realizing cost savings.
On the 4th October 2017, the European Commission referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for failing to collect tax debts from Apple, following a Commission decision deeming the tax reliefs provided amounted to a breach of EU Competition Law. Ireland allowed Apple to pay between 0.05% and 2% in tax from 2003 to 2014, which, according to the Commission, amounted to up to €13 billion in illegal state aid. Luxembourg was also referred to the ECJ, after giving Amazon €250 million in tax breaks was also deemed to be illegal state aid. Neither country collected the debt, resulting in the recent referrals, and Ireland has appealed the decision to the ECJ.
It is difficult to speculate as to the future of the consumer protection acquis in a post-Brexit settlement, at a time in which the EU-UK negotiating teams seem locked in stalemate as to the three core Withdrawal Agreement issues, which require ‘sufficient progress’ so that the next round of substantive negotiations can commence. Consumer law is far down the current agenda. Second, the form Brexit takes on in the Future Relationship Agreement – whether hard, soft or bespoke – is of considerable importance: a so-called ‘soft’ Brexit whereby the UK remains within the EEA would mean that the UK remains legally obliged to adhere to EU consumer law including largely the CJEU’s interpretation thereof, whereas a ‘hard’ Brexit would mean that the UK is no longer legally obliged to uphold the acquis. A bespoke agreement is the least certain outcome as to consumer law rules. And what are these rules?
The DCU Brexit Institute hosted an event on “Brexit, the Border and the Internal Market” on 26 October 2017, supported by the European Commission Representation in Ireland. The event addressed the issue of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is arguably the most sensitive of the three items in the withdrawal negotiations, and considered also questions concerning the access by the UK to the EU internal market post Brexit.
In 2016, some would claim that the European Union was doomed. The UK vote for Brexit was seen as the trigger for others to follow, in particular those where national elections were due to be held and where anti-EU populists were perceived to be gaining ground.
Reality proved them wrong.
The DCU Brexit Institute hosted an event on “Brexit, Citizens Rights and their Protection” on 5 October 2017, which was organised jointly with the European Parliament Representation in Dublin. The event addressed one of the three main issues which are currently being negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union: the rights of EU citizens in the UK and those of the UK citizens in the EU after the withdrawal.
Exactly one year ago, Prime Minister Theresa May expatiated on the subject of citizens’ rights in the post-Brexit EU and UK, memorably telling the Conservative Party Annual Conference that “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what citizenship means.” Taken in the context of a conference dominated by the decision of the British public to leave the European Union, the audience was left with no doubt that Brexit would represent a re-casting of citizens’ rights, a re-assertion of the exclusivity of United Kingdom citizenship, and a rejection of the creeping internationalism of citizenship that the EU was seen to represent, though the form this transformation would take was still a matter of some conjecture.
If you want to keep up with Brexit news, but find you have limited reading time, try listening to podcasts.
There are already a number of podcasts exclusively devoted to Brexit. The oldest (A Diet of Brussels, with 200+ episodes) has been around since May 8, 2015, the day after David Cameron’s Conservatives won a parliamentary majority, the event which made it inevitable that there would be a referendum on Brexit. Many more sprang up after the referendum, and they have chronicled the various twists in the Brexit story – the triggering of Article 50, the subsequent UK election and the resulting hung parliament, and the ongoing negotiations with the EU.
Citizens’ Rights After Brexit: The uncertain future status of EU citizens in the UK – and vice versa
At the conclusion of the third round of Brexit negotiations on Thursday, 31st August 2017, there was a palpable sense of frustration evident between both sides during the joint press conference, with little indication that any substantive progress has been made in respect of citizens’ rights once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
On 20 July 2017 it became clear that the European Commission and in particular its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is becoming frustrated with the United Kingdom and its lack of preparation. In order to make progress, both sides need to know the positions and proposals of the other. The EU has done this, through various policy papers, it’s now the UK’s turn, seemed to be the implication. In the joint press conference Michel Barnier called for clarification on the UK’s understanding of its financial obligations in any separation agreement and how it may be calculated. Without this, there is, Barnier implied, little point in continuing to discuss on this issue. The so-called ‘Brexit Bill’ was the issue in need of clarification most stressed by Barnier but he also flagged to the lack of detail on Northern Ireland and the Common Travel Area and the issue of disentangling current legal arrangements.