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Brexit Weekly Digest - 14 May

This week, UK ministers raise further discussions surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol, we review recent developments in fishing disputes between Jersey and France, and foreign qualifications are to be recognised in the UK by law.

UK ministers meet representatives of NI paramilitaries to discuss Brexit

This week, a “small delegation” of the Northern Ireland Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) met with UK ministers to discuss concerns over the post-Brexit border arrangements.

Brexit minister, Lord Frost, has since urged the EU to take a “common sense, risk-based approach” to the Northern Ireland Protocol, as the current arrangements “[can’t] be sustainable for long”. His statement comes after a visit to Northern Ireland and the Border Control Post (BCP) at Larne Harbour.

The Protocol created a border at the Irish Sea, keeping Northern Ireland in the EU single market, meaning EU customs rules are enforced at its ports (BBC News). However, businesses are facing “significant challenges”, as border checks and other requirements of the protocol are costing workers additional time and money.

In April, Lord Frost met with the European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič in Brussels to review the Protocol in a “constructive atmosphere” and start discussions on improvements to the system. Since then, UK and EU officials have continued engaging in low key talks, and are hoping to create a solution by June.

 

Jersey gives French fishermen an extension over post-Brexit fishing dispute

Following events last week, Jersey has granted French fishermen an extension to apply for new fishing licenses. Under the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), a new permit system has been put in place, whereby French fishermen must apply to trawl in Jersey waters.

Last week, about 60 French fishing vessels protested in St Helier Harbour against the post-Brexit rules, which require French boats to show they have a history of fishing in Jersey's waters (BBC News).

The Government of Jersey said that in “a sign of good faith”, the interim arrangements, which allow EU vessels time to provide the evidence needed to support their license applications, has now been extended from 30 April 2021, to 1 July 2021.

 

Professional Qualifications Bill introduced to Parliament

On 12 May 2021, a new law was proposed allowing skilled professionals from around the world to have their qualifications recognised in the UK. Named the Professional Qualifications Bill, the law will support the UK government’s commitment to “making the UK the best place in the world to work, trade and do business”.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said “Having left the European Union, this vital piece of legislation will ensure skilled professionals from around the world are able to have their qualifications recognised in the UK, allowing us to attract the brightest and best as we build back better.”

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