Brexit Bulletin, 15 May 2020

May 15, 2020


In today’s bulletin, read about the latest updates from the EU and UK’s third round of Brexit negotiations. Additionally, the European Commission has taken legal action against UK on free movement. You can also read about the UK government’s plans to enhance border checks at Northern Ireland ports post-Brexit.

Third round of Brexit negotiations ends today

The third round of Brexit negotiations between the EU and UK government has concluded today. The negotiations began on Monday 11 May and lasted for the whole week, concluding on Friday 15 May 2020. The full agenda of the negotiations can be found on the European Commission’s website.

As a part of their discussion, both sides are due to decide by the end of June whether the current deadline for negotiating an agreement should be extended beyond the end of December.

European Commission takes legal action against UK for failure to comply with EU rules on free movement

The European Commission launched infringement proceedings against the United Kingdom on Thursday 14 May 2020, for failure to comply with EU law on the free movement of EU citizens and their family members. UK national legislation limits the scope of beneficiaries of EU free movement law in the UK as well as the possibilities for EU citizens and their family members to appeal administrative decisions restricting free movement rights.

During the Brexit transition period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020, EU law on free movement applies to the UK as if it were still a member of the bloc. The Commission said it was concerned that current shortcomings endanger the implementation of EU citizens' rights that was formally agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK signed in January.

“The UK now has four months to take the necessary measures to address the shortcomings identified by the Commission," the Commission statement said, adding that otherwise it might have to send a formal request to UK authorities to comply.

This news comes as a part of the European Commission’s regular package of infringement decisions, where the body pursues legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their obligations under EU law.

UK government to enhance border checks at NI ports

As an update to the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the UK government has confirmed to the EU it will enhance inspection posts at Northern Ireland's ports in order to deliver on the Brexit deal. Junior Minister Declan Kearney told a Stormont committee that the Northern Ireland Executive had been given a briefing by officials on Monday on the latest stage of Brexit negotiations between the UK government and the EU.

This communication took place via letters, which have been understood to have been exchanged in the last two weeks, focused on what are known as Border Control Posts (BCPs). Under the Brexit deal, reached in October 2019, Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU single market rules on agricultural and manufactured goods.

The EU has strict rules on the entry of animals and food products into the single market, and these products must always enter the single market through designed BCPs. Therefore, the establishment of BCPs at Northern Ireland's ports was always going to be a consequence of the Brexit deal.


Read further updates on our Brexit web centre.