What does the Brexit draft withdrawal agreement mean for the people of Wales?
The Welsh and UK governments must tell the people of Wales the full potential impact of the Brexit draft withdrawal agreement, according to the National Assembly’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee.
In a new report examining the deal struck by the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and the EU, the committee sets out the possible implications for seven key areas including economy and trade with the EU, ports and transport, agriculture, food and fisheries, and healthcare.
Building on its previous work, the Committee has provided an updated assessment of these sectors. It also asked EU law expert Dr Tobias Lock from Edinburgh University to examine the legal implications of the agreement.
D Lock’s assessment concludes that whilst:
“the exact contours of the future relationship are still largely unclear […] it seems clear that both sides want to achieve an ambitious relationship on trade and on security, but that they do not wish for the UK to remain part of the EU single market”
Dr Lock continues “[…] in trade terms, the future relationship is likely to look similar to that with Canada or Ukraine, rather than to that with Norway”.
The Committee concludes there is a duty on both the Welsh and UK Governments to give a full picture of what the future could look like with the current deal on the table, without a deal, or even staying in the EU.
It calls on the UK Government, working with the Welsh Government in so far as their assessment relates to Wales, to publish a full impact assessment of a Brexit on the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement.
“As Brexit day draws closer, we find ourselves still searching for the clarity and certainty people need to plan for the future,” said David Rees AM, Chair of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee.
“We need the Welsh and UK Government’s to be open and honest about the various scenarios and the potential impacts for the people of Wales whether the UK Parliament agrees the Prime Minister’s deal, we face a no deal or even if we stay as we are.”
“What we present in this report is not our definitive view or conclusions, but an analysis based on the evidence we have gathered during the course of our work to date across key sectors in the Welsh economy and society.
“We hope this will inform Assembly Members’ views ahead of a vote and debate in Plenary.”
Members will take part in a debate and vote which is scheduled for Tuesday 4 December at the Senedd. Whilst not a binding vote, the view of the Assembly is significant as it will carry weight in the debates to come in both the UK Parliament and the European Parliament.
The Assembly’s External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee will continue to assess risks and opportunities arising from any Brexit scenario to inform the ongoing debate and to do what it can to ensure that Wales is ready for whichever of these scenarios comes to pass.
Proceedings will be stream live on Senedd TV and made available to view on-demand afterwards. People can also watch the debate from the public gallery. Anyone wishing to attend should contact the National Assembly booking line on 0300 200 6565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the full report:
The Withdrawal Agreement: Implications for Wales (PDF, 629 KB)