30th June: the deadline that didn’t work
The end of June was supposed to be a momentous date for the Brexit process – but it’s been a fiasco, and a showcase of broken promises. Dave Levy takes a look at the deadline that didn’t work.
The 3rd deadline of the post Brexit Future relationship passed on the 30th June. The deadlines were on the issues of cross border data adequacy, northern Irish meat product movement, the end of equivalence for security depositories and the end of the grace period to allow EU citizens resident in the UK to apply to stay.
The UK has negotiated two out of 39 elements of a financial services agreement, one of which is depository equivalence (which allows financial services organisations to operate within the EU), and the EU have granted a three month extension on moving chilled meat from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as required by the treaty’s Northern Ireland protocol. The Commission finally agreed that the UK has an adequate standard of data protection (‘Data Adequacy’) last week, but the parliament is more sanguine. The European Data Protection Board is also more cautious, and we expect the European Court of Justice (CJEU) to be so too. Whenever the CJEU has ruled, it has ruled in favour of citizens, whereas the European Court of Human Rights tends to give nation states significant leeway.
Data Adequacy is important for SMEs because without them, companies would have to use alternative means to transfer data across borders (“standard model clauses” for inter company transfers and “binding corporate rules” for intra-company transfers). These have a not insignificant compliance cost and are easier for large companies than small ones – and it would be less attractive for large EU based companies to deal with multiple contracts with small companies.
June 30th was also the final date for EU Citizens to apply for “settled status” in the UK. Of course, the systems broke and it would seem there remain large numbers of people without proof they are settled, jeopardising their access to work, shelter, health care, benefits and even bank accounts. The astonishing thing is that 6 million people applied and according to the Govt, 2% have been rejected – equating to more than a hundred thousand people who may now lose their right to be in the country they have made their homes.
The government proposes to contact those who have yet to apply and ask them to regularise their position, although now they will have to justify why they did not apply in time. We don’t know just how many are in jeopardy of having the “hostile environment” applied to them. Channel 4’s fact check points out that there will be a 28 grace period, and that prospective applicants will be reminded to apply, after which people may be liable to “enforcement action”. The results of this may be deportation, or other restrictions of the hostile environment.
In the 2016 EU referendum, Priti Patel, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove all signed up to promise that “EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK”. Very obviously, this situation is a betrayal of that promise.
There is a further deadline at the end of July, where the UK needs to introduce import controls on goods imported from the EU. While many eyes will be on the channel ports and the Kent lorry park, a more serious problem will occur across the Irish Sea, which may be one reason why Lord Frost is issuing increasingly strident demands to renegotiate the Northern Irish Protocol.
What you can do
Join the Right to Stay campaign, which exists to fight for an automatic right to stay for EU citizens. You can join it here.
Of the six million who have applied for settled status, not one of them will have the right to vote in Parliamentary elections. Join the Let Us Vote campaign to change that.
Dave Levy is a member of the Another Europe is Possible national committee
July 14, 2021