Following the last-minute agreement between the UK and the EU (and with the suggestion being made that it was last minute not only because of the chance such brinksmanship might force a few more concessions, but also so that any criticism or even analysis of the agreement is practically impossible before it takes effect, in 7 days time), the UK has produced this 34-page summary of the many hundreds of pages of the agreement. No real detail, of course. A quick glance does reveal –
- A Protocol to enable the Parties to work together while upholding their respective customs regimes, to safeguard revenue and prevent fraud through efficient and reciprocal exchange of information and mutual assistance across customs matters;
- An Annex to provide for the mutual recognition of the Parties’ respective Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) security and safety schemes. As a result, AEO assessed and recognised under either the UK or EU scheme will face fewer controls relating to safety and security when moving their goods between the UK and the EU, facilitating trade and flow at the border;
- A s Protocol which builds on existing international agreements, including the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. It will enable UK and EU authorities to cooperate and exchange information relating to VAT, including for the purpose of combating VAT fraud. The Protocol will also allow for either Party to make a request of the other to recover unpaid customs duties, excise or VAT on its behalf;
- It provides for streamlined extradition arrangements, akin to the EU’s Surrender Agreement with Norway and Iceland, but with appropriate further safeguards for individuals beyond those in the European Arrest Warrant;
- Provision for effective cooperation on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters supplementing the relevant Council of Europe Conventions by providing for streamlined processes, including standard formats for making requests and specific timescales for action;
- It commits the UK and EU to support international efforts to prevent and fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, exchange relevant information, and maintain comprehensive AML/CFT regimes, and to maintain high standards of beneficial ownership transparency, beyond FATF minima; and
- It provides for effective cooperation on asset freezing and confiscation, supplementing the relevant Council of Europe Conventions by providing for streamlined processes, including standard formats for making requests and specific timescales for action.
The devil will be in the detail, and there still appears a great deal of detail to be finalised or even agreed.
This summary is signed by the UK Prime Minister. It will be interesting to see (and compare) the EU equivalent, and to see if there is any problems from some Member States.
I had omitted the following link (as it did not seem to generate much interest!), but it seemed time to add it again and say that, if you would like to make a (polite) gesture and help me with my removal and computer costs, I have a page at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y