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Present

  • Rt Hon. Mark Drakeford AM 
  • Jeremy Miles AM (Chair) 
  • Lesley Griffiths AM
  • Eluned Morgan AM
  • Kirsty Williams AM
  • Julie James AM
  • Hannah Blythyn AM
  • Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM
  • Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
  • Des Clifford, Director General, OFM
  • Piers Bisson, Director, European Transition
  • Simon Brindle, Director, Brexit Strategy
  • Carys Evans, Principal Private Secretary, First Minister
  • Gareth Williams, Special Adviser
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
  • Dan Butler, Special Adviser
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Sophie Jones, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Toby Mason, Director of Communications
  • Liz Lalley, Deputy Director, European Transition (Preparedness)
  • Bethan Bateman, Head of Future Migration
  • Nicola Forest, EU Settled Status Policy officer
  • Emma Edworthy, Deputy Director Trade Policy
  • Rob Parry, Deputy Director, European Transition (Legislation)
  • Ed Sherriff, Deputy Director, European Transition (Negotiations)
  • David Tripp, Head of Brussels Office
  • Peredur John, Policy Advisor European Transition

Apologies

Ken Skates AM

Item 1: Minutes of the previous meeting and revised terms of reference

  1. The minutes of the 13 January meeting were agreed.
  2. The Sub-Committee agreed the revised terms of reference, which strengthened references to trade policy as part of future Sub-Committee business. 

Item 2: Update on developments

  1. The Counsel General and Brexit Minister provided an update on developments since the last meeting. The Sub-Committee was reminded that it would be essential for preparations for whatever the future UK/EU relationship proves to be to continue at pace during the transition period.
  2. The Counsel General and Brexit Minister attended an XO meeting on 21 January, which focused on future operational preparedness.
  3. The Sub-Committee noted the update.

Item 3: EU negotiations: state of play

  1. The Counsel General and Brexit Minister introduced the paper, which provided an update on the development of negotiations following EU exit on 31 January and the latest on the negotiating mandates of both the UK and the EU.
  2. The Sub-Committee noted that structures were being put in place to manage the interdependencies across negotiations taking place now the UK had left the EU, including the Sub-Committee itself.
  3. At the latest JMC(EN) meeting, proposals regarding the roles of Devolved Administrations in negotiations had been tabled by the UK government. 
  4. The Sub-Committee noted the paper.

Item 4: Free trade agreement negotiations update

  1. The Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language introduced the paper, which provided an update on the work needed to develop capacity for, and a coherent approach to, trade negotiations across Welsh Government.
  2. The minister stressed the importance of international trade to the Welsh economy with Welsh goods exports accounting for approximately 23% of Welsh GDP in 2018.
  3. The Cabinet Sub-Committee noted the paper.

Item 5: EU engagement post-Brexit

  1. The Counsel General and Brexit Minister introduced the paper, which outlined the importance of the Welsh Government’s active profile in the EU. 
  2. The Sub-Committee highlighted the importance of the Brussels office as a critical base for any potential involvement in future UK-EU negotiations. 
  3. The office would help reinforce Wales’ profile as an outward-looking European country and as a consistent, constructive and positive partner in future EU relations. 
  4. The Sub-Committee noted the update.

Item 6: European transition: legislation

  1. The Counsel General and Brexit Minister introduced the item, which provided an overview of recent developments in legislation related to EU exit and which set out the further work necessary this year. 
  2. The Sub-Committee noted the constitutional implications for the Sewel convention of the UK government pressing ahead with its Withdrawal Agreement Act, despite all 3 devolved legislatures withholding their consent. However, it was accepted that these were unique circumstances. 
  3. The Welsh Government had recommended, via the ‘Reforming our Union’ document, that a more structured approach to resolving such difficulties in future should be taken forward and it was hoped that the UK Government would respond positively by reforming and improving the Sewel convention.
  4. The Sub-Committee noted the paper.

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