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Present (via Teams)

  • Jeremy Miles MS (Chair)
  • Rt Hon. Mark Drakeford MS
  • Vaughan Gething MS
  • Lesley Griffiths MS
  • Rebecca Evans MS
  • Jane Hutt MS
  • Lee Waters MS

Officials

  • Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary
  • Des Clifford, Director General, OFM
  • Piers Bisson, Director, European Transition
  • Tim Render, Director, Land, Nature and Food
  • Carys Evans, Principal Private Secretary, First Minister
  • Will Whiteley, Head of Cabinet Division
  • Gareth Williams, Special Adviser
  • Jane Runeckles, Special Adviser
  • Dan Butler, Special Adviser
  • Christopher W Morgan, Cabinet Secretariat
  • Damian Roche, Cabinet Secretariat (minutes)
  • Toby Mason, Director of Communications
  • Liz Lalley, Deputy Director, COVID-19 Recovery
  • Emma Edworthy, Deputy Director Trade Policy
  • Ruth Bacigalupo, Head of Services, Trade Policy Team
  • Rob Parry, Deputy Director, European Transition (Legislation)
  • Michelle Grey, Head of Negotiation Policy and Co-ordination
  • Euros Jones, European Transition
  • Lowri Lloyd-Hughes, Senior Private Secretary, CGMET
  • Paul Harrington, Head of Intergovernmental Relations, European Transition
  • Shelley Hughes, Deputy Head of Frameworks Policy Team
  • Enfys Dixey, Head of Economic Competitiveness Policy
  • Ed Sherriff, Deputy Director, European Transition (Negotiations and Preparedness)
  • Rhydian Ayres, Deputy Director of Brexit Borders Policy
  • Steven McGregor, Brussels Office
  • Kayleigh Sweet, European Transition Preparedness
  • Jack Savery, European Transition
  • David S. Thomas, Agriculture Trade Policy

Apologies

  • Ken Skates MS
  • Julie James MS
  • Kirsty Williams MS
  • Eluned Morgan MS
  • Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS
  • Hannah Blythyn MS
  • Julie Morgan MS

Item 1: Minutes of the previous meeting and actions arising

1.1. The Cabinet Sub-Committee approved the minutes of 18 November and noted that the actions were in hand.

Item 2: Civil contingencies

2.1 The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the item, which set out preparations for civil contingencies matters.

Item 3: Update on Developments – Oral item and background papers

3.1 The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the item and provided an update on his recent attendance at JMC(EN) on 3 December.

3.2 The Counsel General had pressed the UK government on matters including; its efforts to secure a comprehensive trade deal; the need to share a draft of any Future Relationship Bill; preparedness, particularly the supply of critical goods; the prospect of a data adequacy agreement; and macro-economic measures.

3.3 In relation to the Common Frameworks programme, the intention was to agree provisional outline frameworks by the end of the year, though the Internal Market Bill has caused difficulties for the work on some frameworks. The progress on the Intergovernmental Relations Review (IGRR) was outlined, and the importance of JMC(EN) continuing to meet until the IGRR process had concluded was reiterated.

3.4 On trade policy with regard to the rest of the world, the Sub-Committee noted the details as set out in the paper.

3.5 The Sub-Committee discussed the legislation paper tabled for information. The Welsh Government was on track to complete the known EU Exit SI requirements for 2020, with 6 UK government SIs left requiring consent and only three Welsh SIs remaining to be laid.

3.6 The Sub-Committee discussed progress with the Internal Market (IM) Bill and noted that there had been considerable support in the House of Lords for the positions set out in the model amendments agreed by the Sub-Committee on 14 October. A number of these amendments had been agreed by the House of Lords (HoL) and the Bill was now in ‘ping-pong’ between the 2 Houses.

3.7 Progress made in the UK-EU Joint Committee on the Northern Ireland Protocol had seen one of the biggest sources of contention removed from the Bill, but many issues remained that could have a significant impact on the devolution settlement.

3.8 Despite some improvements to the Bill as a result of the Lords’ amendments, they were not sufficient to make the Bill acceptable and legislative consent was expected to be withheld in the Senedd later that day.

3.9 An amendment to exempt teachers from the part of the Bill that introduced the principle of automatic recognition of qualifications between parts of the UK was welcomed, but concerns remained about the potential impact on future policy making in relation to the Post Compulsory Education and Training teaching workforce.

Item 4: UK/ EU future relationship deal and Future Relationship Bill – Oral

4.1 The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the item, which set out the latest position of the negotiations. Whilst it was usual for negotiations with the EU to go up to the wire, not knowing whether a deal was likely or not at this late stage was a major concern.

4.2 It was apparent that the same sticking points existed: the Level playing field, in particular the subsidies regime and on the definition of non-regression; Fish, quotas and access to waters; and governance, as the governance of a deal would be difficult to finalise until the other parts of the deal were agreed.

4.3 It was unclear if the political will existed within the UK government to show sufficient flexibility to secure a deal.

4.4 The Sub-Committee noted that a meeting between the PM and the President of the European Commission that evening could be critical, but the outcome remained uncertain. If a deal was agreed, the challenging process of implementation in time for the start of January would then begin.

Item 5: Preparedness update

5.1 The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the item, outlining the latest position on preparedness and progress on the Welsh Government’s End of Transition Action Plan.

5.2 The Sub-Committee discussed the activity underway, focusing in particular on the most pressing issues, notably borders issues and economic impacts as a result of a possible no deal.

5.3 The Sub-Committee noted the update.