Present (via Teams)
- Jeremy Miles MS (Chair)
- Eluned Morgan MS
- Kirsty Williams MS
- Lesley Griffiths MS
- Rebecca Evans MS
- Vaughan Gething MS
- Dafydd Elis-Thomas MS
- Rt Hon. Mark Drakeford MS
- Julie James MS
- Hannah Blythyn MS
- Ken Skates MS
- Jane Hutt MS
Item 1: Minutes of the previous meeting and actions arising
- The minutes of the 24 June meeting were agreed. The majority of actions had been completed or were completed by papers circulated for this meeting.
- There were two outstanding actions, which were for officials to ensure Legislation issues were considered further at future meetings and for a paper on Common Frameworks following summer recess. A short verbal update on legislation would be given under the ‘update on developments’ agenda item and officials would prepare a broader paper on legislation for the meeting in September. A paper on Common Frameworks would be brought to a future meeting.
Item 2: Update on developments
- The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition provided an update on developments since the last meeting. It was noted that recent developments on EU/UK negotiations, rest of the world trade negotiations, preparedness and the UK Internal Market would be covered during items 3, 4, 5 and 6 respectively.
- A meeting of the JMC(EN) had been held last week [16 July] focusing on the UK/EU negotiations, the Inter-Governmental Relations Review (IGRR), preparedness and the Internal Market.
- At the JMC(EN) meeting the IGRR item had been a short but positive discussion where progress on dispute avoidance and resolution was welcomed. The Counsel General had pressed for swift follow up in Ministerial meetings to finalise the detail to enable it to become operational and for rapid progress to be made on the ‘machinery’ of inter-governmental relations.
- On the JMC (EN) item on UK/EU future relationship negotiations David Frost gave a read-out of recent developments.
- In relation to Preparedness, the Counsel General had pressed for open sharing of information by UK Government across all preparedness projects and for full details of the necessary secondary legislation.
- The final item on the JMC(EN) Agenda on the UK Internal Market had enabled the Counsel General to set out the Welsh Government position on the completely unacceptable approach shown by UK Government in stepping away from an agreed programme of joint work to unilaterally publish a White Paper which proposed damaging legislation that did not respect the devolution settlement.
- The Counsel General continued with a brief update on Legislation, where there is relatively little additional information available since the last meeting.
- The Counsel General invited colleagues to update on developments in their areas.
- The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs provided an update on the last Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at which concerns around SIs and Frameworks were discussed. The next IMG was scheduled to take place the following week.
- The Counsel General noted that the shared aim of the four governments was to get Framework Outline Agreements in place this year.
- The Minister for Education provided an update on the recent Inter-Ministerial discussions on Erasmus. The Minister for Education also outlined engagement on Horizon Europe, though there had been no discussions on the Shared Prosperity Fund and its links to a research base. The Counsel General noted that he had also raised the issue of Erasmus at JMC(EN).
Item 3: UK / EU and rest of the world negotiations
- The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition provided an update on the latest developments in the UK’s negotiations with the EU and its trade negotiations with countries in the rest of the world.
- The Counsel General reported that a formal round of negotiations was underway in London. He offered to keep colleagues updated if there were any signs of significant progress made before the next meeting.
- The Counsel General also noted that responses had been received from the Paymaster General to the series of letters across the negotiating strands including on open and fair competition, governance, law enforcement and judicial cooperation, fisheries, trade in goods, trade in services and a joint response to Welsh Government, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Ministers on EU Programme participation.
- In concluding, the Counsel General outlined that officials had been asked to produce a set of messages on priorities related to the negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, which had also been affected by Covid-19 and these would be shared with the Sub-Committee.
- The Counsel General invited the Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language to update on the UK’s trade negotiations with countries in the rest of the world, in particular the US and Japan.
- The Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language reported that relations with the UK Government on the rest of the world negotiations were more positive. The Minister also noted that she had made it clear to DIT Ministers that the negotiation with the EU remains the Welsh Government’s priority and other deals must not adversely affect that deal.
CSC-ETT- (19-20) 44 Development of Negotiating Positions
- The Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language introduced the paper on development of negotiating positions [CSC-ETT- (19-20) 44]. The paper asked the Sub-Committee to agree Welsh Government positions in respect of regulatory practice and cooperation and the issue of Investor State Dispute Settlement.
- The Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language also highlighted the importance of trade in services linked to goods (Mode V) and its significance for the Welsh economy, accounting for 32% of Welsh services exports.
- The Sub-Committee noted the paper, agreed to the recommendations and endorsed the further work.
Item 4: Assessment of UKG Preparedness Projects – CSC-ETT(19-20)45
- The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced the item, which provided an update on recent developments on preparedness for the end of the transition period, particularly in relation to engagement with the UKG on UK-wide preparedness projects.
- At the last meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee, a discussion was held on the list of preparedness projects which had been received from the UK Government. These projects were those where the UK Government believed the Devolved Governments would need to be involved, or which could affect devolved areas. The information received was similar to information that was shared by the UK Government last year as part of no deal exit preparedness work, and the Welsh Government was using this information to inform its work on preparing for the end of the transition period, including identifying reliance on UK Government activity.
- The paper referred to the ongoing wider work on preparedness.
- It was reported that the UK Government was embarking on a major communications campaign in July to prepare people and businesses for the end of the transition period.
- The Sub-Committee agreed the paper.
Item 5: End of transition preparedness
- The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced this item and the supporting background paper.
- The aim of this item was to ensure a clear and collective view of cross-cutting and portfolio-specific risks and issues. These included issues such as Border readiness, the supply of critical goods (such as medicines and medical supplies, food and vital chemicals), and business support and readiness.
- The dual pressure of preparing for the end of transition while also dealing with the Covid pandemic was highlighted.
- The Counsel General summarised the discussion, noting that there was an appreciation across areas of the pressure on resources and limited time until the end of transition.
- The Sub-Committee noted the update, paper and recommendations.
Item 6: UK internal market update
- The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition introduced this item on the recent White Paper on the UK Internal Market, published by the UK Government on 16 July. The background paper was introduced, which set out initial lines and reaction to the White Paper, along with a read out from the JMC(EN) meeting and a discussion between the Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales and Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for BEIS. The First Minister had also discussed the issue with the SoS for Wales on Monday (20 July).
- The UK Government’s plans to legislate in this area went further than retained EU law and could potentially impact all ministerial portfolios, but in particular the economy, environment and rural affairs. There were also implications for state aid and procurement policies.
- The Welsh Government had made clear its concerns regarding the mutual recognition model suggested by the UK Government, which could undermine the Common Frameworks process.
- The UK Government’s consultation period ran until 13 August, during which time the Welsh Government would discuss the potential impact of the proposals with stakeholders. The UK Government planned to engage with business via a series of roundtables.
- It was reported that Welsh Government policy and legal officials were currently analysing the White Paper.