The House of Lords EU Select Committee has today published its report Beyond Brexit: how to win friends and influence people.
The report analyses the formal governance arrangements set out in the Withdrawal Agreement for future UK-EU cooperation, and considers how these can be complemented by less formal means of exercising influence in Brussels once the UK leaves the EU. While the report takes as its starting point that a deal will ultimately be reached, the need to find alternative avenues of communication and influence will become even more acute in the event of a no deal.
The report finds that, paradoxically, the UK will need to devote significantly more resources to lobbying and engaging with the EU Institutions after Brexit, if it is to ensure an effective relationship with its most significant trading partner. The report says UKRep – the UK Government’s representation in Brussels – should increase its diplomatic presence.
The report notes that the proposed UK-EU Joint Committee will be the principal formal means of inter-governmental dialogue after Brexit takes effect, and sets out key factors that will determine its effectiveness, including the frequency of meetings, its remit, the need for senior representation, a mutual commitment to dialogue, and effective accountability for the significant powers it will exercise.
The report also outlines Parliament's key role to play in scrutinising those EU laws that will continue to apply to the UK; the formal governance mechanisms including the Joint Committee; and the future relationship negotiations. It stresses the vital importance of maintaining inter-parliamentary dialogue with the European Parliament, the national parliaments of EU countries, and the devolved legislatures.