Brexit 5: the UK and EU have failed the October 15 deadline

It’s Friday again (!) so this means we are here for you to share the key five developments that took place this week in Brexitland!

EU Summit – there is ‘shadow and light’ Merkel says

On 15-16th October, the European Council summit took place, a forum which gathers all 27 EU Heads of State to discuss pressing issues and Brexit was one of them. In the conclusions of the meeting published by the European Council recalls that the transition period will end on 31st  December 2020 and “notes with  concern that progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached.”

As for the Internal Market Bill tabled by the UK government, the European Council remined the British counterparts that the Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocols must be fully and timely implemented.

Despite the lack of progress, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that she could see “light and shadow” and while “things have moved well” on some issues “there is still a lot of work to be done”. According to Merkel, more compromise is needed from UK Government.

British PM Johnson: ‘EU has refused to negotiate seriously’

As a reaction to EU’s disappointment on the lack of progress and compromise from UK Government to agree on the text for a trade deal and respect the self-imposed October 15 deadline, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson stated that EU “has refused to negotiate seriously”. As a result, Johnson said that the UK should get ready for no deal.

UK Brexit negotiator, David Frost, has his own disappointments in a twitter post, mentioning that the Summit conclusions show a lack of commitment from the EU “to work intensively to reach a partnership as agreed” with Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen on 3rd October.

Nevertheless, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, recommended that his team should come to London on Monday, 19th October to continue working on the negotiations of the trade deal.

UK Transport Secretary said EU-UK flights could be grounded if there is no deal

In a conference on tourism that took place this week, Grant Shapps, UK Transport Secretary, mentioned that flights could be grounded between the UK and the EU if the Brexit transition ends with no deal. At the same time, Shapps stated that there is a general agreement between both sides that there should not be any travel disruption (be it aviation or road) and that the UK is currently interested in agreeing “sensible additional flexibilities.”

Get ready, because “Winter is coming”!

UK Government publishes new provisions on Nutrition Labelling Composition and Standards

This month the UK Government published a command paper on the provisional common framework for Nutrition Labelling Composition and Standards (NLCS) responding to direct EU nutrition related legislation that will form part of domestic law under the EU Exit Withdrawal Agreement (Annex 1).

What should businesses know? The new framework focuses on replacing mechanisms which support current EU functions necessary to maintain current standards, such as those related to the authorisation of new claims; the amendment of lists and registers; or the notification of infant formula and medical foods. The paper informs that existing policy flexibility should be reflected but does not impose anything new.

Food Standards Agency publishes the EU Exit guidance on Health

On 12th October, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) published its updated official EU Exit Guidance on Health and Identification Marks that Applies from 1 January 2021. This guidance applies to all UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) food businesses that produce food products of animal origin (POAO) such as meat, egg products, fish, cheese and milk after the end of the EU Transition Period.

According to the updated guidance, from 1st January 2021 onwards, new health and identification marks can be used for POAO produced and placed on the market in Great Britain and Northern Ireland or exported outside of the UK. Businesses should know that a 21-month adjustment period for goods placed on the market in the UK is being proposed in order to reduce impact of the change in requirements for identification marks. The guidance informs however that the period of adjustment is not intended “to enable businesses to replenish stocks of labels, wrapping and packaging carrying the ‘UK/EC’ identification mark” after the end of the Transition Period and that they are encouraged to adopt the new markings as soon as possible once the Transition Period ends.

The Whitehouse team are experts in the potential impact of Brexit, providing political consultancy and public affairs advice to a wide range of clients, not only in the United Kingdom but also across the member states of the European Union. More information about our Brexit experience can be found here, or, if you have any questions, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at