Joint Ministerial Committee communiqué: 16 October 2017

Author (Corporate)
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Series Details 16.10.17
Publication Date 16/10/2017
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The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) on EU negotiations, chaired by Rt Hon Damian Green MP, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, brings together the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Responding to the introduction of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill by the United Kingdom Government on the 13 July 2017, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones issued a joint critical statement.

'The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill does not return powers from the EU to the devolved administrations, as promised. It returns them solely to the UK government and Parliament, and imposes new restrictions on the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales.

Following a meeting in Edinburgh on the 22 August 2017 First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon agreed to work together on amendments to the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.

The changes would be designed to protect devolved powers and responsibilities and provide effective powers to ensure devolved law works on withdrawal from the EU.

The First Ministers also committed to coordinate advice to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to ensure that both were fully informed of the risks posed by the UK Government Bill and the proposed changes.

Damian Green, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office in the United Government and the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns had meetings on the 4 September 2017 in Cardiff with the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones on arrangements under the EU (Withdrawal) Bill for distributing powers returned from the European Union.

Damian Green expressed confidence that progress could be made in talks with the Welsh Government on delivering a successful exit from the EU.

He said that there was a need to identify policy areas where common UK frameworks would be required as well as those areas that could be devolved to the devolved administrations.The fifth meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations) took place in London on the 16 October 2017 bringing together the UK government with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The previous meeting of the JMC (EU Negotiations) had taken place in Cardiff in January 2017.

Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, who represented Wales, had said before the meeting that it was 'crucial opportunity to re-set the relationship between the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations'.

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, Michael Russell reported that a set of principles to guide negotiations around any potential UK or GB wide frameworks after Brexit had been agreed. However, he made clear that the Scottish Government continued to be unable to recommend that the Scottish Parliament gave consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill unless significant changes were made.

Mr Russell urged the UK Government to drop their plans for a hard Brexit, give clarity on the rights of EU citizens and focus on securing a deal that allows Scotland, and the rest of the UK, to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.

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Related Links
BBC News, 17.10.17: No-deal Brexit would be a catastrophe, Mark Drakeford says
Wales: Government: News, 16.10.17: JMC crucial opportunity to re-set relationship with Devolved Administrations – Mark Drakeford
Wales: NAW: Research Service: In Brief, 23.10.17: Joint Ministerial Council meets
Scotland: Government: News, 16.10.17: Progress at Brexit meeting
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
ESO: Background information: Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations), Cardiff, 30 January 2017 - Joint Ministerial Committee communiqué: 30 January 2017
The Guardian, 16.10.17: Ministers warned of constitutional crisis risk over EU withdrawal bill
UK: Cabinet Office, 20.11.17: Letter to Chair from First Secretary of State Damian Green on Brexit, 20 November 2017

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