Is it possible that by not triggering Article 127 of the European Economic Area agreement the UK will have to stay in the EU single market?
Lawyers have been arguing since the EU referendum that to fully leave the single market the UK would also have to trigger Article 1227 of the EEA agreement.
The EEA membership is all EU countries and Norway, Iceland and Leichtenstien.
As a member of the EU, the UK did also become a signatory to the separate EEA. But it also has its own equivalent to the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 and that is Article 127, which has not as far as I can ascertain, been invoked by the UK.
The EEA sets up a trade area that entails, you've guessed it, the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. And the ECJ having jurisdiction of course.
And Article 127 states:
"Each Contracting Party may withdraw from this Agreement provided it gives at least twelve months' notice in writing to the other Contracting Parties.
"Immediately after the notification of the intended withdrawal, the other Contracting Parties shall convene a diplomatic conference in order to envisage the necessary modifications to bring to the Agreement."
The UK government has consistently said that triggering Article 50 is sufficient as it is our membership of the EU that puts us in the EEA, but many lawyers say it isn't and that legal uncertainty will follow by not invoking Article 127.
But then there is Article 62 of the Vienna Convention to consider too, which allows a party to walk away from a treaty if there is a ‘fundamental change of circumstances not foreseen by contracting parties’.
I did a video on this back in August 2017 (below), but the one year deadline for invoking Article 127 was yesterday – and you have to ask yourself why this was not done as a belt and braces, if the government is intent on leaving the whole set up, that is?
Anyway, the latest and greatest threat to the country from Brexit is a future lack of Easter Eggs says the Guardian.
"It might be a good year for Britons to stock up on Easter eggs, after a major chocolate manufacturer warned of the risk of shortages, higher prices and products turning stale after Brexit if the government goes ahead with pulling out of the single market and customs union." says the 'paper.
But when you read the article it appears to be all about companies importing their goods from the EU into the UK to either be sold or used as raw materials for goods to be made and sold in the UK.
In the article Catherine Bearder, the MEP for south-east England, is quoted as saying:
“Over 5,000 Ferrero trucks come into the UK each year – a severe hold-up at Dover could mean empty shelves in shops, especially during busy periods like Easter.”
Does this mean we have to stay in the single market and customs union in order to help EU company profits?
I'm sure we can source the raw materials from around the world and make our own chocolate eggs here in the UK if we wanted to – especially as I did a quick internet search and it seems that not many other countries have this tradition, so why not make them here and charge a tariff on imported chocolate eggs? And given that up to a third of the whole Easter Egg product can be packaging, maybe fewer them would help both waistlines and environment anyway.
Now to the web. According to numerous reports, the EU Commission wants to stop UK companies and citizens using .eu domains after Brexit.
There are about 317,000 of these registered in the UK under the .eu top-level domain.
And according to .eu top level domain registry manager, EURid, it received notification from the EU Commission that:
"…based on the United Kingdom’s intent to withdraw from the European Union, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date."
Now, I do have to say that I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn't the first of April when I read this. But it's true, it's on the EU Commission web-site.
But it's a legitimate thing to do really, considering that to get a .uk top level domain name – that includes things like .org.uk and .co.uk you have to have a proper UK address. But you can register for one from overseas if you have a UK address.
This could be a headache for those who rely on their domain for a living, but an early change over to a new top level domain can I'm told be done with little or no disruption – but 'early' is the word.