Insights Government says that it will agree to extending the provisional application of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) to 30 April 2021


Last week, we reported that the European Commission had adopted a proposal for a Council Decision to extend the provisional application of the TCA, and the House of Lords European Union Committee had sought the Government’s view on extending the provisional application of the TCA. Michael Gove MP has now responded to the EU Lords Committee, stating that he has informed Vice President Maroš Šefčovič in his capacity as interim co-chair of the Partnership Council that the UK will agree to extend provisional application to 30 April 2021 through written procedure. Mr Gove says that the Government now expects the EU to meet this timeline.

As for the Partnership Council Co-Chair, Mr Gove says that Lord Frost will become the UK co-chair of both the Partnership Council and the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on 1 March 2021. However, given the uncertainty that arises as a result of the continued provisional application of the TCA, the Government does not consider that the Partnership Council and other bodies established under Title III of the Agreement should begin their work formally during the period of provisional application, except where there are essential decisions that cannot be deferred, as with the extension of provisional application.

In relation to Parliamentary scrutiny of UK relations with the EU, Mr Gove reiterates that he is happy to appear before the Scrutiny Committees regularly. When Lord Frost takes over, Mr Gove says that he will lead work on the UK’s institutional and strategic relationship with the EU and will be accountable to Parliament in this capacity.

Finally, Mr Gove confirms that the Joint Consultative Working Group convened briefly for the first time on 29 January 2021 to formally adopt the Rules of Procedure, as required under the Northern Ireland Protocol, so that it can begin its work and meet fully. To read the letter in full, click here.