Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy
In accordance with the Inter-Institutional Relations Agreement, I am notifying Members that I attended a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Group on UK-EU Relations on 11th September 2023.
The meeting was chaired by Leo Docherty MP, UK Government Minister for Europe at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Also in attendance was Angus Robertson MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture. A senior official from the Northern Ireland Civil Service was present as an observer.
The meeting was held in preparation for the range of UK-EU meetings within the framework of the Trade & Co-operation Agreement scheduled for the remaining months of 2023 and the next UK-EU meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee (WAJC), expected to be held in early 2024.
Officials had earlier raised concerns at the short notice given for previous meetings and we are pleased this was taken on board in setting a date for this meeting.
The meeting provided a useful opportunity for me to outline several important Welsh Government issues to be progressed in the coming months. These included:
- Our general concerns relating to the existing Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and need to maximise its effectiveness.
- Appreciation that the UK will now return to Horizon Europe and Copernicus programmes.
- Concern that the UK government has decided not to return to Euratom and the alternatives UK Government is pursuing.
- Welsh Government’s desire to see an early resolution of issues around the Rules of Origin for electric vehicles.
- Our concerns relating to the export of live bivalve molluscs.
- The need to ensure an effective trade in seed potatoes.
- The need to maintain effective relationships internationally to preserve resilience in our energy system through the TCA to build a stable basis for the import and export of energy.
- Wales’s particular exposure to the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) because of its large steel industry.
- Continued concern that Welsh and Scottish Governments have yet to be invited to be part of the UK delegation for WAJC meetings.
The subsequent Joint Committee meeting is to be arranged.
The next meeting of the IMG on UK-EU Relations is not yet scheduled, nor has any agenda yet been agreed.