David Frost and his counterpart met this week to try and break the current Brexit deadlock ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Even if a deal is struck between the two sides, any trade agreement will need to be agreed by both the EU Council and European Parliament – as well, possibly, by dozens of parliaments across the bloc. However, due to the complexity and broad nature of the potential agreement between the two sides, any deal may also need to be ratified by national parliaments too.
A national parliament could block the deal when it comes to vote but this has so far not happened for any EU agreement.
In 2016, the regional Belgian Federation of Wallonia-Brussels parliament almost sunk the EU’s landmark Canada agreement.
However, chaos was averted when approval was granted with just days to spare.
Due to this process, it is unclear if any trade deal will pass the legislative hurdles needed before the end of the transition period on January 1.
As Georgina Wright from the Institute for Government stated, Brexit talks are only “part of the challenge” for the two sides.
Brexit Live: Boris and Barnier under pressure
National Parliaments are needed when any trade agreement is termed as “mix competence”.
Shared competence states an area of law outside of European legislation – such as aviation, state healthcare or state aid law.
If the agreement was only involving EU legislation, it would just need EU Council and Parliament ratification.
EU officials have already issued their concern over the short timetable to be able to do this before the end of the year.
Due to this, the EU’s Brexit co-ordination group is now meeting to discuss plans to alter the ratification timetable.
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Brexit news: Michel Barnier
8.51am update: Boris Johnson urged to agree six-month adjustment period
The Prime Minister has been urged to agree a six month period with EU in order to give businesses time to prepare.
In a letter penned by Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Lib Dems and former Siemens boss Juergen Maier, they warned the challenges facing industries are “unprecedented”.
They added: “Uncertainty is bad for business at any time, but the combination of the challenges of battling the impact of coronavirus restrictions alongside having now to cope with the huge challenge of complying with new trading procedures, at very short notice, could be very damaging.
“Indeed, some in the business community tell us they are seriously concerned that the threat they face due to these twin challenges is existential.
“Industry bodies from every sector of the economy have warned that they will need time to adjust.
“So we urge you to negotiate the reasonable and practical measure of a three to six-month adjustment period in the EU trade deal, to save jobs and businesses.”
8.22am update: Brexit changes to hit second-hand cars in Northern Ireland
Changes due to Brexit are set to rise prices for secondhand cars in Northern Ireland.
From January, car dealers in Northern Ireland will have to pay VAT on the full price of the vehicle.
Currently, dealers buy a vehicle in Great Britain before selling in Northern Ireland and only pay VAT on the profit.
Brexit news: Lord Frost
7.57am update: Agreement by next week – Frost tells Boris
Lord Frost has indicated a deal could be agreed in the next seven days.
Although significant gaps remain between the two sides, Lord Frost told the Prime Minister there may be a possible “landing zone” as early as next Tuesday.
The report from The Sun comes amid claims some Cabinet ministers have been urging for a compromise from the UK.
A Government source said: “It’s not a secret that the Treasury has always been anti-No Deal and Michael Gove has concerns about the Union.”
7.42am update: EU member states could still block trade deal
Even if a trade agreement is struck between Lord Frost and Mr Barnier, it would still need to go through a complicated ratification process.
Any agreement must be ratified by both the EU Council and the European Parliament.
However, due to the complexity of the trade agreement, it is likely national parliaments will need to vote on the deal too.
This means any member state could block the agreement, although this has not yet happened on any previous trade deal.