Useful fact-checking thread by an expert responding to journalist Andrew Neil’s tweet that some Member States may be trying to force the UK into a dynamic alignment so the EU can impose future new rules to Britain.

First published in February 2020.


This tweet by Andrew Neil is actually factually wrong.

Let us walk through the provisions together, shall we?

Let’s start with sources: here’s the mandate.

I’ll provide snippets in the following.

Negotiating Directives. / European Commission

First up: labour.

Andrew Neil claims that the mandate states the UK should remain aligned with current obligations. What does the mandate state?

Negotiating Directives. / European Commission

That is not dynamic alignment. Far from it.

It envisages an obligation not to fall below the levels of protection applicable in the EU and the UK at the end of the transition in relation to some areas.

And just to add to it: enforcement is not by the Commission. But the obligation would be effective domestic enforcement.

Negotiating Directives. / European Commission

Next up: environment.

Same thing. No dynamic alignment here either.

Negotiating Directives. / European Commission

Non-regression. Different. By a parsec. Or a country mile. Or a kilometer.

However you roll.

Finally, state aid.

Here’s the problem. Because here the mandate talks about the application of Union state aid rules. That’s different from the other areas.

Negotiating Directives. / European Commission

There’s no alignment obligation at all.

Neither static, nor dynamic. There’s non-regression.

“Remain aligned” just invites people to think Andrew Neil is speaking about dynamic alignment. Let’s say there’s a treaty stating that both the EU and the UK have to abide by an International Labour Organization standard, assuming that the EU has incorporated that in the past, and now the EU and the UK agree on non-regression. The UK promptly changes its law entirely to adopt far higher standards. Would you now say “the UK has committed to remain aligned”, and it is “aligned”?

“Remain aligned” means “remain aligned”. But “Remain aligned” is not in the EU Commission mandate for either labour or the environment.

Tweets posted on 24 February 2020 by @hhesterm.

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 24 February 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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