Welcome

BEERG on BrexitWelcome to the BEERG Brexit Blog. Here you will find my personal thoughts and observations not just on how Brexit will negatively impact the business sector in the UK, Ireland and across Europe, but how it will change the business, political and economic landscape for decades to come.

I am the founder and Executive Director of BEERG, a network of HR professionals working across Europe. All blogposts here are written by me, Tom Hayes, unless stated otherwise. Feel free to read, share and comment… unnamed

Brexit, British Government, Employment law, NI Protocol, Northern Ireland

Could proposed EU Gender Pay Transparency Directive apply in Northern Ireland because of the N.I. Protocol? – and, if so, how can that be done?

Gender-Pay-Gap-in-the-Events-Industry (1)Over the past week I have been organising a webinar for BEERG members on the proposed EU Directive on gender pay transparency.  The proposed Directive aims

“…to strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms”.                                                  (See the EU proposal here

While writing the webinar announcement, I noted that:

“this would be the first EU employment law Directive that, once adopted, would not apply to post-Brexit Britain.”

As I wrote this sentence a thought occurred to me: Is this entirely true? From this thought sprung two important questions:

  1. Could the new Directive apply in Northern Ireland because of the Protocol?
  2. And, if so, how could that be done?

Now, let me say straightaway that I have no idea what the answers to these two questions might be. And, I am fairly certain, nor does anyone else. That’s because we have never been here before.

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adequacy, Brexit, British Government, Data Protection, Data transfers

The UK’s Data Dilemma

dmcs

In a speech delivered last week, John Whittingdale MP, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Media and Data, told a conference of Privacy Laws & Business that he welcomed:

 … the European Commission’s February publication of draft data adequacy decisions for the UK, which rightly reflect our high data protection standards and paves the way for their formal approval.

The draft decisions will now be shared with the European Data Protection Board for a non-binding opinion and the European Parliament before being presented to Member States for formal approval. I urge the EU to fulfil its commitment in the agreed declaration and complete the process promptly.

Whittingdale’s comments came at the end of a speech in which he talked about the UK’s plans to use data to drive economic development. He also talked about the UK’s plans to expand the list of countries to which the UK will grant a “data adequacy” decision, which means that personal data can be seamlessly transferred to such countries from the UK.

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France, Macron, Michel Barnier

John Lichfield: A strange French election… We need to talk about the next French presidential elections. And to worry about them.

This is a guest post courtesy of our good friend John Lichfield the veteran correspondent on all things French and European.

It appears here as a BEERG Perspective. These are regular papers on topics of broader European interest.

BEERG Perspectives – John Lichfield previews the 2022 French presidential election

Boris Johnson, Brexit, British Government, Negotiating

An analysis of how Brexit is going… 2 months in

 

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Cartoon via Martin Shovel

Brexit will never be done.

Because it can never be done. Not for as long as the UK sits 50km off the European mainland and does 50% of its business with Europe. Not when the island of Ireland sits behind it – and the north east corner of that island is contested political ground.

Brexiteers may wish the UK was in the middle of the Pacific, as far away from Europe as possible, but that is not going to happen any time soon. Actually, it is never going to happen.

Brexit, for the Brexiteers, is a labour of Sisyphus. Just when they think they have pushed the boulder of absolute sovereignty to the top of the hill it rolls back again to the bottom requiring yet another heave to get Brexit over the line.

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Brexit, British Government, Customs Union, Single Market

The “Brexit of Small Things” is here… to stay

EU non EU

January 31. A full month into full Brexit. The UK is now completely out of the EU, out of its political, economic, and commercial structures. In Brussels jargon, it is a “third country”. Freedom of movement between the EU and the UK is now a thing of the past. New border barriers are in place, or soon will be. People, goods, service, and data now need permissions to cross this new border.

The new border barriers have come as a shock to many in the UK who seemed to think that a “free trade agreement” between the EU and the UK would leave things much as they were before. When you have spent much of your adult life living in the open European space that the EU has created through a mesh of agreements between its member states you can easily come to assume that this open space is the natural order of things. Except that it is not.

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Boris Johnson, Brexit, British Government, Brussels, Data Protection, Negotiating

#Brexit and the story of Paddy’s Two Rules

pint and ham

It was back in 1972. I had joined the Workers Union of Ireland, now part of SIPTU, as a trainee official. Full of naïve, student radicalism. Impatient to change the world.

I was assigned to learn my trade with an old-time official named Paddy.

Paddy was had risen through the union ranks from a shop-floor worker, to shop-steward, to full-time official. He was no intellectual, but he was full of what we would nowadays call “street-smarts”. An old-fashioned, working class union official whose heroes were Larkin, Connolly, and Bevan. Marx and Lenin didn’t come into it.

At the time, Paddy was in discussions about the renewal of a two-year agreement with a major food company. I was the junior bag carrier.

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