Raoul Ruparel Profile picture
Former: Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Europe, Special Adviser @DExEUgov. Also formerly Co-Director & Chief Economist @OpenEurope. Views my own.
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21 Jul
Thread on UK's new command paper on NI. As I've said before, I agree with the starting point that current implementation of Protocol isn't sustainable. That said, proposals are a mixed bag. Bits can form basis of a discussion IMO but others less so 1/ gov.uk/government/pub…
Sections 1 & 2 are largely narrative, adds little. I would note that this Govt complains about being forced into less than ideal decisions due to political circumstances but shows no understanding that those same pressures applied to previous Govt who's decisions it laments 2/
On customs the paper essentially sets out expanding 'at risk' further to mean not only are products staying in NI tariff free but also not subject to full gamut of customs processes/admin. Enforcement sounds similar to current UK Trader Scheme. 3/
Read 16 tweets
20 Jul
Always welcome ideas & solutions in this space. Certainly worth considering. Two big questions in my mind 1) on where the border actually is under this approach 2) on enforcement. Short thread 1/
The approach sets out mutual enforcement of each others rules for things being sold into the other party. But what counts as an export? Is it goods moving from GB to NI or from NI to RoI? If the latter then this amounts to a big shift back to potentially having a land border 2/
Hard to see EU agreeing to this shift, also takes us back in discussions to 2017 essentially. It may be argued no border is needed, but there will inevitably need to be some sense of what counts as an export & where checks might take place. Which brings me on to enforcement...3/
Read 7 tweets
7 May
Most detailed (albeit unofficial sources) rebuttal to UK proposals on at risk approach to SPS under Protocol. Approach taken by EU here strikes me as a bit bizarre though not surprising. A few reasons why...1/
1st of course it isn't compatible with EU legislation as it stands, that's the point. If the metric to judge is, does it work within EU law then the Protocol itself would never have been agreed. Why use that metric now but not before? Who decided where the line is? 2/
2nd it is bit strange to leave assessment solely to DG Sante. There are much wider, more political considerations at play here. It would be like Defra alone deciding the UK's approach to NI 3/
Read 5 tweets
18 Feb
Interesting chart & I think relevant for the Scottish independence debate. Many on SNP side cite Irish example of being able to diversify away from trade with UK as path Scotland can follow. I think this chart highlights why that will be hard/unlikely. Short thread explaining 1/
The chart highlights that the reduction in trade share with the UK didn't come from switching trade away from UK but from taking advantage of opportunities elsewhere & increasing trade overall as share of GNP. 2/
The problem is, Scotland has already had all these opportunities when UK was inside the EU. Yet it still traded predominantly with the UK. So these won't be new opportunities for Scotland as they were for Ireland when it joined EEC. 3/
Read 7 tweets
19 Jan
As I & others have said, a lot of disruption we are seeing is the result of fact UK/EU went for an FTA rather than another form of relationship. However, there is an interesting point on rules of origin, where a facilitation included in CETA was not included in UK TCA. Thread 1/
Under CETA a product exported from one party to the other then returned without any processing can still qualify for preferential tariff on return. But it can't under the UK TCA. See EU CETA guidance here 2/ ec.europa.eu/taxation_custo…
One of the challenges businesses are facing is that products moved from the EU to the UK & then back to EU are no longer eligible for preferential tariffs even if they haven't undergone processing. This may happen if they are sent to a distribution centre for example. 3/
Read 7 tweets
30 Dec 20
On the day DUP voted against the deal, it is worth briefly remembering how, after voting for Brexit, they have managed to pretty much vote against every form of Brexit possible, go from kingmakers to irrelevant & harm their core cause. A true lesson in how not to do politics. 1/
As a reminder they had the offer under the previous govt at 3rd meaningful vote of entire UK in a customs union, with alignment on other areas & Stormont lock on new laws. As well as a wider econ package. They voted against it & were main reason it failed 2/
In the indicative votes process they then proceeded to vote against customs union & EEA. Often professing a desire for the sort of relationship which is now on offer in the FTA. 3/
Read 6 tweets
30 Dec 20
Off the back of the thread below, lots of people asked for one on services & financial services. So here it is. The deal is very thin in both areas, though that was expected. I don't think it amounts to making the deal unfair/unbalanced but it is a missed opportunity. 1/
First, we shouldn't look at this through the lens of UK having trade deficit with EU in goods & surplus in services. That is too simplistic. EU accounts for a large proportion of UK's goods trade so zero tariff zero quota is beneficial for UK as well for the EU. 2/
Similarly, having a very thin deal on services & financial services is also bad for EU. Belief in some quarters than business will simply move from UK to EU in these areas. But its not that simple. Will be costs & duplication while some business just won't make sense any more 3/
Read 17 tweets
27 Dec 20
As many others I'm still working through the detail of the agreement & all the annexes. But some initial thoughts based on my first read & associated documents. My overriding feeling is that it is pretty much exactly as expected in many parts & largely a balanced deal. 1/
Overall it is the thin deal I expected. The main thing it provides for is zero tariff zero quota. This is important but only a small part of the changes/costs businesses face as a result of the UK leaving the EU. This is largely because it became a pretty defensive negotiation 2/
Both sides became focused on defending their key interests rather than on their offensive asks. The UK around limiting the obligations to which it signs up, the EU by ensuring integrity of the single market. I think both have largely achieved their defensive aims 3/
Read 11 tweets
21 Dec 20
Even at this late stage there is a deal to be struck in UK/EU talks. I've tried to set out a landing zone on fishing for @POLITICOEurope. With both sides facing immense health & economic challenges a deal is more important than ever. Here is my proposal 1/ politico.eu/article/opinio…
There look to be three big areas of disagreement on fish.

1) Length of transition to new quota shares
2) Exact mount by which EU quota in UK waters is reduced
3) What happens in future if EU quota falls further or access is changed

Let me take each in turn. 2/
On length of transition. UK wants 3 years, EU 7 years. 5 years seems a fair compromise. Allows both sides time to adjust. From UK perspective, UK fleets can build up in anticipation of new quota they know they'll get. Its also a lot longer than any other sector has to prepare 3/
Read 18 tweets
14 Dec 20
Not a huge amount to say on UK/EU future relationship talks. Small signs of progress, but still tricky details to be sorted. Instead a thread on the NI agreement reached last week, on which there has been surprisingly little discussion. A good outcome given the circumstances 1/
The agreement on implementing NI Protocol looks better for the UK than I expected in many ways. Of course, there are still lots of additional challenges for business, but it could have been a lot worse. 2/
First on at risk tariffs. The most important point here is that the UK Trader Scheme will not only remove tariffs if no FTA, but essentially remove rules of origin requirements for GB to NI traders in the scheme even with an FTA. 3/
Read 12 tweets
24 Nov 20
Having looked at the economic impact of Brexit & Covid a lot, this will probably turn out to be true but we can't know for sure now. It all depends on your assumptions about the long term scarring on our economy from Covid. (1/4)
Brexit presents a set of known permanent changes which incur costs. Covid & the response have a lot of huge short term economic costs, but many of these may prove to be temporary once things return to normal. But importantly that is not guaranteed. (2/4)
This is partly why the Government has unleashed unprecedented economic support, in order to avoid the short term impacts becoming longer term & viable parts of the economy being destroyed permanently. But we don't yet know how successful that has been or will be. (3/4)
Read 4 tweets
15 Nov 20
Ahead of a crucial week in Brexit talks, issue of level playing field (beyond state aid) has become a major obstacle to a deal. Especially around evolution/ratchet clauses. Both sides have got themselves into an ideological corner & are struggling to get out. Thread explaining 1/
The evolution/ratchet clause would mean that if both sides increased their levels of regulation in these areas (environmental, workers rights etc.) in the future this would become the new bar for non-regression. Helping to avoid a gap opening up between the two sides. 2/
Both sides have adopted very ideological positions when in reality this approach makes little difference in practice. On the UK side, the approach in the original EU draft suggests this evolution could only happen if both sides agreed. i.e. UK would have a veto. 3/
Read 11 tweets
16 Oct 20
Don't think we should get too carried away about this being over, but message UK is sending is serious. Main thing I think EU have misjudged is sequencing on all this. UK has finally begun to move on state aid issues, instead of responding in kind EU has pushed for more 1/
Not entirely surprising. They are right further moves from UK are needed, but the way they are going about it is wrong way to achieve them. Putting all pressure on UK to move on all things difficult for it with EU leaving theirs until very end always makes it unbalanced. 2/
The EU should respond to UK moves by beginning to move on fish and opening up other areas for intense talks. If UK doesn't follow through with further moves, EU can always pull back later. 3/
Read 4 tweets
15 Oct 20
Building on the thread below, I've got a new piece out today on the interplay between Brexit & Covid-19, in particular in terms of practical impacts for business. A real challenge in many sectors, here's a thread setting out key points 1/ www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/gl…
As the chart below highlights, in many cases the two shocks will hit different sectors, spreading the breadth of economic challenges at the end of this year. But there are some sectors (mostly those with complex manufacturing supply chains) which will face a double hit 2/
We identify three themes where there are likely to be particular interplays between Brexit & Covid-19 for business - supply chains, people & finance/resources. 3/
Read 10 tweets
10 Sep 20
Have taken time to digest internal market bill & talk to various people on both sides. The text is worse than I expected & is/will be a clear breach of Protocol. Some analysis and thoughts on what happens next (spoiler - nothing particularly good)...1/
What surprised me about the clauses in the internal market bill is that not only do they seek to set out UK's interpretation of the Protocol (which might have been defensible) but they pre-emptively set out that UK will ignore any ruling on these issues. Impossible to defend 2/
Furthermore, if the UK wanted to argue that Article 6(1) of the Protocol gave it licence to do these things, it could have earlier on. Indeed I tweeted about this sort of approach in Oct 2019 but UK accepted exit declarations legally required 3/
Read 9 tweets
6 Sep 20
At some point both sides in the Brexit negotiations have to realise threatening no deal or warning of the consequences simply doesn't work & won't result in a shift of position on the other side. At no stage in these negotiations has it done so. A thread with some examples...1/
Johnson didn't shift on a more NI only Protocol last year due to fear of no deal. He shifted because it allowed for a more distant future relationship with EU than the backstop & because he needed a deal of some form to use in an election campaign focused on delivering Brexit 2/
Similarly the EU didn't shift on democratic consent in the Protocol last autumn due to fear the UK would leave without a deal (there was still no majority in Parliament for that) but because they actually thought Johnson may be able to deliver a deal through Parliament 3/
Read 9 tweets
28 Aug 20
This has been the case for some time & why I think focusing June high level conference on purely process issues was a mistake. But I fear the idea UK political level detached from negotiations may be wishful thinking...1/
Yes PM may be distracted & have a lot on his plate. But I wouldn't expect there to be huge gaps between what he & Frost think. Yes he can inject some more impetus & give some flexibility but on the detail he will likely listen closely to Frost's advice. 2/
It may be a case of hoping for a similar intervention from the PM as last year with the NI Protocol. But that was very different in terms of the political situation & the concessions were a direction he was more comfortable with (a harder Brexit essentially). 3/
Read 8 tweets
18 Jun 20
Interplay between economic shocks of Brexit & Covid-19 has been underdiscussed IMHO. Some talk from Government about how C-19 economic impact makes Brexit irrelevant. Superficially, sounds like it might be right but is it? Yes and no, though mostly no. Thread explaining why 1/
First the Government argues many sectors will have to transform from Covid-19 impact & also from Brexit, so why do it twice rather than all in one go. Sounds logical but...2/
The sectors hit hardest by Covid-19 (travel, tourism, retail) are not the ones hit hardest by Brexit (chemicals, pharma, financial services). Having both at the same time actually unleashes two shocks which hit a wider range of sectors (plus hits manufacturing twice) 2/
Read 15 tweets
5 Jun 20
Unsurprisingly, little progress. Now at the stage where political intervention is needed. Barnier referencing political declaration is tiresome for a number of reasons. Not least because EU used to see it as entirely irrelevant & they are cherry picking it as well. Thread 1/
For much of past three years the EU side have seen the political declaration as a sop to the UK to try to help get the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament. They have not only briefed this but made it clear to those of us in negotiations. Position now is quite hypocritical 2/
Barnier cites para 77 of the PD. But he always only mentions the first sentence not the second sentence, as highlighted below. This is surely just as equally important. 3/
Read 8 tweets
15 May 20
Unsurprisingly little or no progress in the talks this week. As I said last round, both sides are being unrealistic in their positions in places. But this below from @MichelBarnier is fundamentally incorrect & very misleading. (I will come onto UK issues in the thread as well) 1/
Zero tariff/zero quota agreement is nowhere near the same as membership of the single market. As nearly all economic analysis of Brexit shows, the largest impact comes from customs admin/delays, rules of origin & non-tariff barriers. UK will face all these, members do not. 2/
Barnier also implied the UK was rejected any level playing field. I don't think this is the case, the UK is simply seeking LPF more in line with precedent. 3/
Read 9 tweets
2 May 20
Having been in No 10 at the time the previous Government supposedly previously agreed to an EU office in NI, I can say that it is not correct, certainly not in the way presented. A thread explaining 1/
In Feb 2019 we were doing everything to get the DUP on side in the 'meaningful votes', why would we agree to something they would so clearly oppose? It makes no sense. It was certainly never signed off at the political level in No 10 2/
The quotes in @tconnellyRTE reporting talk about an EU presence in all Devolved Administrations, which is something entirely different to the office they are now seeking in NI. For two key reasons 3/
Read 10 tweets