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December, 05 2017

UKELA at Parliamentary Committee to discuss Mixed Agreements

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Posted by Joe Newbigin at 16:35
UKELA was again invited to give evidence to the House of Commons Select Committees, this time to the Environmental Audit Committee. Today Professor Macrory, co-chair of our Brexit Task Force, appeared before the Committee's inquiry into UK progress on reducing F-Gas emissions. The session focused on how the UK deals with mixed international agreements, with a particular focus on the Montreal Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, and the Kyoto Protocol. The future of these agreements was something UKELA addressed in our report The UK and International Environmental Law after Brexit.

Macrory at EAC on F-Gas

The Committee was particularly interested in whether the UK would continue to be bound by the Montreal Protocol after Brexit. Richard was clear that UKELA did not think that that this agreement, or either of the other international agreements regulating F-Gases, would fall. Nevertheless, when asked whether the UK Government should do more to clarify what its position is on the future of mixed agreements Richard said that the UK should do more. Referring to a recent answer given by a Defra minister he said:

“If I had a student who answered a question like that, I would have to mark them down for not answering the question. What UKELA would like to see is for the Government to come up with a clear legal analysis of precisely what the case would be under a convention. In an ideal world, one would have a joint statement from the Commission and the UK Government.”

Both the other experts on the panel agreed that a common position between the UK and the EU would dispel uncertainty and remove any ambiguity relating to mixed agreements. Professor Koutrakos, noting that this would be consistent with statements made by the European Council, said that in the current climate this was “not as eccentric as it might appear”. Dr Savaresi suggested that a joint statement may form the basis of a declaration issued with depositories of mixed agreement, or be formalised in a future collateral arrangement.

You can watch the full session on Parliament TV and UKELA's written evidence can be found on the inquiry's webpage. More information about the inquiry is available on Parliament's website.

[Update 14/12/17] The full transcript of Richard's evidence can be found here.

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