LONDON (Reuters) – Britain releases plans on Thursday to keep trade between its member states free when regulatory powers are recaptured by the European Union by the end of the year and redistributed to decentralized governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags can be seen in front of the Houses of Parliament in London, Great Britain, on April 9, 2019. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes
While it was part of the EU, Britain adhered to the bloc rules in areas such as agriculture, the environment, consumer protection and employment rights. After Britain left, these powers are returned to Britain.
Some will remain with the central government in London, others will be distributed to the decentralized nations. Thursday's plan will describe who gets what and how they are supervised.
Both the Welsh and Scottish governments have raised concerns in the past that they will lose when distributed to the central government.
The government said its plan is designed to ensure that rules within the UK do not diverge and create barriers to trade – guided by the principles of mutual recognition and non-discrimination.
"We want to ensure that the most successful political and economic union of the world's nations continues to grow and prosper," said Economics Minister Alok Sharma.
The independent government of Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland will monitor the distribution particularly closely.
Scotland voted to remain part of the UK in 2014, but its general opposition to Brexit has renewed the separatist sentiment.
The coronavirus pandemic has also highlighted tensions between home countries. Although Scotland and Wales share a land border with England, they have decided to depart from the English blocking rules and to criticize them frequently.
Nevertheless, the British cabinet minister Michael Gove described the plan as a "power surge" for decentralized administrations. A consultation with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will take place before the final text of the legislation is finalized.
Reporting by William James; Edited by Stephen Addison
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