The environmental level playing field in the Brexit deal will be hard to enforce, agree European green groups.
It is ‘worrying’ the EU conceded to a ‘potentially more ambiguous mechanism’ (review and rebalancing clause), instead of full equivalence on environmental standards, said the interim director of BirdLife Europe, Ariel Brunner. He noted that the European Parliament must now ensure the system is robust enough.
Greener UK, along with the think tank IPPR, say the non-regression clause is limited by its link to trade and investment. If one Party thinks its trade partner regressed on an environmental protection, the complaining Party has to demonstrate a trade or investment impact.
This is considered a ‘very high bar for proof’, as also demonstrated by other trade deals with similar clauses. USA vs. Guatemala is an example of this, where the USA was not able to show the economic relationship had been impacted even though Guatemala hadn’t adopted any of the social standards it was expected to. However, Professor René Repasi believes this may be decided differently in any future dispute between the EU and UK: the economic relationship is undoubtedly not identical, and every panel of arbitrators is distinct and applies different legislation.
ENDS on BirdLife Europe and Greener UK
Professor René Repasi’s legal explanation of the Brexit deal – webinar Understanding the Brexit Deal