Y Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ychwanegol - Y Bumed Senedd
External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee - Fifth Senedd27/01/2020
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies AC|
|Dai Lloyd AC||Yn dirprwyo ar ran Delyth Jewell|
|Substitute for Delyth Jewell|
|David Melding AC|
|David Rees AC||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Huw Irranca-Davies AC|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Jeremy Miles AC||Y Cwnsler Cyffredinol a'r Gweinidog Brexit|
|Counsel General and Brexit Minister|
|Simon Brindle||Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Sophie Brighouse||Llywodraeth Cymru|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Aled Evans||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|Claire Fiddes||Dirprwy Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:29.
The meeting began at 13:29.
Good afternoon. Can I welcome Members and the public to this afternoon's meeting of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee? Before we go into our main item of business, can I go through the housekeeping? I remind Members that the meeting is bilingual; if you require simultaneous translation from Welsh to English, that's available on the headphones via channel 1 and if you require amplification, that's available on the headphones, but that's on channel 0. May I remind Members to turn their mobile phones or other electronic equipment off, or on silent, please, so that it doesn't interfere with the broadcasting equipment? Do any Members wish to declare an interest at this point in time?
My standard declaration as chair of the committees I chair for the First Minister.
Thank you. We're not scheduled for a fire alarm this afternoon, so if one does take place, please follow the directions of the ushers to a safe location. We've received apologies from Mandy Jones and Delyth Jewell, and we welcome Dai Lloyd as a substitute for Delyth Jewell this afternoon—welcome.
Diolch yn fawr.
We can now go into our main item of business this afternoon, which is a scrutiny session with the Counsel General and Brexit Minister, Jeremy Miles. For the record, would you like to introduce your officials?
Prynhawn da. I have Simon Brindle and Sophie Brighouse from the European transition team, Chair.
Thank you for that. We'll go straight into questions. The first question will give you an opportunity to perhaps update us on the meeting you had on 9 January, I think it was, with the Joint Ministerial Committee (European Negotiations), the last one. I know there's one tomorrow, but perhaps you could just give us an update as to what outcomes from that meeting occurred, and where we may be seeing those outcomes move forward.
Thank you, Chair. At the JMC(EN) on 9 January, we discussed the preparations for the UK-EU future relationship negotiations and I took the opportunity, as I have at previous JMC(EN) meetings, to make it clear yet again that the Welsh Government should have a role in the conduct of the negotiations that will unfold over the coming weeks and months. I think it's fair to say that UK Government Ministers indicated that they had understood the series of asks that we have been making. In the meantime, we have published the response of the Welsh Government to the political declaration, which includes an updated economic impact analysis and a piece of work that we commissioned from the trade observatory that looks at the implications of the protocol arrangements in particular for the Welsh economy, and puts us in a position to engage with that. You will know as well that my colleague, the Minister for international relations has published an international strategy that sets out the Government's ambitions for Wales in terms of international relations in the post-Brexit period.
And was that discussed at the JMC(EN)?
That document was not, no, but as I say, the focus from our point of view at that JMC(EN) was underlining how important it is that the Welsh Government has an appropriate role in those negotiations going forward.
That's something we will, perhaps, want to explore more with you, so, Dai.
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Dwi'n clywed beth rydych chi'n ei ddweud ynglŷn â beth sydd wedi digwydd eisoes yn nhermau blaenoriaethau negodi ynglŷn â masnach rhwng y ddwy Lywodraeth—Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig a'r Llywodraeth yn fan hyn. Allaf i ofyn i chi pa mor hyderus ydych chi y bydd gan Lywodraeth Cymru rôl ffurfiol yn y trafodaethau yn y dyfodol? Dwi'n clywed beth rydych chi'n ei ddweud am beth sy'n digwydd nawr a beth sydd wedi digwydd yn ddiweddar, ond oes yna le i amau mai dyna ydy'r sefyllfa derfynol, yntau, ydych chi'n hyderus y bydd rôl gan Lywodraeth Cymru yn y trafodaethau yma yn y dyfodol?
Thank you very much, Chair. I hear what you're saying about what's happened already in terms of the negotiating priorities on trade between the UK Government and the Government here. Can I ask you how confident you are that the Welsh Government will have a formal role in the negotiations in the future? I hear what you're saying about what's happening now and what's happened recently, but is there any room to doubt what's going to happen, or are you confident that the Welsh Government will have a role in these negotiations in the future?
Wel, allwn ni ddim bod yn hyderus. Dyw Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol ddim eto wedi cyflwyno unrhyw gynnig pendant ynglŷn â rôl Llywodraeth Cymru yn y trafodaethau a'r negodiadau hynny, na chwaith, hyd yn hyn, ydyn nhw wedi rhoi dadansoddiad clir o elfennau o'r cynigion rŷm ni wedi'u gwneud fel Llywodraeth y buasai nhw methu eu derbyn. Un o'r sialensiau, rwy'n credu, o'u safbwynt nhw yw eu pryder nhw, os gallai ei ddisgrifio fel hynny, ein bod ni'n galw am feto ar y trafodaethau rhyngwladol. Nid hynny rŷm ni'n gofyn amdano fe. Rŷm ni wedi esbonio, rwy'n credu, yn eglur, erbyn hyn, beth rŷm ni'n galw amdano fe, ac nid feto yw hynny. Mae'r JMC(EN) yn cwrdd yma yng Nghaerdydd yfory, felly dyna'r cyfle i Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol gyflwyno cynigion sy'n ateb y galw rŷm ni wedi'i wneud.
We can't be confident. The UK Government has not yet brought forward any definite proposal on the role of the Welsh Government in those discussions and negotiations, nor have they given us a clear analysis of elements of proposals that we've made as a Government that they couldn't accept. One of the challenges from their perspective, I think, one of their concerns, if I can describe it as that, is that we're calling for a veto on international negotiations. That's not what we're asking for. We have explained, I think, very clearly now, what we are calling for; we aren't calling for a veto. The JMC(EN) is meeting here in Cardiff tomorrow, so that's the opportunity for the UK Government to put forward proposals that answer what we are calling for.
Awn ni ar ôl hynny mewn ychydig o fanylder rŵan. Felly, gan nad oes yna rôl ffurfiol wedi'i chytuno rhwng y ddwy Lywodraeth, beth, yn eich tyb chi—ac mae cyfle i chi athronyddu nawr, os ŷch chi eisiau—beth ydych chi'n gweld y byddai rôl ddelfrydol Llywodraeth Cymru yn y trafodaethau rhwng y Deyrnas Unedig a'r Undeb Ewropeaidd?
And we'll go after that in some detail now. As a formal role hasn't been secured between the two Governments, what, in your view—and there's an opportunity here for you to philosophise now—what do you see as the ideal role for the Welsh Government in the negotiations between the UK Government and the EU?
Rwy'n credu bod dau brif elfen i'r cwestiwn hynny. Yr elfen gyntaf yw'r cwestiwn o strwythur: beth yw'r strwythur iawn ar gyfer y broses o gyflenwi ein rôl ni fel Llywodraeth? Rwy'n credu bod hynny'n golygu, yn gyntaf, cydweithio mewn manylder rhwng swyddogion, lle mae'r gwaith, gan fwyaf, yn digwydd, wrth gwrs, a bod hynny'n digwydd o fewn cyd-destun bod y Llywodraethau i gyd yn cael eu trin yn hafal yn y broses honno. Wedyn, proses o gytuno rhwng y Llywodraethau ar y safbwyntiau hynny a rôl weinidogol yn hynny hefyd. Ac wedyn, y drydedd elfen o'r cwestiwn yma o broses a strwythur yw rôl yn y broses o negodi ei hunan. Mae hynny wedi digwydd yn y gorffennol, wrth gwrs, mewn negodiadau gyda'r Undeb Ewropeaidd tra ein bod ni wedi bod yn aelod. Felly, mae angen strwythur clir i hynny ddigwydd. Dyna'r pwynt cyntaf.
Ond, dyw'r strwythur ar ei ben ei hunan, wrth gwrs, ddim yn ddigon. Y cwestiwn yw: beth yw pwrpas y strwythur, beth yw gôl ac amcan y trafodaethau hynny? Mae'r ddwy egwyddor rŷm ni wedi bod yn galw amdanyn nhw yn egwyddorion craidd o hyd, hynny yw, dylai fod ymgais ar ran Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol i sicrhau cytundeb. Yn sicr, pan rŷm ni'n sôn am bwerau a chyfrifoldebau datganoledig, ni ddylen nhw, yn arferol, symud ymlaen gyda safbwynt negodi heb ein cytundeb ni. Felly, nid veto, ond efallai paralel i'r egwyddor sydd y tu ôl i gonfensiwn Sewel yn y cyd-destun hwnnw. Mae angen mwy na pherthynas dda yn yr egwyddorion hynny. Hynny yw, mae angen datganiad a chytundeb eglur mai dyna'r egwyddorion sydd wrth wraidd y berthynas, fel ein bod ni fel Llywodraeth yn gallu dod yma i'r pwyllgor ac i'r Siambr a dweud, 'Dyma'r ymroddiad sydd wedi cael ei roi, a dyma sail y trafodaethau.' Mae hynny'n bwysig o ran craffu ac o ran sicrwydd i sail y berthynas.
Well, I do think that there are two main elements to that question. The first element is the question of structure: what is the correct structure for the process of fulfilling our role as a Government? I think that the first point is co-operation in detail between officials, where the greatest part of the work is done, and that that happens in the context of all the Governments being treated equally in that process. Then a process of agreement between the Governments on those views and the ministerial roles within that. And then, the third element of this question of process and structure is the role in the process of negotiating itself. That has happened in the past, of course, in negotiations with the European Union while we were a member. So, a clear structure is needed for that to happen. That's the first point.
But the structure in itself isn't enough. The question is: what is the purpose of the structure, what is the aim and objective of those negotiations? The two principles that we've been calling for are core principles still. That is, that there should be some sort of attempt on the part of the UK Government to ensure an agreement. And certainly, when we're talking about devolved power and responsibilities, there should be a commitment that they should not usually proceed with a negotiating position without our agreement. So not a veto, but perhaps a parallel to the principle that's behind the Sewel convention in that context. More than a good relationship is needed for those principles. We need a statement and a clear agreement that those are the principles that are the basis of that relationship so that we as a Government can come here to the committee and to the Chamber and say, 'This is the commitment that has been made and this is the basis for the negotiations to proceed.' That is a very important point in terms of scrutiny and in terms of assurance for the basis of that relationship.
Diolch am hynny. Ar gefn hynny, fel dŷch chi wedi nodi eisoes ac fel sy'n hysbys, yn naturiol, mae yna gyfarfod ychwanegol o'r cyd-bwyllgor gweinidogol yng Nghaerdydd yfory. Felly, o gofio beth sydd wedi digwydd i fyny at nawr a dim rôl benderfynol gan Lywodraeth Cymru yn y negodiadau yma, beth fydd Llywodraeth Cymru'n ei wneud yn y cyfarfod yma yng Nghaerdydd i sicrhau eich bod chi'n cael eich cynnwys o 1 Chwefror ymlaen? A oes gennych chi rôl yn y cyfarfod yma hefyd?
Thank you for that. On the back of that, as you've already noted and as we know, there is an additional meeting of the JMC(EN) in Cardiff tomorrow. So, given what's happened up until now with no role for the Welsh Government in these negotiations, what will the Welsh Government be doing in this meeting in Cardiff to secure your involvement as of 1 February? Do you have a role in this meeting as well?
Wrth gwrs, Llywodraeth Cymru yw'r gwesteiwr a bydd y Prif Weinidog yma'n cadeirio'r cyfarfod. Rŷm ni wedi bod yn glir dyw'r cydbwyllgor ddim, hyd yn hyn, wedi cyrraedd y nod y mae wedi gosod i'w hunan o ran cylch gwaith ac o ran cylch gorchwyl a phwrpas; hynny yw, goruchwylio'r negodiadau. Dyw hynny ddim wedi bod yn elfen flaenllaw yng ngweithgaredd y JMC. Felly, os daw Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol yfory gyda chynnig sy'n ateb yr hyn rŷm ni wedi bod yn galw amdano fe ac yn rhoi cyfle inni ddelio â hwnna, ymwneud ag e a'i drafod e, hynny yw, yn hytrach na jest ei osod e, wel, mae hynny'n gam ymlaen, onid ydy? Ond dŷn ni ddim mewn sefyllfa lle mae gennym ni lot o amser i ddelio â hyn; mae angen i hyn ddigwydd ar fyrder.
Of course, the Welsh Government will be hosting it and the First Minister will be here chairing the meeting. We have been very clear, haven't we, that the JMC(EN) has not so far achieved the aim that it's set for itself in terms of its remit and its terms of reference and purpose; that is, to oversee the negotiations. That hasn't been a prominent element of the activity of the JMC. So if the UK Government does come tomorrow with a proposal that meets what we have been calling for and gives us an opportunity to deal with that and to discuss it, rather than just setting it out, well that's a step forward, isn't it? But we're not in a situation where we have a lot of time to deal with this; this needs to happen urgently.
Diolch am hynny. Felly, os na chaiff Lywodraeth Cymru ei rôl ddelfrydol, fel y gwnaethoch chi ei amlinellu'n fedrus gynnau bach, a oes gennych chi gynllun wrth gefn ar gyfer sicrhau y gall Lywodraeth Cymru ddylanwadu ar y trafodaethau, hyd yn oed os cewch chi ddim rôl? A oes gennych chi gynllun wrth gefn?
Thank you for that. Therefore, if the Welsh Government does not have its ideal role, as you've outlined quite ably earlier, do you have a contingency plan for ensuring that the Welsh Government can influence the negotiations, even if you don't have a role? Do you have a contingency plan?
Wel, mae'r negodiadau'n digwydd rhwng Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol a'r Comisiwn Ewropeaidd—dyna'r bobl sy'n arwain y trafodaethau. Felly, os na chawn ni sail y gallwn ni gytuno arno gyda Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol ar gyfer ein rôl ni, gallwn ni ddim, fel petai, gorfodi ein hunain i mewn i'r broses yna o negodi; dyw hynny jest ddim yn—
Well, the negotiations are happening between the UK Government and the European Commission—those are the people who are most prominent in these discussions. So, if we don't have a basis on which we can agree with the UK Government for our role, then we can't, as it were, force ourselves into that process of negotiation; that's just not—
Wel, dyw e ddim yn bosib yn gyfansoddiadol i ni wneud hynny. Felly, wrth gwrs, beth rydym ni wedi'i wneud—ac mae'r enghraifft ddiweddaraf yn y dyddiau diwethaf—yw cyhoeddi papurau gyda safbwynt o ran blaenoriaethau, ac ati. A gaf i jest fod yn gwbl glir? Dŷn ni ddim yn gweld y ffaith ein bod ni'n cyhoeddi dogfennau felly fel rhywbeth sy'n cymryd lle y gwaith o ymwneud mewn manylder a thrafod yn fanwl y dewisiadau sydd o'n blaenau ni.
Ond os na fydd gyda ni rôl yn y broses o negodi, bydd yn rhaid i ni gymryd pob cyfle y gallwn ni i sicrhau'n gyhoeddus ein bod ni'n datgan beth rydym ni'n credu sydd ym muddiannau gorau Cymru. Mae'r broses o gytuno ar y ffordd o fynd rhagddi i ddelio â chytundebau am y trafodaethau yma, a'r broses o negodi'i hunan, yn golygu cwestiynau o amserlenni, blaenoriaethau, beth sy'n cael ei drafod gyntaf. Felly, mae cyfle, os ydym ni'n rhan o hynny, i allu ceisio cael impact ar ran pobl Cymru yn y broses. Os nad yw hynny'n rhywbeth sy'n cael ei rannu gyda ni, mae hynny'n mynd i fod yn anodd, wrth gwrs.
It's not possible constitutionally for us to do so. So, of course, what we have done—and the latest example is in the last few days—is to publish papers with our views and our priorities, and so forth. I want to be completely clear: we don't see the fact that we are publishing these documents as something that takes the place of the work of being involved in detail and discussing in detail those choices that are in front of us.
But if we don't have a role in that negotiation process, then we will have to take all opportunities possible to ensure publicly that we state what we think is in the best interests of Wales. The process of agreeing upon the best way of going ahead with dealing with these negotiations, and the process of negotiating itself, raises questions of timetabling, priorities, what's discussed first. So, there's an opportunity, if we're part of that, to be able to try to have an impact on behalf of the people of Wales in that process. If that isn't something that is shared with us, it's going to be difficult, of course.
Alun, did you want to come in with a supplementary?
Jest i barhau ar yr un llwybr, mae yna strwythur, ac rydych chi wedi trafod hynny, ar gyfer y Llywodraethau i gydweithio gyda'i gilydd. Os ydych chi'n cyfarfod yfory, dwi'n credu ei fod e'n ddigon anhygoel eich bod chi heb gael papurau gan Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol erbyn heddiw ar gyfer cyfarfod sy'n digwydd yfory. Dyw hynny ddim yn ddigon da. Dwi ddim yn gweld sut rydych chi'n gallu paratoi ar gyfer unrhyw fath o ymateb, os mai dyna'r ffordd maen nhw'n gweithio.
Ond a ydych chi wedi edrych ar berthynas agosach gyda'r Llywodraeth yn Llundain? Er enghraifft, secondio swyddogion i weithio tu fewn i Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol. Mae'n rhywbeth sydd wedi digwydd o'r blaen, gyda rhywfaint o negodi, gyda'r cronfeydd strwythurol, er enghraifft, a gyda rhywfaint o'r rhaglenni amaethyddiaeth. So, mae yna egwyddor wedi'i phrofi lle rydych chi, wedi hynny, ddim jest yn cael y berthynas weinidogol wleidyddol, ond eich bod chi'n rhan o'r tîm ar draws y Deyrnas Gyfunol yn gweithio ar y cyd ar y cynigion yma.
Just to continue on the same path, there is a structure, and you have discussed that, for Governments to collaborate together. If you're meeting tomorrow, I think it's amazing that you haven't had papers from the UK Government by today for a meeting that's happening tomorrow. That's not good enough. I don't see how you can prepare for any sort of response, if that's the way that they operate.
But have you looked at a closer relationship with the Government in London? For example, seconding officers to work within the UK Government. It's something that's happened before, with some negotiations, on structural funds, for example, and with some of the agricultural programmes. So, there is a principle that's been proved, where you can then not just have a ministerial political relationship, but that you're part of a team across the UK working together on these proposals.
Mae'r mathau o bethau hynny yn bethau sydd wedi bod yn bethau rydym ni wedi bod yn ystyried, p'un ai ei fod e'n secondiad technegol, mae hynny yn gwestiwn ar wahân. Ond rwy'n credu wrth wraidd eich cwestiwn chi mae'r syniad yma ein bod ni ynghlwm wrth y penderfyniadau wrth eu bod nhw'n cael eu gwneud, a'r iterations o'r trafodaethau, hynny yw, yn hytrach na bod y broses yn broses hyd braich. Rwy'n credu bod hynny yn elfen bwysig o'r strwythur.
Those kinds of things have been the kinds of things that we have been considering, whether it's a technical secondment, that's a separate question. But I do think at the core of your question is this idea that we are tied in with these decisions as they are made, and the iterations of those discussions, rather than a process that is an arm's-length process. I think that is an important element of the structure.
Diolch i chi am hynny. Hefyd, beth yw rôl swyddfa Llywodraeth Cymru ym Mrwsel gyda hyn i gyd? Achos rydym ni wedi trafod beth sy'n digwydd ym Mrwsel fel pwyllgor, ac rydym ni yn gweld yr angen i gryfhau y swyddfa sydd gyda'r Llywodraeth yno ar hyn o bryd. Ydych chi'n gweld bod gan y swyddfa ym Mrwsel rôl i'w chwarae yn y negotiations yma sy'n digwydd?
Thank you for that. Also, what is the role of the Welsh Government's office in Brussels? Because we've discussed what's happening in Brussels as a committee, and we see the need to strengthen the office that the Government has there currently. Do you see that the office in Brussels has a role to play in these negotiations that are happening?
Wel, mae gan y swyddfa ym Mrwsel rôl yn y dyfodol, wrth gwrs. Mae hynny'n anorfod; mae'n beth positif. Mae'n mynd i fod yn rôl wahanol, wrth gwrs, gan ein bod ni'n gadael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd, ond mae'n sicr bod dal rôl o ran cynnal ein cysylltiadau ni ac ati gyda'r Undeb Ewropeaidd ar ôl i ni adael. Ond o ran rôl mewn negodiadau, fel gwnes i sôn yn gynharach, does dim cwestiwn o drafodaethau paralel. Hynny yw, rhwng Cymru a—
The Brussels office, of course, has a role in the future. That's inevitable; and a positive thing. It will be a different role, of course, because we are leaving the European Union, but certainly there is still a role in maintaining our links with the European Union after we have left. But in terms of a role in negotiations, as I mentioned earlier, there is no question of parallel discussions. That is, between Wales and—
Dwi ddim yn awgrymu hynny. Ond mi fydd y rhan fwyaf o'r broses negodi, wrth gwrs, yn digwydd rhwng swyddogion, a dim gyda Gweinidogion.
I'm not suggesting that. But most of the negotiating process will happen between officials, and not with Ministers.
Dwi'n awyddus bod gan Lywodraeth Cymru swyddogion yn yr ystafell pan mae'r trafodaethau yma yn digwydd. Mae wedi digwydd o'r blaen, wrth gwrs. Pan roedd Huw yn Weinidog amaeth, roedd ei swyddogion e'n gweithio gyda'n swyddogion ni o ran adolygu CAP, er enghraifft.
Therefore, I'm keen that the Welsh Government has officials in the room when these negotiations are happening. It has happened before, of course. When Huw was an agriculture Minister, his officials were working with our officials in terms of reviewing CAP, for example.
Dyna'n union y math o beth rydym ni'n gobeithio y gallwn ni gytuno yn y trafodaethau yma.
Yes, that's exactly the kind of thing that we hope we can agree upon in these negotiations.
Ar gefn y cwestiynau hynny, i ddweud y gwir, achos yr angen i gael perthynas ddyfnach, efallai, nag sy'n digwydd ar hyn o bryd, allaf i ofyn sut mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn trefnu ei hun yn fewnol, felly, i fonitro a chyfrannu at drafodaethau? Hynny yw, i sicrhau cyfarfodydd gyda Chomisiynwyr yr Undeb Ewropeaidd ac ati, neu negodwyr yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Oes yna gyfarfodydd felly'n cael eu trefnu, eto ar raddfa swyddogion, fel mae Alun eisoes wedi crybwyll?
On the back of those questions, really, because of the need to have a deeper relationship, perhaps, than what's happening at the moment, can I ask you how is the Welsh Government organising itself internally to monitor and engage with negotiations? For example, securing meetings with EU Commissioners or EU negotiators. Are there meetings such as those happening, again on an official level, as Alun has already alluded to?
Wel, gyda'r cafeat yna gwnes i roi yn yr ateb i Alun Davies—hynny yw, bod dim trafodaethau paralel yn digwydd—mae'r Gweinidog cysylltiadau rhyngwladol newydd fod allan yn trafod gyda cabinet y Comisiynydd masnach, Phil Hogan, yn yr wythnos ddiwethaf, dwi'n credu, a bydd y Prif Weinidog yn mynd allan i Frwsel eto ymhen rhai wythnosau i gael trafodaethau gyda'n partneriaid ni fan yna.
O ran trefniadau mewnol a'r strwythurau ar gyfer ymwneud gyda'r negodiadau, y Prif Weinidog, wrth gwrs, fydd yn arwain y trafodaethau ar ran y Llywodraeth, ac mae is-bwyllgor y Cabinet wedi'i sefydlu ar gyfer y materion hyn. Felly, dyna'r arweiniad gweinidogol. Wedyn, o dan hynny, mae grwpiau o swyddogion ar draws y Llywodraeth. Mae'n amlwg bod rhai o'r adrannau'n cael mwy o impact, efallai, neu bod mwy o impact arnyn nhw o ran rhai o'r pethau fydd yn cael eu trafod yn y misoedd o'n blaenau ni. Felly, mae grwpiau o swyddogion fydd yn gweithio ar y safbwyntiau negodi a'r blaenoriaethau ac ati.
Beth fuaswn i'n ei ddweud yw: mae system weinidogol Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol a'r adrannau ar fin cael ei newid, fel rŷm ni i gyd yn gwybod, felly bydd angen edrych ar beth bynnag ddaw allan o hynny a sicrhau ein bod ni'n gallu ymwneud yn y ffordd orau bosibl o fewn y strwythur newydd honno. Rŷm ni ar ddeall bod David Frost yn arwain tîm o negodwyr, wedyn bydd efallai rôl—dwi ddim yn sicr o hyn—i Swyddfa'r Cabinet. Ond wedyn, dŷn ni gyd wedi clywed, dwi'n credu, beth roedd Stephen Barclay yn dweud, sef bod y bobl sydd wedi bod wrthi o fewn DExEU yn mynd i'r adrannau fydd yn cael impact. Felly, bydd rhaid edrych ar beth ddaw allan o'r trefniadau hynny.
A'r peth diwethaf buaswn i'n ei ddweud amboutu'r trefniadau mewnol, jest i gyfeirio yn ôl at y drafodaeth rŷm ni newydd ei chael: os ydy e'n dod yn glir bod dim lot o gyfle gyda ni fel Llywodraeth i ymwneud â'r negodiadau a sicrhau bod y blaenoriaethau rŷm ni'n eu gweld o ran Cymru yn cael eu bwydo i mewn ac yn cael eu cytuno fel rhan o'r broses honno, bydd yn rhaid i ni edrych ar adnoddau'n gyffredinol a gweithio mas os mai creu strwythur i ddelio gyda hynny yw'r ffordd orau o ddefnyddio'r adnoddau hynny, neu ffyrdd eraill ar gyfer paratoi ac ati. Felly, bydd y cwestiynau hynny'n gwestiynau sydd ynghlwm wrth y cwestiwn yma o drefniant mewnol.
Well, with that caveat that I gave in the answer to Alun Davies—that there are no parallel negotiations going on—the international relations Minister has just been out discussing with the cabinet of the trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan, in the last week, I think, and the First Minister will be going out to Brussels again in a few weeks to have discussions with our partners there.
In terms of the internal arrangements and structures for our engagement with the negotiations, of course, the First Minister will be leading the discussions on behalf of the Government, and the Cabinet sub-committee has been established for these issues. So, that's the ministerial lead. And then, beneath that, we have groups of officials across the Government. Clearly, there are some departments that have more impact, or there's more impact on them from some of the things that will be discussed over the next few months. So, there are groups of officials who will be working on the negotiating positions and the priorities and so forth.
What I would say is: the UK Government's ministerial system and the departments are about to be changed, as we all know, so we'll need to look at whatever comes out of that and ensure that we can engage in the best possible way within that new structure. We do understand that David Frost is leading a team of negotiators, and perhaps—I'm not certain of this—there will be a role for the Cabinet Office. But then we've all heard what Stephen Barclay has said in terms of the people who have been working within DExEU will be going out to the departments that will have the most impact. So, we'll see what comes out of that.
The last thing I would say about the internal arrangements, just to refer back to the discussion we've just had: if it does become clear that there isn't much opportunity for us as Government to be involved with these negotiations to ensure that our priorities on behalf of Wales are fed in and agreed upon as part of that process, we'll have to look at resources in general and work out if creating a structure to deal with that is the best way of using those resources, or other ways of preparing and so on. So, those questions will be tied in with this question of internal arrangements.
Diolch am hynny. Felly, i gadarnhau, o ochr Llywodraeth Cymru, y Prif Weinidog fydd yn arwain ar y gwaith trafodaethau, felly, ife?
Thank you for that. So, just to confirm, from the Welsh Government's point of view, it will be the First Minister leading on the negotiating work?
Y Prif Weinidog, ac wedyn mae is-bwyllgor y Cabinet ar gyfer Brexit a thrafodaethau Ewropeaidd.
The First Minister, and then we have a Cabinet sub-committee for Brexit and European negotiations.
Allwch chi egluro amcanion Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer ei dogfen 'Y Berthynas rhwng y DU a'r UE yn y Dyfodol: Blaenoriaethau Negodi i Gymru'? Allwch chi egluro eich amcanion yn y ddogfen yna? Pwy ydych chi'n anelu hi ato? Beth ydych chi'n gobeithio ei gwblhau, ac ati?
Can you explain the Welsh Government's objectives for its document 'The Future UK/EU Relationship: Negotiating Priorities for Wales'? Can you explain your objectives in that document? Who is the intended audience? What do you hope to achieve, et cetera?
Wel, mae'r gynulleidfa, i fi, yn gynulleidfa eang, gobeithio. Pwrpas y ddogfen yw ymateb i'r datganiad gwleidyddol—hynny yw, lefel uchel, ar un golwg—beth yw ein blaenoriaethau ni fel Llywodraeth ar gyfer llwybr y trafodaethau. Mae cydbwysedd i'w gyrraedd rhwng creu digon o safe space, fel petai, i drafodaethau rhyng-lywodraethol ar un llaw, ac wedyn tryloywder ar y llaw arall. Ar hyn o bryd, wrth gwrs, dŷn ni ddim yn rhan o'r trafodaethau hynny, felly mae hyn yn ymgais i fod yn dryloyw. Rŷm ni'n gobeithio y bydd y Comisiwn a Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol yn cymryd yr un agwedd ar y cyfan, fel approach tuag at hynny.
O ran sylwedd, mae'r ddogfen yn ymgais i ddisgrifio'n blaenoriaethau ni yn syml. Hynny yw: access i'r marchnadoedd Ewropeaidd; disgrifio'n gogwydd ni tuag bolisi mudo; tuag at berthynas gyda'r rhaglenni ariannu; a thuag at y level playing field. Ar ddiwedd y dydd, mae dewisiadau nawr gan Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol. Hynny yw, y mwyaf y byddan nhw'n tueddu tuag at gytundebau â thrydydd cenhedloedd, fel yr Unol Daleithiau, mae hynny yn golygu, ar y cyfan, llai o access at y marchnadoedd Ewropeaidd. Rŷm ni'n glir, fel Llywodraeth, mai'r marchnadoedd Ewropeaidd yw ein prif farchnadoedd ni ar gyfer busnesau yng Nghymru, felly'r rheini dylid eu blaenoriaethu a sicrhau bod—dwi ddim yn gwybod beth yw'r gair Cymraeg am frictionless—masnach frictionless, cymaint ag y gallwn ni, o fewn syniad o gytundeb masnach rydd.
Well, the audience, for me, is a wide-ranging audience, hopefully. The purpose of the document is to respond to the political declaration—at a high level—what are our priorities as a Government for the path for those discussions. There is a balance to be struck between having enough of a safe space for inter-governmental discussions on the one hand, and transparency on the other. And of course, we aren't part of those discussions, so this is an attempt to be transparent. We hope that the Commission and the UK Government will take the same attitude as an approach towards that.
In terms of substance, this document is an attempt to describe our priorities in a simple way. That is: access to the European markets; describing our attitude towards migration policy; our relationship with funding programmes; and the level playing field. And ultimately, there are choices to be made now by the UK Government. The more they tend towards agreements with third countries, such as the USA, that generally means less access to European markets. We are very clear, as a Government, that the European markets are the main markets for our businesses in Wales, so we have to prioritise those and ensure—I don't know what the Welsh word is—frictionless trade, as much as we can, within the idea of a free trade agreement.
Can I confirm, then, based upon that answer, that the EU and the UK Government have both received copies of the document? You've shared it with those organisations.
Yes, they've gone to the Prime Minister, also to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State for DExEU.
And in the EU?
I'm not entirely sure that it's been sent to the EU, but I will check, Chair, and let you know.
Okay. Sorry, Dai.
Na—diolch, Cadeirydd. Yn bellach i beth dŷch chi wedi'i amlinellu ynglŷn â'r safbwyntiau trafod manwl sydd yn y ddogfen yna, ydych chi'n barod i gyhoeddi rhagor o fanylion am unrhyw linellau coch sydd gennych chi fel Llywodraeth, neu'r llefydd hynny lle byddech chi'n barod i gyfaddawdu ac ati, ac ati, a phryd fyddai orau i wneud hynny, ynteu a ydy hynny yn gofyn un cam yn rhy bell i chi?
No—thank you, Chair. Further to what you've outlined in terms of the detailed negotiation positions in that document, are you ready to publish more detail of the red lines you have as a Government, or any trade-offs where you can compromise, et cetera, and when that would be best, or is that asking you to go one step too far?
Wel, ar hyn o bryd, yn anfoddus, rwy'n credu ei fod e'n gofyn un cam yn rhy bell. Am y rheswm hwn: hynny yw, mae'r ddogfen yn ymateb bras, ar un lefel, i'r datganiad gwleidyddol bras. Hynny yw, synnwyr o gyfeiriad sydd yn y datganiad gwleidyddol a synnwyr o gyfeiriad, felly, sydd yn y ddogfen hon. Y broses nesaf nawr yw'r haen is i hynny. Hynny yw, y cwestiwn o'r trade-offs rhwng y gwahanol ffactorau. Rwy'n gobeithio, wrth gwrs, fel rŷm ni newydd ddweud, y bydd gennym ni rôl bwysig yn hynny hefyd, ond mae'n gallu ni i ddisgrifio mewn mwy o fanylder beth yw'r dewisiadau hynny yn ddibynnol ar y rôl honno, a'r rhannu gwybodaeth a'r rhannu opsiynau gan Lywodraeth San Steffan.
Well, currently, unfortunately, I think it is going one step too far. For this reason: the document is a general response to the political declaration, which was quite wide ranging in itself. That is, it was an idea of direction that was in the political declaration, and so it is an idea of direction that is in this document. The next step is the level below that. That is, the question of the trade-offs between different factors. Hopefully, as we have just said, we'll have an important role in that as well, but our ability to describe in more detail what the options are is reliant on that role, and sharing information and sharing those options from the Government in Westminster.
Thank you. Sorry to butt in, Dai, but I wonder if I can ask something: whether you see anything changing in the tone and the nature of those discussions with the UK Government. Because previously, up until now, the devolved Governments have tended to play—particularly the Welsh Government, as Alun was saying—quite a constructive, behind the scenes, very close and intimate role with the UK Government and with the negotiators in order to get their view across behind the scenes. It's quite a contrast to what, for example, Scotland have traditionally done, which is bang the table at the same time as discussing with UK Ministers in order to get to a position.
Now that it's changed, do you see Welsh Government adopting a slightly different approach? Or is it still going to be that constructive, behind the scenes—which is of course what you'd want to do anyway. But are we going to see more times when the Welsh Government is going to have to bang the table as well as working behind the scenes with the UK Government to get their position right?
Well, we will always prioritise standing up for the interests of people in Wales, but we're not looking for an opportunity for conflict here. That is not the approach, as your question acknowledges, and thank you for that. What we feel we have set out is a pragmatic but principled and rational basis on which Governments in the UK—. And you know, we share with the UK Government support for the union. We want to see it reformed, but we are a Government that sees a value for Wales in the union, clearly. So, we feel that our proposals are sensible proposals for a well functioning or a better functioning set of relationships. So, we approach it with that in mind. We expect the UK Government to approach it in the same way.
Entirely, but there are going to be some interesting points in this future relationship where something akin to a red line might emerge. In the past, the approach of the Welsh Government has been to battle this through behind—. And normally, actually, the UK Government would go, 'Okay, if it's an absolute die-in-the-ditch—thank you for not blazing this across the airwaves—if that one is the die-in-the-ditch, we think we can do that, but there's a trade-off here in other areas.'
The Scottish Government have tended to have a different approach, sometimes, and it's the different playing of politics, and we all recognise this. But I'm just wondering, now that so much is going to be focused on the UK Government in getting their position right, you don't see that changing. Sorry, I'm tempting you here to—
All I'm saying is, if we feel that the reasonable proposals we've put forward are not being engaged with sensibly, we will say that. I mean, I'm not in the business of saying, 'It's all fine' when it's not all fine. I'm not interested in doing that. I've been reasonably upfront, I think, about the shortcomings of the JMC process, for example, and you can—. If it were to get to that—and I just want to be clear, absolutely, that is not the outcome that we seek, plainly—but I will be transparent and open about our reflections on whether it's working.
Okay, thank you.
Before I go back to Dai, back on this question of red lines, the First Minister has often told us that you can't always dictate what the red lines are and sometimes, they keep their negotiating position close to their chests, and particularly the UK Government often say that. But, we are already aware of the US position because Congress has published its position; we will be aware of the EU's position because they tend to publish; will we see a publication of the UK's position prior to negotiations and its main objectives so that we all understand where the targets are? Because we might be able to understand what the EU's targets are, but we might not understand what the UK's targets are or where the Welsh Government may have influence on those targets.
Yes. Well, I think, Chair, on the substantive point of our capacity to influence, clearly, setting out that set of trade-offs is important, but I would just make the point that we don't think it's acceptable for that to be shared with us in a publication to the world of a settled position. We want to be in a position where those trade-offs and options are being shared with us as mandates are being developed so that we can feed into it and that then becomes the document that is the product of those discussions and negotiations, and that becomes the published route map. It would not be acceptable to us to be a stakeholder, as it were, in a document published to the world saying, 'This is our approach'; we don't see that as an appropriate relationship between the Governments.
And do you see the mandate being published?
I think that's the intention.
I'm trying to work out what that means. One of my concerns—and I'm interested to know if this has been a point of conversation between yourselves and the United Kingdom Government—is that of democratic accountability. Now, I'm content with the situation we have in Wales with the Welsh Government and this place. I don't have any issues with the level of accountability that we have here, but I worry sometimes that we don't have any of the inter-institutional means of holding Governments to account in terms of the negotiations that are being undertaken.
I was disappointed, as I'm sure you were, to see the UK Government voting against the clause in the withdrawal Bill last week that would have ensured that there would have been some UK parliamentary accountability and a structured accountability for that. In terms of the conversations you've had so far with your UK counterparts, has there been any discussion of the levels of accountability or structures of accountability, the processes of democratic accountability?
Sorry, just so that I understand the question from you, Alun, is that about the relationship between the Governments or the Governments to the legislatures?
The Governments to the legislatures across the union—across the UK.
Well, what the UK Government, I think, said in the debate—. Obviously, we were disappointed, not only that the UK Government wouldn't accept the first initial amendment, which was more focused on the role of the devolved Governments in relation to devolved matters—. We are, throughout all of these discussions—and I think we may touch on other Brexit-related inter-governmental discussions later—very clear that we regard being able to be accountable to the Senedd, in our case, as an absolutely essential part of the democratic landscape of this process.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Jest i symud ymlaen i agwedd ychydig bach yn wahanol ond ynghlwm â'r holl beth. wrth gwrs, mae yna gryn dipyn o waith, fel rŷch chi'n gwybod fel un sydd yn ei ganol o, yn mynd ymlaen ynglŷn â'r holl broses o negodiadau yma a hefyd mewn perthynas â fframweithiau cyffredin a chytundebau masnach eraill ac ati. Dŷn ni wedi clywed Gweinidog y Gymraeg a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol yn dweud bod Llywodraeth Cymru yn cymryd camau i gynyddu capasiti, sydd i'w groesawu, yn naturiol; buaswn i ddim yn disgwyl i'r holl waith yma gymryd lle efo'n union yr un un capasiti, felly, allwch chi egluro'n fanylach, efallai, sut mae'r cynnydd yn y capasiti yma'n cael ei adlewyrchu o ddydd i ddydd nawr, fel mae'r gwaith yn mynd ymlaen?
Thank you, Chair. Just moving on to a slightly different aspect, but tied in with this, of course, there's been quite a lot of work, as you will know as somebody who's in the middle of all of this, going on with this whole negotiation process, and also in relation to the UK-EU common frameworks and other trade deals and so forth. We've heard the Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language recently saying that the Welsh Government is taking steps to increase capacity, which is to be welcomed, naturally, I wouldn't expect all this work to happen with exactly the same capacity, therefore, can you provide us with more clarity, maybe, on how this increase in capacity is being reflected on a day-to-day basis as the work is going on?
Wel, mae yna dri neu bedwar peth, efallai, sydd yn digwydd fan hyn. Mae gyda chi'r cwestiwn o baratoi ar gyfer trafodaethau rhyngwladol; mae gyda chi set o weithgareddau cyfansoddiadol domestig, hynny yw, gyda'r fframweithiau cyffredin ac ati; ac wedyn, mae gyda chi set o drafodaethau ynglŷn â sut mae'r Llywodraethau o fewn y Deyrnas Gyfunol yn delio gyda'i gilydd, felly mae tri, efallai, cylch gwaith, yn fras. Yr hyn sydd yn bwysig yw ein bod ni'n sicrhau bod y swyddogion sy'n delio gyda'r fframweithiau cyffredin, y trafodaethau gyda'r Undeb Ewropeaidd a'r trydydd cenhedloedd, a'r cwestiwn yma o'r broses rhyng-lywodraethol—bod rheini'n gweithio ar y cyd, oherwydd mae pwyntiau cysylltu rhwng yr holl waith yna. Mae e i gyd yn gyd-ddibynnol ar un lefel, felly y flaenoriaeth yw i sicrhau, fel rŷn ni wedi bod yn ei wneud, bod y swyddogion hynny'n cydweithio pan mae'r buddiannau hynny'n cyffwrdd â'i gilydd.
Well, there are three or four things that are, perhaps, happening here. You have the question of preparing for the international negotiations; you have a set of activities as to the domestic constitutional activity with the general frameworks and so forth; and then you have the set negotiations as to how the Governments within the UK work with one another, so you have those three remits, in general. The important thing is that we ensure that the officials who deal with the general frameworks, with the discussions with the EU and third countries and this question of the inter-governmental process—that they all work together, because you have those contact points between all those strands of work. They are co-dependent on one level, so the priority is to make sure that our officials work together when those interests relate to one another.
A'r cwestiwn olaf: ydy'r dull gweithredu dŷch chi wedi ei fabwysiadu rŵan fel Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer y trafodaethau yma rhwng y Deyrnas Unedig a'r Undeb Ewropeaidd—ydy'r math yna o ddull gweithredu dŷch chi fel Llywodraeth wedi ei fabwysiadu yn mynd i gael ei adlewyrchu yn y dyfodol wrth drafod cytundebau masnachol a chytundebau rhyngwladol eraill?
And the final question: is the approach that you've now adopted as Welsh Government to the UK-EU negotiations—is that sort of approach that you have adopted as a Government going to be mirrored in the future when you discuss trade agreements and other international agreements?
Wel, mae'r cwestiwn o gydlynu'r pethau yna yn greiddiol. Felly, fel y gwnes i gyfeirio ato'n fras gynnau, mae gyda chi set o ddewisiadau ynglŷn â pha berthynas rŷch chi'n mynd i flaenoriaethu, ac ati. Mae'r rheini'n mynd i ddarparu dewisiadau. Mae'n rhaid ein bod ni mewn sefyllfa, fel Llywodraeth, i allu cael, o fewn fframwaith, o fewn cwmpas ein impact ni, fel petai, trafodaethau onest yn fewnol ynglŷn â beth yw'r flaenoriaeth, beth yw impact y dewis hwn ar y mater hwnnw. Dŷn ni fel Llywodraeth yn barod i ymwneud, wrth gwrs, â'r trafodaethau hynny cyn gynted ag y gallwn ni. Mae dogfen bolisi'r Llywodraeth ar gysylltiadau rhyngwladol yn dangos yn glir bod ein blaenoriaeth ni'n parhau'n un o sicrhau'r berthynas mwyaf agos y gallwn ni o fewn cyd-destun y datganiad gwleidyddol gyda'r marchnadoedd Ewropeaidd a gyda'r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Ond, fel roeddwn i'n dweud, mae ein gallu ni i effeithio ar hynny yn dibynnu ar beth a ddaw ynglŷn â'n rôl swyddogol ni.
Well, the question of co-ordinating all those things is core. So, as I referred to earlier, you have a set of options regarding what kind of relationship you are going to prioritise, and so forth. They are going to offer choices. We in Government must, within our framework, within our impact, as it were, be able to have honest discussions internally as to what the priority is and what the impact of this choice is on such and such an issue. We as a Government are ready to be involved with those discussions as soon as we can. The Government's policy document on international relations shows that our priority remains one of ensuring as close a relationship as possible within the context of the political declaration with the European Union and on those European markets. But as I've said, our ability to have an impact on that is reliant on what our opposition is.
Thank you. Before I move on to common frameworks, just a point of clarity. Over the weekend, I understand that Stephen Barclay, the Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union, indicated that they hoped to publish their mandate as quickly as possible after 1 February, which is clearly after we leave. If it comes sooner rather than later, can you tell us how much officials' time has been involved in setting that mandate up, to this point? How much of your time has been involved in setting that mandate up? Or, if it comes within, say, a week, it's basically a UK Government mandate without any consultation whatsoever.
Chair, I did think I'd remembered him saying that, which is why I was a little diffident in saying earlier that I thought it was the intention to publish. But the point you make is correct. These judgments about the nature of the mandate, the trade-offs, and the more detailed direction of travel is exactly what I've been saying we need to have an input into, and there may be one or two isolated examples of engagement, but generally speaking, that hasn't been. We haven't had the level of engagement that we would expect.
So if something is published within the next week or so, after we leave, it's unlikely to have actually had much engagement with the Welsh Government's consideration.
I'll ask Simon to give us a sense from officials, but certainly, at ministerial level, yes, that would be the case.
So, at official level, we've shared with the UK Government the fiscal declaration analysis that we've published, which the Minister mentioned earlier, so they're aware of the Welsh Government position on those points within the political declaration where Welsh Government Ministers are in agreement, or see divergent approaches, or identify the key questions priorities for Wales that need to be taken forward. So, in a sense, they're aware of the Government's position in that level of detail. There have not been substantive discussions to co-construct a UK-wide position at this point. But they're aware of our position.
So they're aware of the position, but there have been no discussions as to how those positions may be incorporated or the detail behind those positions.
Not to date.
Would your understanding be that, if it was published on that timescale, the publication of it would be, if you like, a constructive opening gambit by the UK Government? Because that could be one interpretation, which is: they need to put something out there, they need to lay something out, and then you can go back and you can, within your Cabinet, but also, with your established stakeholder groups, go back and say, 'What does this look like to you?' as well. So it's the start of a process, as opposed to the end.
I don't think that the best way of engaging the Governments of the devolved nations in this exercise is by mutual publishing of documents. There is a much more integrated level of working that needs to be undertaken.
Okay, thank you. I want to move on to common frameworks. Huw.
First of all, you wrote to us back at the end of last year and laid out that you thought there'd probably be about 40 legislative and non-legislative elements of common frameworks that we're aware of, roughly half split, around about 20 of each or thereabouts, but also that those frameworks would need to be in place—you were anticipating that they'd be in place by the end of this year, December 2020. How have things progressed since the general election and the hiatus with that? Do you think things are moving along well, and that, by December this year, we're going to have those frameworks in place?
Well, that's still the objective, Chair, and we understand that it's possible. What hasn't, however, happened is the level of continued working over the general election period in particular. As it happens, there is a frameworks project board meeting later this week, which will be tasked with looking at what modifications can be made to the approach towards frameworks to ensure that the end-of-December deadline is met, and also, critically, as I mentioned in my correspondence, that there is sufficient time for committees and the legislatures to be able to engage fully with those frameworks as they're developed.
I sense from your answers, from the tone of your answers to this and the previous section that there's a real desire from Welsh Government to engage now that the election is out of the way; to get on with these things and to constructively engage. I'm just wondering, the other thing that's changed is, of course, over the last few weeks, the restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive. Do you think that this will have any impact?
Firstly, I think we welcome the restoration of the Executive, obviously, and civil servants in Northern Ireland have been providing heroic input into the JMC deliberations in difficult circumstances. The First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland are here tomorrow in Cardiff. So, the question of how we take these questions forward, frameworks and so on, will be part of the things we'll be discussing.
And what would your hopes be for the work that you, perhaps, can do together on the shared objectives, both with the Northern Ireland Executive now that it's back in place but also with Scotland in taking this forward? This shouldn't be an adversarial process. Ideally, this would be collaborative, including with the UK Government, but what are your hopes in that meeting with Northern Ireland Ministers now?
Well, the question of the internal market, if you like, is in some sense conceptually a subset of this, isn't it, really, or related to it? Given what's set out in the political declaration about Northern Ireland being aligned to EU rules but also that the UK Government has been clear that it wishes to have Northern Ireland as part of the internal market, there is, within that conceptual framework, if you like, a path whereby a component part of the UK is part of that internal market discussion but also is aligning to EU standards. That, in a sense, is a positive, given that we are a nation here that wants to continue to align to EU standards.
But the other perhaps obvious tension based on the discussions we've had in this committee before is if we do see a Government for England, as it were, acting on behalf of England in those matters that are devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, seeking to deregulate—and I was dismayed to see the leaked memo in the Financial Times in the course of the last few days that suggests that that may be one of the objectives—then if you have one part of the UK deregulating and other parts seeking to align or build upon EU standards, that will require the frameworks to operate in a particular way, won't it? So, as I mentioned, I think, in my last appearance at the committee, JMC didn't task officials to look at how the frameworks could respond to that level of divergence, if you like, and I'm hoping that the next JMC(EN) in February will be able to consider that.
Have you got any worries at all, Minister, that, because the process, albeit with the hiatus of the general election and developing common frameworks, has been moving along, and we haven't actually got to the point where we've set out the principles underpinning it—there's a bit of cart and horse going on here? Does that worry you at all, or can we bolt on the principles of the governance after we've developed a few common frameworks?
Well, I mean, if any of us, I think, probably, would be starting from a blank sheet of paper and looking at designing the ideal process, we would obviously start, I think, with questions of underlying principles and governance, wouldn't you, so that you understand the universe of the issues and how you're going to resolve tensions that, obviously, inevitably arise in those discussions with the best will in the world? But I think the practical reality has been that, because progress on the inter-governmental review hasn't been as developed as, certainly, we would have liked to have seen—the practical reality has been that these things have been developing in parallel. I mentioned the internal market, but there are a range of other issues. All of those are going to need to be bottomed out before we're able to finalise the common frameworks programme, essentially.
How soon do you think it would be realistic for this committee to get a flavour of whether both the timescale of developing the common frameworks but also the principles and governance—that we could get a flavour of whether, post-general election, actually, all partners necessary at the table now are progressing with these streams in parallel? Would it—? The next time you appear in front of us—. You're in front of us regularly. Is it in a month, is it in two months, is it by the summer?
So, there are two points to make on that: I absolutely share your evident desire and the committee's desire to get something substantive on what these frameworks look like and the scrutiny mechanism and review. I completely share that. That is what the frameworks project board is tasked at looking at when it meets later on this week: how quickly we can get recommendations up to Ministers about the scrutiny process so then that becomes a process of sharing those frameworks. I certainly share your desire to get those in the public domain as soon as possible.
Well, I know it wouldn't be top of their agenda, but you can certainly take to those discussions the fact that the committee's here asking, 'Can we see this stuff? We're keen to see it.'
And may I just say on that, Chair—? In response to the recent report about common frameworks scrutiny, there are a number of points that the committee has raised that are—you know, at the point of discussion between Governments those ideas are being developed, but I have committed to make sure the committee's views are reflected in those discussions so that participants are aware of the priorities you've outlined.
We've noticed your commitments in the response.
Yes, indeed. I've got one final particular question. I think you mentioned earlier on about—and, in fact, it was picked up back in October when you came in front of us—this tension between seemingly—well, quite self-evidently contradictory—statements by UK Government Ministers that seem to knock against common standards and deregulation, which has flown up once again. I think, from the committee's perspective, it's quite interesting to understand whether these statements come out of the blue, whether there's some discussion beforehand where the Minister actually says, 'Listen, we're going to say something here around this, so just be aware'—and, if you haven't been told in advance, what discussions have you had subsequently? Because these do go to the core, the bedrock, of that inter-governmental agreement and so on. So, we're interested in your take on this.
Okay. Well, if I may say, that's a very—you know, it's a very fair point. I'll just reflect from a ministerial point of view; perhaps, Simon, you could just talk about whether the discussion on frameworks has provided that sort of space for those things to be shared. But the Chancellor made a remark last week, didn't he, about diverging. As far as I'm aware, that wasn't a matter that had been discussed in advance. As I mentioned earlier, that memo that was in the Financial Times—. There are a number of indications, and yet, in other conversations, you'll have conversations with UK Ministers who say, 'Oh, no, we're looking to preserve; we're not looking to deregulate'. So, what we haven't got is a very clear sense of direction of travel. Simon, on the question of how that works between officials—.
Yes. So, official-level discussions on the frameworks are considering a whole range of possibilities there, and, actually, the challenge within that process is that negotiations have yet to start, and the actual specific details of what Ministers are actually considering, rather than the rhetoric you might be hearing, will shape where that goes, and, actually, there is a tension between having an independence, an ability to set one's own rules, and then actually with what you really choose to do on specific issues. So, we seem to see greater alignment being discussed on specific points and the ability to diverge being discussed in broad terms at the higher level. So, how it plays out has yet to be seen. But the frameworks are designed to be controlled divergence and have the governance and processes around to actually make sense of that. The extent to which there is divergence between the four countries in the UK would make it more and more challenging the bigger it is.
And I assume then—. That's quite helpful, that response, but I assume then this is not a question of—because we don't have the detail yet—you would pick up the phone to the Minister and say, 'Could you just explain to me what you've just said, because it seems to run against, or run ahead of, at least—?' You'll do it when you meet next in the processes we've described, and you'll say, 'Right, can we get some agreements and clarity on this about what we're saying?', because, clearly, the nature of our discussions previously when we've had Governments sitting together and then agreeing a line is you agree a line and you stick by that line, and part of the honest statesmanship within this is that all partners play by that. It feels to me at the moment there's a bit of shadowboxing going on, and, in the absence of detail, until we get that, it's hard to tell what's real.
Well, I think it tends to the point that goes to the heart of this, really: the sooner we get the detailed engagement of some of these judgments, the more substantive that set of discussions can be.
I'm worried about a lot of these conversations, I have to say. Common frameworks can, at one level, be simply a rather technical and process-driven conversation about standards and various other matters that may be of interest to people with particular interests in these matters, or, if they are about the integrity and operation of a UK single market, of fundamental, critical importance to the state and the kingdom. And, again, in the same way as my earlier question was about the democracy and the accountability of a process of negotiation, we seem to be in a position whereby a UK state is emerging in a shadow form, but without any UK democracy that is able to take a look across it all, because we, as this Parliament, can speak to you as our Minister here, the Scottish can do the same, and, in London, they speak to UK Ministers, who we know sometimes have a rather—how shall I say—innocent view of some of these matters? And there appears to me to be no place where the whole of the common frameworks are actually held to account, and that I find to be a real matter of some concern, if what you're going to be doing is creating what in many ways would be a Council of Ministers.
Well, on the common frameworks themselves, it seems to me—. It's obviously a question for the Senedd and for this and other committees here and elsewhere to engage on what kind of scrutiny is appropriate, as it were, but it seems to me that a co-ordinated approach across the legislatures might carry some advantages so that Governments are able to share frameworks at the same time with the committees that will scrutinise them at the same time with a shared understanding of how that will operate. Ultimately, it's a question for you, as it were, but it seems to me that has, I would suggest, pretty obvious benefits, really. But I think that is—. I just want to underline the point you're making, really. I completely agree that we need to get a situation where the common frameworks—which is a very specific set of agreements, I think, very delineated—are subject to engagement and scrutiny by the legislatures.
But how would you characterise how you see the common frameworks developing? Do you see them as being the technical processes, where boxes have to be ticked or marked in different ways, or do you see them as being a more political framework, where fundamental questions about the integrity and management of the UK market are actually taken?
I think they vary is the honest answer to that. Some are more technical than others. When you come to things like the internal market, obviously, that's much more freighted with a view of the political economy of the UK—different interests between different parts of the UK perhaps become more vivid in some of those discussions. So, I think there's a range, is the honest answer to your question. I do think that the experience to date of the work that has been going on for common frameworks is that it has demonstrated good practice in Governments working together, and I've always regarded that as a positive in terms of the output, but also in terms of a way of working. But we need to test whether or not the kinds of things we've been talking about are capable of managing divergence. Obviously, there is existing policy divergence, isn't there, across the UK. So, it's not a question of uniformity by any means—it's a question of managing that divergence in a way that reflects the interests of all parts of the UK.
But, to your point about the infrastructure of how the Governments interact, that takes us back, I think, into the territory of the inter-governmental review, which also hasn't made the progress that we need to have it make. That is a broader set of mechanisms that, obviously, will deal with common frameworks but also other Brexit aspects, and, indeed, beyond Brexit, as it were, in terms of inter-governmental relations generally. That's where the infrastructure, I think, of the sorts of things that I think you're suggesting would be, in my mind, located.
Sorry, is this a matter we could return to as a committee?
I just would like your view—the Welsh Government's view—of the whole alignment/de-alignment issue, because there was an interesting article in today's Financial Times saying that regulatory observance is basically driven by exporters making decisions about the markets they sell into. An awful lot of this, ultimately—no matter what we set as our regulatory standard, if it's below the EU, what's likely to happen is exporters will observe the EU one, as many American companies do at the moment. In fact, their practice is just to observe the EU one as it's the highest, and they don't even bother to have separate industrial processes that then just meet the North American free trade agreement standard or whatever. So, in a lot of this, not much is going to change, is it? You know, we don't live in a command economy. It would be up to manufacturers, exporters and business providers to make their decisions and—.
Well, it depends on the—. That is, obviously, the case, within the context of what regulations apply in that particular territory, including the UK. So, one of our priorities as a Government is to maintain the level playing field, (a) because it provides access to European markets, which are the mainstay of the Welsh exporters' markets at the moment—we regard that as being a sensible set of policies—but also because we think the social, environmental and labour market protections that we've derived from the EU over decades are themselves the sorts of regulations we would wish to see UK and Welsh businesses operating to, because they have an independent value. So, I think it's a mixed question.
But if you're a Welsh business—and the Welsh economy is significantly integrated with the UK economy at large, the English economy in particular, in terms of supply chains and so on—do you align your standards to, as it were, an English economy that may be deregulating, or an EU economy where the larger market exists? Those judgments are challenging judgments. So, I think the Governments of the UK need to make decisions about what sort of standards they think are standards that best achieve those commercial objectives for their exporters.
Perhaps it's not the place to determine these matters, but I think the analysis in the Financial Times this morning was quite interesting—that the actual room for manoeuvre on these things is much less than people realise and that the world standard is pretty much set by the EU, and the Americans can deviate from that, and they do, but not all of their companies observe those regulations, and they just go for the EU standard. I suspect, when all of the huff and bluster dies away, that's pretty much where—. The big players in our economy export, generally, don't they, and they will choose the standard that is best for their overall profit margin, and that's likely to be the highest standard, it seems to me. So, I just wonder where we really do feel the risks are for the Welsh economy.
And that is the case; we would wish to see that happen. We think those things are sensible, to the extent that—. Companies, as you say, will make their own judgments, beyond the legal minimum, as it were. If we end up with companies, exporters, aligning to those standards, that will be a good thing. But there's also the domestic consumer in many of these things, and so there are judgments that a Government needs to make around consumer protection and so on, which are, obviously, partly about regulatory alignment, but also about the basic standards you expect a UK consumer to be able to rely on, where those aren't export-solely, so to speak.
Minister, we're getting close to the end of the hour's session, and we've still got quite a few areas to go through. Do you have a little bit of extra time so that I can get some questions through?
Yes, another 10 minutes, Chair—would that be okay?
That would be fine, thank you. David, do you want to move on to legislation?
Yes, I'll just rattle through some of these, then. Obviously, we had a bust-up last week—you know my views on consent to the withdrawal Bill. Have you had meaningful discussions since the decision to withhold consent with the UK Government to at least get to a modus vivendi, or whatever you're going to do?
Well, I daresay we'll have discussions this week. But in terms of correspondence, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster wrote to me indicating broadly the principles that Stephen Barclay had indicated in his letter before the vote. You will have seen the statement made in the House of Lords, on the floor of the Chamber, and the written statement around the UK Government's desire to see the Sewel convention, as it were, maintained, and saying that these were not normal circumstances. So, obviously, we welcome that insofar as it goes.
You did mention it, in fairness to you, in the Chamber last week—you think that's an active principle still, then.
The convention—yes, there are two questions there, aren't there? One is: is the convention working on its own terms? The second is: is the convention the right convention? I think if you were to say, 'Is it working on its own terms?', well, you know, when the Scottish Parliament withheld consent for the EU withdrawal Bill that was completely ignored, effectively. We pressed the case at this point to say that that must not happen if the UK Government decides to proceed without consent. So, obviously, these are small steps—absolutely small steps—but the fact that a statement was made and a reference made in the debate in the House of Lords—I think those are positive things.
But I don't think we should be under any illusion that the Sewel convention is, on its own terms, fit for purpose. It needs, we would say, reform in two key ways. One is that it should not be up to the UK Government simply to decide what is normal and what is not normal—that should be enumerated and set out. We would say it should be set out in a way that enables it to be justiciable. Unless you've got those two principles, then there's an imbalance, if you like, in the constitution.
Would it be fair to say that you don't expect further difficulties with legislative consent motions, because, basically, if you look at the agriculture Bill, I think it's already been published, but if you look at the others—fisheries, environment or whatever—you're getting sections in those Bills to give you time to develop Welsh policy, which will then, probably, come forward in the next Assembly. So, ultimately, that's the deal, isn't it? You don't have to sign up at all to things that you don't agree with, basically, in those Bills—you could just do your own thing.
Well, we aren't taking a view that the fact of proceeding without the consent of the Assembly on this very important Bill, obviously—there's no read-across to other Bills from that, and the UK Government's position is the same. We, obviously, recommended consent to the direct payments Bill the following day.
In relation to the other Bills you're talking about, we expect to table an LCM on the agriculture, the fisheries and the environment Bills, I think, as well. There have been discussions on the agriculture Bill, and I think it's the kind of thing we've discussed when I've been in front of this committee before, about looking at whether the UK Bill does, as it were, too much. There have been discussions, as I think the Minister said in her statement, which, effectively, have taken some provisions out of the UK-wide legislation. They will be coming forward as part of Senedd legislation in due course, so there has been a sensitivity to some of those questions.
Given that you're going to use UK Bills temporarily, but it's a significant time, when these policies are being applied post Brexit over very important public policy areas like the environment, agriculture and fisheries, what sort of powers will you be looking at in terms of statutory instruments? Will you be trying to get as much room for manoeuvre within those UK Bills about what you can do? Previously, you've, I think with the withdrawal Act 2018, ended up allowing the UK Government to do nearly all of the secondary legislation, if I remember correctly. Will you be taking a different approach on the UK Bills you'll be piggybacking on before Welsh Bills are brought forward?
Well, we did do a significant amount of legislating here on a secondary basis as well as part of that programme, if you like. But, yes, clearly, we did ask the UK Government and Parliament to legislate in those areas on our behalf with our consent. Clearly, our preferred position is for as much work to be undertaken here by Welsh Ministers as possible. What that amounts to, in terms of looking ahead at the year ahead, I think at this point remains to be seen, because some of those decisions haven't yet been taken at a UK level. But I think, you know, there are provisions in the withdrawal agreement Act that give Ministers powers. Some of those we don't envisage using—some we haven't yet been able to assess properly, if I'm honest, because decisions haven't yet been taken by UK Government Ministers in some cases.
There's also—in the year ahead, there will be new legislation that's made. There will be legislation to implement the future economic partnership and any trade deals that are entered into to deal with the lift and shift, as it's called, of moving the effective date of exit from now until the end of December, with the transition period. So, there's a lot of work coming down the track, potentially, in terms of statutory instruments in relation to those sorts of areas as well.
So, I think it would be fair for me to infer that, notwithstanding the bust-up last week, the approach to take the UK Bills temporarily and to have a Welsh section in them until you're ready for Welsh-specific Bills to be brought into the Assembly—you still think that approach is feasible, notwithstanding last week's difficulties.
I don't think last week's difficulties are going to tell us anything. You know, indications are that the UK Government have been clear with us that they don't regard the withholding of consent and proceeding without that as having any read-across into other legislation—we don't regard it as having that here, as a Government.
But Bills have been put forward to the UK Parliament that were different to those we had anticipated before the election, so we are very watchful about that. We will simply need to make judgments as and when, or if, that picture changes, essentially. We'll just need to be clear in keeping an eye on what's coming forward and responding as we think best for Wales.
Finally, we've discussed, I think, previously the scrutiny of EU legislation in the transition period. That's not altogether satisfactory—the arrangements and the formal link for the devolved legislatures—although the UK Ministers have emphasised there's nothing stopping parliamentary committees having contact with the devolved institutions for their views. Do you anticipate any significant EU legislation in the transition period that may have a material effect on policy development here? Are there any things we should be particularly watchful of?
Well, I'm happy to follow that up specifically. Certainly, from a scrutiny point of view, I don't see any reason why Senedd committees shouldn't continue to scrutinise as they have—certainly, there are arrangements for that to happen in Parliament. We've got an eye to thinking about how we would be able to transpose any developments in EU law over the transition period into Welsh law, and there are a number of options for us to do that. We have powers under the European conventions Act—section 2 of that—which have been preserved for that purpose during the transition period, so that allows us one option.
A lot of that legislation, or some of it, at least, will be tertiary legislation that hasn't gone through the full European legislative process—much of that we have the powers for anyway. In some of the policy areas, we will have an existing suite of policy. The Scottish Government has been looking at a keeping-pace Bill—a continuity Bill. Our assessment is that, at this point, we don't think that'll be necessary, but, as I say, that's the sort of thing we'll be keeping under active review. If legislation were to be initiated in the Parliament that we'd want to keep pace with following exit, as it were, then, as I say, there's a range of options for us to seek to do that. Probably, if we don't have the powers now, there'll be sufficient time to put those powers in place.
Can I return to the points that David was making around the use of UK legislation?
You said in answer to a question that you were being very watchful, because you were sometimes surprised by the content of some legislation, and that's to be expected—'twas ever thus, of course. Does that reflect, therefore, a policy failure? If you take agriculture, for example, the vote to leave the European Union, despite everything that's gone on, was in 2016, and it's unlikely now that we'll have a Welsh agriculture Bill before 2022, at the very earliest, with implementation in 2023. So, you know, it's six or seven years following that. And the Welsh Government's policy objectives have been knocked from side to side by decisions taken by UK Ministers for whatever reason. And that dependence on UK vehicles has meant that here in Wales, we've been unable to progress a legislative framework as they're doing across the border in England. Do you not feel somewhat disappointed by that? And would you not accept that a proper and better approach would be to ensure that this legislation is brought forward here in a timely way to enable us to have a debate in Wales, and the accountability here in Wales, to ensure that we are able to deliver policy in a more coherent and timely way?
Well, I think the point is they haven't been able to develop that policy framework in England. That's, I think, at the heart of your point, but—
Well, they're doing it. They're doing it at the moment.
They're doing it at the moment.
Well, they're introducing Bills now to do that. We are not in a position where policy decisions that are not ones we do not agree with are being taken in devolved areas by the UK Government with our consent. That is not the world in which we are operating. Where we have asked UK Ministers, for example, to take actions on our behalf, it has been in areas where we've regarded policy as being aligned, essentially.
Mindful of discussions we've had previously here and elsewhere on the Agriculture Bill, there was a decision about what would be appropriate for that Bill to deal with in the short term, and then what would be appropriate over a longer term horizon to be the subject of a Bill here in the Senedd. As a consequence of those judgments, that Bill was amended, as it were, before introduction, so that the future-focused policy decisions are ones that will be taken and scrutinised here. The ones that have ended up in the direct payments Bill and the Agriculture Bill are ones that are needed for the very short time frame, and ones where, I think I'm right in saying—obviously, this is not my policy area substantively—are ones where there's no policy controversy in that sense. The future design is one that the Senedd will have a full opportunity to scrutinise.
Now, other Bills—the Fisheries Bill is the oft quoted example—where it changes the settlement. So, we needed to have passed with the UK Parliament. So, I think there are different approaches for different legislation. And, of course, when we saw the withdrawal agreement Bill, which was changed from the previous version, we took a particular approach.
Yes, and as you know I agreed with the approach the Government took on that. I'm just concerned that there doesn't seem to be a great emphasis on timeliness. The First Minister, when he was giving evidence two weeks ago or whenever it was, conceded that despite all the policy work that had been done in this Senedd over the period of our election, the only legislative opportunity now would be in the next Senedd elected next year. So, if, for example, a Labour Government was not re-elected, then I'm quite sure David and his colleagues would want to start that process again rather than taking our policy work and delivering it straight into legislation. So, we're looking at an extended period—not a short-term period, Minister, but an extended period—where the Welsh Government has failed to deliver a legislative vehicle capable of delivering the policy it's been developing.
Well, I wouldn't accept there's a long-term failure here. There was a pragmatic and sensible approach, which, as soon as circumstances have changed, has led to an immediate change of approach here in the Senedd, as a bias towards providing the Senedd with the opportunity of looking at the forward policy on its own terms. I also saw the First Minister's response to your point about what course of action we were recommending as a consequence of the risk that you've identified. I make the point lightly, but—.
Yes, and I understand the point you make, but it doesn't feel to be a very satisfactory response, but I'll leave it at that.
I think what I'll do is I'll now call the session to an end because we've had the extra 10 minutes. Thank you, Minister. There are still some areas of questioning, but we had a debate last week on our report on freedom of movement and the changes. There are still some areas, I think, of the EU settlement scheme that we need to address, in particular people and individuals who still need to be supported and perhaps where some of those will be—and the question that my colleague Huw Irranca-Davies raised on the question of small businesses on tier 2 visas as well is a very important area we still need to explore.
Well, if I can help in correspondence, Chair, I'd be glad to.
We might well do that. Can I thank you for your time this afternoon? As you know, you will receive a copy of the transcript. If there are any factual inaccuracies, could you please let the clerking team know as soon as possible? Thank you very much.
Diolch yn fawr.
If we move on, then, to the next item of business, which is papers to note, the first paper to note is correspondence from the Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee regarding the EU withdrawal Bill. Are Members content to note that paper?
Thank you. The second is correspondence from the Counsel General and Brexit Minister regarding the Welsh Government's publication of 'The future UK/EU relationship: negotiating priorities for Wales'. Are Members content to note that?
The third is correspondence from the Chair of the House of Lords European Union Committee regarding the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. Are Members content to note that, although I wish to highlight and note for Members, if you haven't spotted it, their intention to try and work with committees across the devolved legislatures in their scrutiny of EU law, which is important? We are still awaiting a response from the UK Government and the Secretary of State on that matter. Are Members content to note the response we've received?
And the fourth one is correspondence from the Minister for international relations, informing us that there was a ministerial forum for trade on 23 January. Are Members content to note that?
We'll have a chance to question the Minister when she appears before this committee as to what was discussed in that meeting.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
In that case, we now move on to item 4, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content?
Therefore, we now move into private session for the remainder of today's meeting.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:42.
The public part of the meeting ended at 14:42.