BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS

15/02/2018 | EIFR

The conclusion of the first phase negotiations on the Withdrawal terms focussed on the financial settlement, citizens’ rights and the Irish border issue. Achieving ‘sufficient progress’ in these areas cleared the path for the next phase of the negotiations which will focus on agreeing a transitional agreement.

The Transitional Agreement has been introduced into the negotiations at the request of the United Kingdom: a bridging mechanism as the UK ‘transitions’ from EU Member State to the new future relationship. That future relationship is yet to be defined.

The timeline which we have prepared lays out the steps required to negotiate the remaining texts of the Withdrawal Package before the UK leaves the EU. If ratified, this package will provide for the UK’s exit from the EU, avoiding the cliff edge scenario of a no-deal exit.

The Withdrawal Package is comprised of three elements: The Withdrawal Agreement, the Transition Agreement and the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship.

The current phase relates to the negotiation of the Transition Agreement. The negotiations have begun and are expected to run into March 2018. The EU negotiators have put forward a framework which is intended to preserve the status quo as much as possible during transition:

• The transition period should last up to 31 December 2020.
• The UK will be classed as a third country from the beginning of the transition period (29 March 2019).
• The UK will continue to apply the full body of EU law (‘acquis’) but will lose its voting rights.
• Existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will apply, including the competence of the EU’s Court of Justice.
• The UK will no longer have a seat at the Council table, MEPs or members of other EU bodies, offices and agencies.
• The UK may not enter into any binding international agreements in its own capacity in the fields of competence of EU law, unless authorised to do so by the EU.

Once this phase of the negotiations is complete, a third set of political guidelines are expected to be released which will set out the process for negotiating the final element: The Political Declaration for the Future Relationship between the EU and the UK. It is important to note that unlike the Withdrawal Agreement and the Transition Agreement, this will be a political declaration and will not carry any legal obligations. It is intended to capture the main elements of the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU 27 in advance of those negotiations commencing once the UK has left the EU in March 2019.

The EU has stressed that these negotiations must conclude by October 2018 in order to leave time for the full Withdrawal Package to be ratified by the European Parliament, the EU Member States and the UK Parliament before the UK’s scheduled exit date: 29 March 2019.

The EU 27 postion remains that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

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Source : Hume Brophy