The Council, in EU27 format, will be updated by the Commission’s Brexit chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, about the ongoing Brexit talks with the UK. Ministers will focus their discussion on the state of play concerning:
- the completion of work on the withdrawal issues
- the framework for future relations with the UK
All the withdrawal issues – including the issue of avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland – need to be agreed in good time for the deal to be ratified before the withdrawal date of 29 March 2019.
An agreement on a future relationship can only be negotiated and concluded once the UK has become a third country. However, an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship will be set out in a political declaration accompanying and referred to in the withdrawal agreement.