Good afternoon to each and every one of you,
I am happy to see you after this long working morning with Dominic Raab and his team.
This week we took stock of the discussions that our teams had, as we will do regularly.
What did we do this week?
First, we worked together on the framework of our future relationship, discussing in particular the important subject of the security of our citizens and the stability of our continent.
On internal security, we are ready to build an ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom, which will become a third country, as was its wish, outside of Schengen.
In keeping with the European Council guidelines, this partnership would consist of four pillars:
– the effective exchange of information;
– the support for law enforcement cooperation;
– judicial cooperation in criminal matters; and
– an ambitious partnership to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
The UK’s White Paper contains, I would like to repeat, positive guarantees on the protection of fundamental rights and the recognition of the European Court of Justice as the ultimate arbiter of EU law.
But we need to now discuss how to translate these guarantees concretely.
Subject to full reciprocity and guarantees on procedural rights for suspects, we now have the elements to build a close and effective relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom on several subjects which are very important for citizens:
– a framework for extradition mechanisms;
– reciprocal cooperation on airplane passenger data to better trace and identify the individuals involved in terrorist acts;
– the exchange of DNA data, fingerprints and vehicle data.
Together with Dominic, we also touched on foreign policy, external security and defence. There is a large convergence of views on the ambition of our future cooperation and on the necessary tools to put in place this cooperation.
Finally, in the security context, we also spoke about Galileo.
I would like to simply repeat that some months ago the European Union has already offered the United Kingdom close cooperation in this area.
I recall that Galileo’s civil and commercial signal will obviously still be accessible to the United Kingdom and its businesses.
Our offer also includes access to the PRS (Public Regulated Service) signal, on the basis of an agreement negotiated by the United Kingdom, as is the case today with other allies. I think here of the United States or Norway.
It is now for the United Kingdom to decide if it wants this close cooperation, which we hope.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On all of these future cooperation subjects – trade, cooperation in specific areas, internal security, foreign policy, external security and defence – our objective is to build an unprecedented partnership with the United Kingdom, as I have said many times, for a good couple of months now, and as I recalled the day before yesterday in Berlin.
Secondly, we worked this week on certain outstanding issues of the Withdrawal Agreement itself, which is a precondition for any future cooperation.
On geographical indications – 3000 geographical indications in the 28 countries of the Union – I expressed again my worry.
The EU’s position is clear: Brexit should not lead to a loss of existing intellectual property rights.
We must protect the entire stock of geographical indications.
This protection is an international obligation, and seeing as it is one of the separation subjects, it must be clarified in the Withdrawal Agreement. We will come back to this subject, whose solution must be in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Another separation subject: the protection of personal data which will have been transmitted to the United Kingdom before the end of the transition, for example by banks, insurance companies, or police forces. We are making real and good progress on this subject – a subject which is also important for citizens and the economy.
All the other separation subjects – Euratom, Union procedures, governance – will be part of new discussions over the coming weeks.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, a reminder on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
We must have a detailed and legally operational backstop solution in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to this, as have all EU Member States and institutions – I think here of the Parliament.
It is urgent to work on the text of an operational backstop. For that, I asked Dominic and his team to provide us with the data necessary for the technical work which we need to do now on the nature, location and modality of the controls that will be necessary.
This backstop is critical to conclude the negotiations, because as I’ve already said, without a backstop, there is no agreement.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our work continues and it is going to continue intensively. I will see you next week.
Dominic, the floor is yours.