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18/07/2018

Brexit:  Policy and engagement documents

  1. The Airport Charges (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

    • Department for Transport
    • Statutory instrument
  2. The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union

    • Department for Exiting the European Union
    • Policy paper
  3. The Trade Barriers (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

    • Department for International Trade
    • Statutory instrument
  4. The European Union (Definition of Treaties Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

    • Department for Exiting the European Union
    • Statutory instrument
  5. The Friendly Societies (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

    • HM Treasury
    • Statutory instrument

16/07/2018

Brexit:  UK MUST ABANDON ITS INDEPENDENT TRADE POLICY IN FOOD TO GET A BREXIT DEAL THAT WORKS

IFA President Joe Healy has warned that the British government’s proposals for a UK-EU free trade area while maintaining its own independent trade policy are “seriously flawed and totally unacceptable to Irish farmers”.

Joe Healy said the White Paper confirmed IFA’s grave concerns that the British government could introduce a cheap food policy within the proposed free trade area. This would not only destroy its domestic UK market, but also drag down the EU market with it.

“Those who see the White Paper as representing a solution for frictionless trade, north-south and east-west, are seriously mistaken. I recognise that the UK’s commitments to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules represent a major step forward towards avoiding regulatory checks. However, this doesn’t go far enough. The UK must also abandon its ambition to pursue an independent trade policy in agri-food. Otherwise the proposed UK-EU free trade area would result in the destruction of the CAP and the European model of family farming.”

Joe Healy called on the Irish Government and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to confront the UK on its proposals.  “The EU negotiators led by Michel Barnier must be up-front and rule out the UK having an independent trade policy in the area of agri-food at this week’s EU-UK Brexit negotiations.”

The IFA President stressed: “The UK White Paper is explicit that outside the CAP, the UK would have ‘an ability to change tariffs and quotas in the future’ on agri-food products.   This would enable the UK to negotiate its own trade deals with South America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at prices that would undercut European beef, dairy, pigmeat, lamb and poultry producers. That would destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Irish family farmers and millions across Europe.”

“This is the kind of double-think by the UK that will not work for the EU farming and food sector. No new customs arrangement can achieve frictionless borders unless the UK commits to the EU’s common external tariff and quotas on food imports.”

Joe Healy concluded “IFA’s policy position is very clear: no border on the island of Ireland, no border in the Irish Sea and no scope for the UK to pursue a cheap food policy.”

12/07/2018

Brexit:  The EU-UK withdrawal agreement: Progress to date and remaining difficulties

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union in less than one year’s time, negotiations to finalise a withdrawal agreement, as provided for under Article 50 TEU, are coming up against an increasingly tight deadline. Recent progress in agreeing a number of key ‘exit’ issues prompted the decision to begin discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. However, significant challenges still remain before the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement, on which the transition period requested by the UK also depends. This EPRS In-depth Analysis considers the draft withdrawal agreement published by the European Commission on 19 March 2018, as well as the (few) additional points settled in negotiations in the period up to June 2018. It seeks to provide an overview of the main areas already settled by the negotiators, as well as of those areas of persisting difficulty or disagreement. More information here

12/07/2018

Brexit:  The EU-UK withdrawal agreement: Progress to date and remaining difficulties

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union in less than one year’s time, negotiations to finalise a withdrawal agreement, as provided for under Article 50 TEU, are coming up against an increasingly tight deadline. Recent progress in agreeing a number of key ‘exit’ issues prompted the decision to begin discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. However, significant challenges still remain before the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement, on which the transition period requested by the UK also depends. This EPRS In-depth Analysis considers the draft withdrawal agreement published by the European Commission on 19 March 2018, as well as the (few) additional points settled in negotiations in the period up to June 2018. It seeks to provide an overview of the main areas already settled by the negotiators, as well as of those areas of persisting difficulty or disagreement. More information here

12/07/2018

Brexit:  Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on the Chequers Statement of 6 July 2018 and on the White Paper released by the UK Government

The European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group (BSG), chaired by Guy Verhofstadt, met today and had an extensive exchange of views on the Chequers Statement of 6 July 2018, as well as on the White Paper just released by the UK Government.

In a first reaction, it welcomed both the Statement and the White Paper by the UK Government as a step towards establishing a new relationship between the UK and the EU once the UK is no longer a Member State.

In particular, the BSG welcomed that the UK is proposing that the future EU-UK relationship take the form of an Association Agreement. Given this has been the Parliament’s position from the very beginning the BSG agrees with this approach which would place the future EU-UK relationship in all its dimensions – economic, sectoral, security, foreign policy – on a firm footing within a coherent governance structure.

The BSG reiterated that negotiating a new relationship with the UK post-Brexit is conditional on an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU on the basis of a Withdrawal Agreement (WA). It reconfirmed the Parliament’s position expressed in its resolutions that it will not consent to a WA, including a transition period, without a credible “back stop” provision for the Northern Ireland/Ireland border to prevent a hard border and safeguard the integrity of the single market, faithfully reflecting the commitments entered into in the Joint Report of 8 December 2017. It urged the UK Government to clarify its positions on the “back stop” so that the WA can be finalised as quickly as possible.

Other important elements of the WA, including its governance provisions, in particular a credible dispute settlement mechanism, also still need to be agreed. Moreover, regarding the implementation of the WA, the Parliament expects a positive response to its letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid on 3 July 2018 and especially concerning the independent authority and the smooth registration of all EU citizens.

The BSG noted that negotiations on the WA and the framework for the future relationship will continue next week. It recalled its position for the closest trade and economic partnership possible while respecting among others the principles of the non-divisibility of the four freedoms, the integrity of the single market, avoiding a sector-by-sector approach and safeguarding financial stability, the preservation of the autonomy of EU decision-making, the safeguarding of the EU legal order and the balance of rights and obligations which any future EU-UK relationship will need to respect. In this framework there will be, for example, no space for outsourcing EU‘s customs competences.

The BSG stated its readiness to provide its input to the negotiation process at any time over the coming weeks and it will carry out a further assessment of the White Paper in the coming days and weeks.

Guy Verhofstadt

Elmar Brok

Roberto Gualtieri

Gabriele Zimmer

Philippe Lamberts

Danuta Hübner

Background

In its March resolution, the European Parliament considered that an Association Agreement between the EU and the UK could provide an appropriate framework for their future relationship. MEPs insisted that the framework should include consistent governance, with a robust dispute resolution mechanism.

Parliament as a whole will have the final say on the outcome of negotiations when it votes to approve or reject the withdrawal deal, to be finalised in the autumn.

12/07/2018

Brexit:  Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on the Chequers Statement of 6 July 2018 and on the White Paper released by the UK Government

The European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group (BSG), chaired by Guy Verhofstadt, met today and had an extensive exchange of views on the Chequers Statement of 6 July 2018, as well as on the White Paper just released by the UK Government.

In a first reaction, it welcomed both the Statement and the White Paper by the UK Government as a step towards establishing a new relationship between the UK and the EU once the UK is no longer a Member State.

In particular, the BSG welcomed that the UK is proposing that the future EU-UK relationship take the form of an Association Agreement. Given this has been the Parliament’s position from the very beginning the BSG agrees with this approach which would place the future EU-UK relationship in all its dimensions – economic, sectoral, security, foreign policy – on a firm footing within a coherent governance structure.

The BSG reiterated that negotiating a new relationship with the UK post-Brexit is conditional on an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU on the basis of a Withdrawal Agreement (WA). It reconfirmed the Parliament’s position expressed in its resolutions that it will not consent to a WA, including a transition period, without a credible “back stop” provision for the Northern Ireland/Ireland border to prevent a hard border and safeguard the integrity of the single market, faithfully reflecting the commitments entered into in the Joint Report of 8 December 2017. It urged the UK Government to clarify its positions on the “back stop” so that the WA can be finalised as quickly as possible.

Other important elements of the WA, including its governance provisions, in particular a credible dispute settlement mechanism, also still need to be agreed. Moreover, regarding the implementation of the WA, the Parliament expects a positive response to its letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid on 3 July 2018 and especially concerning the independent authority and the smooth registration of all EU citizens.

The BSG noted that negotiations on the WA and the framework for the future relationship will continue next week. It recalled its position for the closest trade and economic partnership possible while respecting among others the principles of the non-divisibility of the four freedoms, the integrity of the single market, avoiding a sector-by-sector approach and safeguarding financial stability, the preservation of the autonomy of EU decision-making, the safeguarding of the EU legal order and the balance of rights and obligations which any future EU-UK relationship will need to respect. In this framework there will be, for example, no space for outsourcing EU‘s customs competences.

The BSG stated its readiness to provide its input to the negotiation process at any time over the coming weeks and it will carry out a further assessment of the White Paper in the coming days and weeks.

Guy Verhofstadt

Elmar Brok

Roberto Gualtieri

Gabriele Zimmer

Philippe Lamberts

Danuta Hübner

Background

In its March resolution, the European Parliament considered that an Association Agreement between the EU and the UK could provide an appropriate framework for their future relationship. MEPs insisted that the framework should include consistent governance, with a robust dispute resolution mechanism.

Parliament as a whole will have the final say on the outcome of negotiations when it votes to approve or reject the withdrawal deal, to be finalised in the autumn.

12/07/2018

Brexit:  The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 and begin to chart a new course in the world. The Government will have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum – the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history. And it will have reached a key milestone in its principal mission – to build a country that works for everyone. A country that is stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking.

The UK Government is advancing a detailed proposal for a principled and practical Brexit. This proposal underpins the vision set out by the Prime Minister at Lancaster House, in Florence, at Mansion House and in Munich, and in doing so addresses questions raised by the EU in the intervening months – explaining how the relationship would work, what benefits it would deliver for both sides, and why it would respect the sovereignty of the UK as well as the autonomy of the EU.  Read all about it here

 

Dominic Raab Statement

SoS, Dominic Raab statement on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union: 12 July 2018

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement about the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

Let me start by paying tribute to my right honourable friend the Member for Haltemprice and Howden, And his Herculean efforts along with my HF the Member for Wycombe and the wider Dexeu team, To get us to this point … … in both the negotiations and the successful passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill. It is a striking achievement.

My RHF is a loss to Government, but I suspect … with the mildest apprehension … a considerable gain to this House.

Shortly, we will publish the government’s White Paper on the UK’s Future Relationship with the European Union. It is a new and detailed proposal for a principled, pragmatic and ambitious future partnership between the UK and the EU, in line with the policy agreed at Chequers last week.

I am placing a copy of the White Paper in the Libraries of both Houses, but let me briefly set out the key proposals.

Mr Speaker, the Government is determined to build a new relationship that works for both the UK and the EU, One grounded in our shared history, But which looks to a bright and ambitious future. A relationship that delivers real and lasting benefit to both sides.

First, Mr Speaker the White Paper confirms that the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, forging a new way in the world – outside the Single Market, outside the Customs Union.

It safeguards the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK. It reclaims the UK’s sovereignty. And it protects our economic interests, by minimising the risk of disruption to trade.

Mr Speaker, it delivers on the instruction we received loud and clear from the British people – to take back control of our laws, our borders, and our money.

In delivering on this vision, the Government proposes an innovative and unprecedented economic partnership, Maintaining frictionless trade through a new UK-EU free trade area for goods underpinned by a common rule book, Covering only those rules necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border.

This will support business, And meet our shared commitments to Northern Ireland and Ireland, Avoiding recourse to the so-called ‘backstop solution’.

A key component of this will be our proposal for a Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA), a business-friendly model that removes the need for new routine customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU, Whilst enabling the UK to control its own tariffs to boost trade with the rest of the world.

We want a deep and comprehensive deal on services, based on the principles of international trade. Our approach minimises new barriers to service provision, Allowing UK firms to establish in the EU and vice-versa, And it provides for mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

On financial services, we propose a new economic and regulatory approach with the EU that will preserve the mutual benefits of our uniquely integrated markets, While protecting financial stability. And, critically, the autonomy of our own rule-making.

Crucially, our proposals on services provide the UK with regulatory flexibility in the sector… including our dynamic, innovative and digital sectors …. which will, in turn, open up new possibilities in relation to trade with the wider world.

Mr Speaker, as we leave the EU, free movement of people will come to an end. We will control the number of people who come to our country. We will assert stronger security checks at the border. The Government will also seek a reciprocal mobility arrangement with the EU, In line with the approach we intend to take with other key trading partners around the world.

In practice, having ended free movement, this is about enabling firms to move their top talent across border to deliver services, Facilitating travel without a visa for tourism and business trips, And making sure that our students and youngsters, in the UK and EU, Continue to benefit from the educational opportunities in universities, colleges and indeed the rich tapestry of cultural life across the continent.

Next, Mr Speaker, the White Paper addresses Europe’s security, which has and will remain the UK’s security. This is why the Government has made an unconditional commitment to maintain it.

The Government’s proposal is for a new security partnership with the EU to tackle the shared, complex and evolving threats, Enabling the UK and EU to act together on some of the most pressing global challenges.

It is important that the UK and EU can continue operational cooperation on law enforcement and criminal justice to keep people safe across Europe.

Our proposals extend to other areas of cooperation of vital importance to the UK and EU, including the continued protection and exchange of personal data, new arrangements on fishing, and cooperative accords on science and innovation, culture and defence research.

Mr Speaker, when we leave the EU, the European Court will no longer have jurisdiction over this country. At the same time, we need to be able to interpret what we have agreed accurately and consistently, And manage any future bones of contention sensibly and responsibly.

Our proposals provide for proper accountability and the consistent interpretation of UK-EU agreements by both parties. We envisage resolving disputes that may arise through arbitration, Which is fair, balanced and reflective of global practice.

And to provide the foundation for an enduring new relationship, the agreement must be flexible enough to enable us to review and – if necessary – revise its operation over time, in the best interests of this country, As is common in free trade agreements across the world.

Finally Mr Speaker I would like make one thing very clear. We will not sign away our negotiating leverage, or spend taxpayers’ money in return for nothing.

The financial settlement, which was agreed in December – substantially lower than EU demands – was agreed on the basis that it would sit alongside a deep and mutually beneficial future partnership.

We agreed that we would meet our commitments ‘as they fall due’, With ever declining payments over a finite period, which add up to a tiny fraction of what would have been our net contribution.

Both sides have been clear nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Indeed, that is in keeping with the spirit of Article 50.

There should be a firm commitment in the Withdrawal Agreement requiring the framework for the future relationship to be translated into legal text as soon as possible. And of course if one party fails to honour its side of the overall bargain, there would be consequences for the whole deal.

For our part, today, the UK Government is demonstrating, with good faith, and good will, our ambition and resolve to ensure we build that deep and special partnership, with the publication of this White Paper.

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister first outlined a blueprint for a deep and special relationship with the EU at Lancaster House, and expanded it further in her speeches in Florence, Munich and at Mansion House.

Those speeches have shaped, and they continue to shape, our negotiations with the EU. I am confident that a deal is within reach, given the success of the Prime Minister and her negotiating team so far.

Most issues under the Withdrawal Agreement have by now been resolved, With a deal in place to secure the rights of over three million EU citizens living in the UK and around a million UK citizens living in the EU. And we have agreed a time-limited implementation period which gives businesses, governments and citizens the certainty to plan their lives, and invest for the future.

We will shortly publish a White Paper on the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill, setting out how we will give effect to the Withdrawal Agreement in domestic law and demonstrating to the EU that the UK is a dependable negotiating partner, One that will deliver on its commitments.

So Mr Speaker, our discussions with the EU will squarely focus on our shared future. This White Paper sets out how we can achieve that new partnership.

Now, it is time for the EU to respond in kind. We approach these negotiations with a spirit of pragmatism, compromise and indeed friendship.
I hope, I trust that the EU will engage with our proposals in the same spirit, And I plan to meet Michel Barnier next week to discuss the detail in person.

At the same time, Mr Speaker, the government is preparing, in the event that that spirit of pragmatism and goodwill is not reciprocated.

And on Monday, I spoke with my right honourable friend, the Prime Minister. We agreed to step up our planning for a no-deal scenario, So that the UK is ready for Brexit … no matter what the outcome of these negotiations. It is the responsible thing for a Government to do.

Mr Speaker, this White Paper sets out the right Brexit deal: Delivering on the result of the referendum, taking back control over our money, laws and borders.

Supporting the economy By maintaining a strong trading relationship after we have left.

Ending free movement, Whilst avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or indeed between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Restoring the sovereignty of Parliament and the authority of the UK Supreme Court.

Seizing the opportunity to forge new trade deals around the world.

And maintaining cooperation with the EU in many other areas we prize, including security co-operation to keep our people safe.

This is our vision for a bold, ambitious and innovative new partnership with the EU. Principled and practical, Faithful to the referendum,

It delivers a deal that is good for the UK, and good for our EU friends,
And I commend this statement and the White Paper to the House.

12/07/2018

Brexit:  The European Communities (Designation Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

Statutory instrument

The European Communities (Designation Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

Explanatory memorandum

EM The European Communities (Designation Orders) (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

Annex A

Annex A

10/07/2018

Brexit:  Speech by Michel Barnier at the European American Chamber of Commerce

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first thank the European American Chamber of Commerce, its President James Rosener, and Executive Director Yvonne Bendinger-Rothschild for inviting me.

It is a timely occasion to talk about Brexit.

I am happy to be in the United States to make the European voice on Brexit heard.

After Brexit, with 27 countries, 440 million consumers and 22 million businesses, we will remain a major partner for the US and a global player.

*

Let me now make a few introductory remarks.

1/ I deeply regret, as a politician and a citizen, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. It is my conviction that we are stronger together.

Brexit will necessarily have a cost.

The United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union’s Single Market and the Customs Union.

This means that Brexit will create friction to trade that does not exist today.

For various economic sectors, this will have an impact on value chains, which are currently closely integrated across national borders of European countries.

This will impact in particular manufacturing and logistics, as well as the agricultural and food sectors.

The cost of Brexit will be substantially higher for the UK than for the EU. But Brexit is clearly a “lose-lose” situation for both.

On both sides of the Channel, businesses, including subsidiaries of US firms, should analyse their exposure to the other side and be ready, when necessary, to adapt their logistical channels, supply chains and existing contracts.

They should also prepare for the worst case scenario of a “no deal”, which would result in the return of tariffs, under WTO rules.

The “no deal” is not our objective. By the way, you do not need a negotiator for no deal. We are negotiating to avoid the “no deal”, but it still cannot be excluded.

Our objective is to reach an agreement by October on the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU. This would allow proper time for the British and European Parliaments to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement before the UK actually leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.

 

 

speech continued

2/ Over the last few months, we have made progress in the negotiations, as you can see in this draft Withdrawal Agreement which we have published – more or less 80%. In particular:

We reached a deal to protect 4.5 million European citizens in the UK and British nationals in the EU.

We agreed that all decisions taken at 28 will be financed at 28.

We agreed on a transition period of 21 months during which the economic status quo between the EU and the UK will be maintained. It will give business more time to adapt.

However, a number of major issues remain open.

In particular, we need to find solutions for the difficult issue of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Historically, alongside other partners such as the US, the EU has played an important role in supporting the peace process in Ireland.

And a key feature of the peace process was to make the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland invisible.

This was facilitated obviously by the fact that both Ireland and Northern Ireland were part of the EU.

We need to avoid a hard border and the UK has committed to this.

As the same time we need to protect the EU’s external border to preserve the integrity of our market.

***

3/ We want an ambitious future relationship with the UK – not only in trade, but also in police and judicial cooperation and foreign policy, security and defence.

However, the basis for such cooperation between the UK and the 27 EU countries will necessarily be different.

Therefore, the level of integration will have to be lower than it is today.

Because what the Single Market creates is the most developed form of free trade among sovereign countries. It is as close as it gets to a domestic market.

*

Since we are in New York, only a few miles away from Wall Street, let me take the example of financial services.

Within the EU Single Market, companies established in the UK can provide their services across the entire European Union – we call it “passporting”.

Many US financial institutions decided to establish their European hub in London to have these passporting rights and to be able to service clients across Europe.

This is made possible by the EU Single Market, where EU countries are bound by a common framework, and in particular:

By a single rulebook, which we have reviewed following the financial crisis to increase the resilience of our financial institutions and markets. In doing so, we have implemented the G20 roadmap, just as the US did with the Dodd-Franck Act.

By coordinating or centralising supervision of this single rulebook for banks, insurance companies and financial markets.

By ensuring the uniform interpretation of the single rulebook by the European Court of Justice.

Outside of this common “ecosystem” of regulation, supervision and enforcement, there can be no passporting. The UK has recognised this point, in Ms. May’s Mansion House speech.

But the UK still wants continuity. It would want the EU to accept UK standards by means of a system of mutual recognition.

The UK needs to understand that the EU cannot accept such mutual market access without all the safeguards that underpin it.

This would go against all our objectives:

  • First, ensuring financial stability,
  • Second, protecting investors,
  • Third, securing market integrity
  • And fourth, maintaining a level playing field.

These objectives would not be reached if financial institutions could passport in the EU and serve clients based on a licence by the supervisors of a third country.

I do not know of any country in the world that would accept such a loss of sovereignty.

***

Ladies and gentlemen,

That being said, I think that we should have a close relationship with the UK, also in financial services.

This is our common interest.

I see a number of ways to achieve this.

First, the EU Single Market is open to third countries, in general, to the US, and also to the UK. And it will remain so.

In the EU, free movement of capital is open to third countries.

As regards market access to provide financial services, the European Council made clear that our future Free Trade Agreement with the UK should include the right of establishment, with EU rules applying.

Secondly, the EU has a long history of relying on the regulation and supervision of third countries.

This is what the G20 calls deference, what you call in the US substituted compliance, and what we call in the EU equivalence.

To date, the EU has adopted more than 200 so-called equivalence decisions covering more than 30 foreign jurisdictions, including of course the US. This integrates financial markets and facilitates the work of financial operators in the EU and the foreign jurisdiction.

Today, to be very clear, we are in the EU the most open jurisdiction in the world for financial services.

Why would this equivalence system, which works well, including for the US industry, not work for the UK? Why?

Thirdly, in order to draw lessons from the financial crisis and limit the risks in the future, EU countries collectively developed more effective financial regulation and supervision.

And we were very happy to do this hand-in-hand with the UK.

I can personally testify it: for five years, I was in charge of financial services for the Commission and all these regulations, but two – short selling and banker bonuses – have been adopted in full agreement with the UK.

We need to keep this joint regulatory effort in mind, and be ready to exchange our ideas for future rules in the context of close and voluntary regulatory cooperation.

Here also, we have a regulatory dialogue with the US. We could build on this experience with the UK.

Fourthly, we will of course cooperate with the UK – as we do with the US – in international fora such as the Financial Stability Board and the Basel committee.

The world of finance is global and interdependent. We have a mutual interest in working together, not separately.

***

Ladies and gentlemen,

One thing is clear: we will not change who we are as the European Union because the UK is leaving.

The EU is and will remain the most open market in the world.

No other jurisdiction operates a framework that is more open, comprehensive and rules-based for foreign jurisdictions.

US companies are well aware of this. Many of them have been able to take a leading role in EU markets.

Open markets for financial services are an asset for the EU and will remain so in the future.

Thank you for your attention.

07/07/2018

Brexit:  Theresa May’s Brexit Deal for Britain

07/07/2018

Brexit: CHEQUERS OUTCOME SHOWS SOME MOVEMENT BY UK GOVERNMENT BUT ALSO UNACCEPTABLE DOUBLE-THINK

Commenting on the outcome of the Chequers meeting, IFA President Joe Healy said, “While there are some signs of movement by the British government on agriculture and food issues, the UK statement falls far short of the commitments and clarity required by Irish and EU farmers.

“We will need to see the detail of the UK white paper due next week to make a full assessment of the UK’s position.”

“The statement from Chequers once again includes a generous helping of double-think by the UK in wanting to have their cake and eat it, which is unacceptable.

“The proposed Facilitated Customs Arrangement and EU-UK Free Trade Area, under which the UK would control its own tariffs and trade with the rest of the world, will not work for agriculture and food. It would allow the UK to open the floodgates to cheap food imports, for example Brazilian beef, that would not only destroy the UK market for Irish farmers but would also wreak havoc across the entire EU market.

“It is also not consistent with the UK commitment in last December’s Joint Report to maintain full alignment with the EU rules which support the all island economy and the Good Friday Agreement.”

“The UK offer to make ‘an upfront choice to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules’ on goods including agri-food is a positive step as far as it goes. But what’s the value of a UK treaty commitment if the Westminster Parliament can opt out whenever it wants?”

Joe Healy said that IFA would measure the UK offer against the need to maintain the integrity of the customs union and single market. “IFA is clear that there can be no room for fudged commitments.”

Joe Healy said “IFA’s position is: no border on the island of Ireland, no border in the Irish Sea and no scope for the UK to pursue a cheap food policy. That means that the UK must apply the EU’s common external tariff and tariff rate quotas which limit the import volumes of agricultural and food products.”

06/07/2018

Brexit: Withdrawal Bill updated

Information about the Withdrawal Bill

06/07/2018

Brexit: Theresa May’s words following Chequers

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

Today in detailed discussions the Cabinet has agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU.

Our proposal will create a UK – EU free trade area which establishes a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products. This maintains high standards in these areas, but we will also ensure that no new changes in the future take place without the approval of our Parliament.

As a result, we avoid friction in terms of trade, which protects jobs and livelihoods, as well as meeting our commitments in Northern Ireland.

We have also agreed a new business-friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world.

Next week we will be publishing a white paper which will set out more details of how we will be taking back control of our money, laws and borders.

Now we must all move at pace to negotiate our proposal with the EU to deliver the prosperous and secure future all our people deserve.

 

More information here

29/06/2018

Brexit: Agenda European Council (Art.50), 29/06/2018

Agenda highlights

The European Council (Article 50), meeting in an EU 27 format, is expected to take stock of the progress made so far in the Brexit negotiations. The Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will update the EU27 heads of state or government on the state of play of the talks.

The leaders will focus on the following topics:

  • completion of work on withdrawal issues
  • issues related to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • discussions on the framework for the future relationship with the UK

29/06/2018

Brexit: Agenda European Council (Art.50), 29/06/2018

Agenda highlights

The European Council (Article 50), meeting in an EU 27 format, is expected to take stock of the progress made so far in the Brexit negotiations. The Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will update the EU27 heads of state or government on the state of play of the talks.

The leaders will focus on the following topics:

  • completion of work on withdrawal issues
  • issues related to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • discussions on the framework for the future relationship with the UK

26/06/2018

Brexit: Main Results General Affairs Council (Art. 50) below.  Full results available here

The Council, in EU27 format, was briefed by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on the state of play in the Brexit negotiations with a focus on the next steps.

Ministers made comments on the progress and the next steps on the remaining topics, including the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and on the framework for the future relationship with the UK.

Ministers also examined the draft conclusions to be adopted by the European Council (Article 50) on Friday 29 June 2018. The Heads of State or Government will take stock of progress in the negotiations. Leaders are expected to highlight the importance of advancing on all remaining issues, including the border with Northern Ireland; of receiving workable and realistic proposals from the United Kingdom on the future relationship; and of working on preparedness.

With March 2019 quickly approaching, we need to find solutions to all remaining issues in a timely manner and in full respect of commitments taken so far. Regarding the framework for the future relationship, we need realistic and workable proposals from the UK as regards its position. The work on preparedness at all levels and for all outcomes must be stepped up.

 

25/06/2018

BREXIT: Council authorises opening of negotiations with WTO members on Brexit-related adjustments

In preparation for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the Council today authorised the Commission to open formal negotiations within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on how to divide up existing EU tariff rate quotas (TRQs) between the EU27 and the UK.

After Brexit, the EU will continue to apply its scheduled commitments for goods, but its existing quantitative commitments, in particular the TRQs for agricultural, fish and industrial products, will require adjustments to take into account the fact that the EU’s WTO schedule will no longer be applicable to the UK.

In October 2017, the EU and the UK informed WTO members in a joint letter of their approach for apportioning the existing EU tariff quotas and began informal talks with partners. The proposed approach would provide for an apportionment based on an objective methodology reflecting existing levels of market access and trade flows under each TRQ.

Letter from the EU and the UK to WTO members on the apportionment of TRQs

Negotiations with WTO members

In line with the provisions for modifying concessions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), the EU needs to conduct negotiations on the apportionment of the TRQs with relevant WTO members.

In addition, the UK needs to launch the procedures in the WTO for setting out its own schedule of concessions and commitments before the date on which it ceases to be an EU member state.

These negotiations need to be conducted within a tight timeframe. It is foreseen that the UK will cease to be an EU member state from 30 March 2019, although the withdrawal agreement currently being negotiated is expected to provide for transitional arrangements. These arrangements would provide for international agreements to which the EU is party, such as the GATT 1994, to apply to the UK until 31 December 2020.

EU internal process

In order to take account of a situation where agreements with relevant WTO Members have not been concluded in time, the Commission has also proposed a legislative act which would allow  the EU to proceed unilaterally with the apportionment of the TRQs and to amend the relevant EU provisions accordingly. This legislative proposal will follow the ordinary legislative procedure.

Legislative proposal on the apportionment of the TRQs

 

25/06/2018

BREXIT: Council authorises opening of negotiations with WTO members on Brexit-related adjustments

In preparation for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the Council today authorised the Commission to open formal negotiations within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on how to divide up existing EU tariff rate quotas (TRQs) between the EU27 and the UK.

After Brexit, the EU will continue to apply its scheduled commitments for goods, but its existing quantitative commitments, in particular the TRQs for agricultural, fish and industrial products, will require adjustments to take into account the fact that the EU’s WTO schedule will no longer be applicable to the UK.

In October 2017, the EU and the UK informed WTO members in a joint letter of their approach for apportioning the existing EU tariff quotas and began informal talks with partners. The proposed approach would provide for an apportionment based on an objective methodology reflecting existing levels of market access and trade flows under each TRQ.

Letter from the EU and the UK to WTO members on the apportionment of TRQs

Negotiations with WTO members

In line with the provisions for modifying concessions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994), the EU needs to conduct negotiations on the apportionment of the TRQs with relevant WTO members.

In addition, the UK needs to launch the procedures in the WTO for setting out its own schedule of concessions and commitments before the date on which it ceases to be an EU member state.

These negotiations need to be conducted within a tight timeframe. It is foreseen that the UK will cease to be an EU member state from 30 March 2019, although the withdrawal agreement currently being negotiated is expected to provide for transitional arrangements. These arrangements would provide for international agreements to which the EU is party, such as the GATT 1994, to apply to the UK until 31 December 2020.

EU internal process

In order to take account of a situation where agreements with relevant WTO Members have not been concluded in time, the Commission has also proposed a legislative act which would allow  the EU to proceed unilaterally with the apportionment of the TRQs and to amend the relevant EU provisions accordingly. This legislative proposal will follow the ordinary legislative procedure.

Legislative proposal on the apportionment of the TRQs

 

19/06/2018

BREXIT: European Commission and United Kingdom publish Joint Statement outlining further progress in Article 50 negotiations

The European Commission and the United Kingdom published today a Joint Statement outlining the progress that has been achieved on the terms of the draft Withdrawal Agreement since the negotiation round that took place on 16-19 March 2018.

The new elements of agreement are set out in detail in points 3 and 4 of the Joint Statement, which also outlines the UK’s engagement on the remaining separation issues.

Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator for Article 50 negotiations, said, “Today’s progress is due to the dedication and commitment of both negotiating teams, whom I would like to thank. We have advanced on some separation issues for which European businesses need certainty, such as customs, VAT, Euratom and certificates for goods. Engagement by the UK on remaining issues such as the protection of personal data and geographical indications is also to be welcomed. Serious divergences remain, however, on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. I would like to recall that the Withdrawal Agreement must contain a fully operational backstop solution for Ireland and Northern Ireland. I will present the state of play of the negotiations to the European Council and the European Parliament. Today marks a step forward in these negotiations but a lot more work needs to be done before October.”

Next steps

Michel Barnier will present the state of play of the negotiations to the European Council (Article 50) which takes place on 28 and 29 June 2018, and to the European Parliament. Negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement will continue over the coming weeks, together with the discussions on the framework for the future relationship.

The agenda for this week’s negotiations is available here

Background information

On 28 February 2018, the European Commission published a draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This draft translated into legal terms the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on the progress achieved during phase 1 of the negotiations, published on 8 December 2017, and proposed text for those outstanding withdrawal issues which are mentioned in, but not set out in detail, in the Joint Report. It also included a draft Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland. Both the EU and the UK have recognised that the unique situation of the island of Ireland requires a specific solution. Both sides have already committed to including a legally operable backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.

On 19 March 2018, the EU and the UK published an updated version of the Withdrawal Agreement, outlining (in green, yellow, and white) the areas of agreement and disagreement between the negotiators of the EU and the UK.

On 23 March 2018, the European Council (Article 50) welcomed this agreement and adopted guidelines on the framework for the future EU/UK relationship. Discussions on these points are ongoing.

A final version of this Withdrawal Agreement, together with an accompanying political declaration on the framework for the future relationship, should be agreed by the EU and the UK by October 2018 to allow for the timely ratification by the European Parliament, the Council (Article 50) and the UK, according to its own constitutional requirements.

For more information

Joint Statement, 19 June 2018

European Council (Article 50) Guidelines, March 2018

15/06/2018

BREXIT:  UPDATES

These slides summarise the possibilities for involvement of third countries in EU space-related activities.

 

 

Slides on UK technical note on temporary customs arrangement

These slides present an analysis of the ‘Technical Note: temporary customs arrangement’ published by the United Kingdom on 7 June 2018.

11/06/2018

BREXIT:  UPDATES

 

Infographic on the EU’s backstop proposal

This infographic presents a visual summary of the ‘Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland’, which is part of the draft WA published on 19 May 2018

 

 

Slides on UK technical note on temporary customs arrangement

These slides present an analysis of the ‘Technical Note: temporary customs arrangement’ published by the United Kingdom on 7 June 2018.

11/06/2018

BREXIT:  Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Brexit event in Rosslare Port, Ireland

 

Dear friends, it’s great to be here in Rosslare. My thanks to the Irish Hauliers and your very capable President Verona Murphy for organising this event.

Brexit is a bit like an articulated lorry coming over the brow of the hill – we can hear the rumble, the ground is shaking, we know it is going to be big… but we cannot see how it looks or what load it is carrying.

The question we need to be asking is “Are we, here in Ireland, ready?”  Because Brexit is happening to us – even though no-one asked us if we wanted it or not.

And it will happen to us ten months from now. So the challenge is to be as prepared as possible, for as many outcomes as possible – including the worst ones.

There are no winners in Brexit. It is a matter of doing the least amount of damage. We know Brexit is going to give us a knock.  Even on the best assumptions, economic forecasters say it will affect our wages, reduce our overall growth, and pose particular problems for rural areas through its effects on the agri-food sector.

We cannot afford to leave any stone unturned in our preparation. Brexit is mostly beyond our control.  But the heaviness of the blow, and how we respond to it, is very much under our control.  The more we think about it, the more we prepare, the easier it will be for us to shake off the effects and continue to improve our quality of life.

So let us take stock of what we know, and what we still do not know.

First and foremost is the problem of our land border with the UK.

In economic terms the border all but disappeared forty years ago and the island of Ireland has since developed an integrated economy.

And of course in social terms, the Good Friday Agreement built a new foundation of goodwill and cross-border cooperation as the last border posts disappeared.

Now that will change.  We can expect to see, little by little, cross-border arrangements being scaled down and disappearing, with a consequent effect on jobs north and south.  The very worst effect – which would be the reappearance of the hard, visible border that was dismantled by the Good Friday Agreement – has been avoided but this will not prevent economic readjustments.

The UK agreement to keep a soft, invisible border is one of the successes so far of the Brexit discussions.  Although you would not think it to judge from the arguments – most of them in London – about how the soft border should be achieved.

The EU has been clear and consistent on this point from the start.

Unless the UK has a workable alternative that will secure the Union’s external frontier, the soft border will be achieved by maintaining regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the EU.  This is the so-called backstop.

The latest episodes of the Brexit reality show have shown us Prime Minister May battling with the mutineers, and the mutineers battling with each other. This means that, less than two weeks out from a key meeting of EU leaders which is supposed to settle this very question, we are no closer to the UK converging around a real, workable solution.

One group prefers a cyber border.  Another group prefers new-look documentation and inspection procedures.  Both groups seem to agree on only one thing – that neither of the two approaches will work!

The European Commission received the UK’s latest proposal for a customs solution last week, and it represents a small recognition by the UK of what they need to prepare in order to convince the EU that they can meet its negotiating mandate around Customs Union.

Hopefully, the UK government is beginning to realise that membership of the Customs Union and regulatory alignment is crucial to resolving many of their own national interests in relation to the future trading relationship with the EU, as well as resolving many of the difficulties relating to the island of Ireland.

As the UK becomes a so-called “third country”, the closer the future trade relationship aligns with the present, the smaller will be the disruption to Ireland’s trade and economy.

At present, the Union is proposing something that is far distant, a free trade agreement like the ones we have with Canada or South Korea.   This is, in effect, dictated by the UK’s red lines.

If they were to change, the Commission could propose something that would be less harmful.

But there is also the unmistakeable sense that the mood is changing in the UK. Public opinion is starting to move, and all recent polling shows the “Remain” side firmly ahead. This is an important change, because well into 2017, the polls showed a majority still in favour of Brexit.

British business is raising its voice in exasperation at the Government’s lack of a plan.

 

Speech continued

Ladies and gentlemen,

You have all seen the UK’s customs paper, which we received yesterday.

I welcomed the publication of this paper. It is good to see the UK engaging with us by proposing text.

As I said yesterday, we are examining this paper objectively, looking at three questions:

  1. First: Is this a workable solution to avoid a hard border?
  2. Second: Does it respect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union?
  3. Third: Is this an all-weather backstop?

Allow me to come back to each of these questions, which in turn, raise more specific ones.

1) First: Is this a workable solution to avoid a hard border?

  • The UK recognises that the proposals in its paper cannot qualify as a backstop since the issue of full regulatory alignment is not addressed. I repeat that we need regulatory alignment to avoid a hard border. How do we solve this issue?

2) Second question: Does the UK proposal respect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union?

  • The UK wants to continue benefiting from our free trade agreements. Does that mean that we will have to reopen, renegotiate or even re-ratify our existing agreements in order to keep the UK in our customs territory after the transition?
  • The UK tells us that it wants to avoid any control. How does that fit with the requirements of our VAT system?

3) Third question: Is this an all-weather backstop?

  • The UK calls this arrangement temporary. How does that fit with the need to secure the absence of a hard border in all circumstances?
  • Moreover, we had agreed with the UK on the principle that public authorities and businesses would need to adapt only once to the new situation created by Brexit – only once. Does the temporary nature of the customs arrangement mean that several adaptations will now be needed?

Ladies and gentlemen,

These questions require further discussion. The UK itself recognises that these questions are relevant and difficult.

But let me recall that our backstop provides answers to each of these questions.

It provides specific solutions to the unique situation of Northern Ireland.

The UK is taking a different angle, however. It is looking for a UK-wide solution.

Let me be clear: our backstop cannot be extended to the whole UK.

Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland.

What does it do?

  • On customs, Northern Ireland would form part of our customs territory. What is feasible with a territory the size of Northern Ireland is not necessarily feasible with the whole UK.
  • On regulatory alignment, we have been pragmatic and developed the least disruptive system for citizens and businesses on both sides.

Let’s go back to pragmatism. Checks carried out on ferries are less disruptive than along a 500km-long land border.

In addition, these checks can build on arrangements and facilities which already exist – which already exist – between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland.

Obviously, behind all these rules, we want to preserve the fluidity and ease of trade and agricultural production on the island of Ireland.

And once again, we need such a solution in the Withdrawal Agreement by autumn.

We will not leave this issue unresolved.

Ladies and gentlemen,

III – My third and last point concerns the future relationship with the United Kingdom.

Following the mandate I received from the European Council in March, and as outlined by the European Parliament in its resolution, we are now discussing the framework for the future relationship, which will include an economic partnership and strategic cooperation in the area of security.

In all the UK papers that we have been receiving until now – which I read carefully with my team – there has been a request to maintain the status quo, a form of continuity, which is paradoxical seeing as the country decided itself to leave the European Union.

The United Kingdom seems to want to maintain the benefits of the current relationship, while leaving the EU regulatory, supervision, and application framework.

When we respond to UK leaders saying that these benefits are not accessible outside the EU system – because of their decision – some people in the UK try to blame us for the consequences of this.

I simply want to say that we will not be swayed, I will not be swayed, by this blame game.

The United Kingdom decided to leave the Union. We respect this democratic decision and we will implement it. The United Kingdom must assume the consequences.

If we want to construct a new relationship, we need a basis of trust. We also need more realism about what is and is not possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There are now two weeks left before the June European Council. I hope we will use this time to consolidate and make new progress in this difficult and complex negotiation.

Thank you for your attention.

 

STATEMENT/18/4105

11/06/2018

BREXIT:  Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan at Brexit event in Rosslare Port, Ireland

 

Dear friends, it’s great to be here in Rosslare. My thanks to the Irish Hauliers and your very capable President Verona Murphy for organising this event.

Brexit is a bit like an articulated lorry coming over the brow of the hill – we can hear the rumble, the ground is shaking, we know it is going to be big… but we cannot see how it looks or what load it is carrying.

The question we need to be asking is “Are we, here in Ireland, ready?”  Because Brexit is happening to us – even though no-one asked us if we wanted it or not.

And it will happen to us ten months from now. So the challenge is to be as prepared as possible, for as many outcomes as possible – including the worst ones.

There are no winners in Brexit. It is a matter of doing the least amount of damage. We know Brexit is going to give us a knock.  Even on the best assumptions, economic forecasters say it will affect our wages, reduce our overall growth, and pose particular problems for rural areas through its effects on the agri-food sector.

We cannot afford to leave any stone unturned in our preparation. Brexit is mostly beyond our control.  But the heaviness of the blow, and how we respond to it, is very much under our control.  The more we think about it, the more we prepare, the easier it will be for us to shake off the effects and continue to improve our quality of life.

So let us take stock of what we know, and what we still do not know.

First and foremost is the problem of our land border with the UK.

In economic terms the border all but disappeared forty years ago and the island of Ireland has since developed an integrated economy.

And of course in social terms, the Good Friday Agreement built a new foundation of goodwill and cross-border cooperation as the last border posts disappeared.

Now that will change.  We can expect to see, little by little, cross-border arrangements being scaled down and disappearing, with a consequent effect on jobs north and south.  The very worst effect – which would be the reappearance of the hard, visible border that was dismantled by the Good Friday Agreement – has been avoided but this will not prevent economic readjustments.

The UK agreement to keep a soft, invisible border is one of the successes so far of the Brexit discussions.  Although you would not think it to judge from the arguments – most of them in London – about how the soft border should be achieved.

The EU has been clear and consistent on this point from the start.

Unless the UK has a workable alternative that will secure the Union’s external frontier, the soft border will be achieved by maintaining regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the EU.  This is the so-called backstop.

The latest episodes of the Brexit reality show have shown us Prime Minister May battling with the mutineers, and the mutineers battling with each other. This means that, less than two weeks out from a key meeting of EU leaders which is supposed to settle this very question, we are no closer to the UK converging around a real, workable solution.

One group prefers a cyber border.  Another group prefers new-look documentation and inspection procedures.  Both groups seem to agree on only one thing – that neither of the two approaches will work!

The European Commission received the UK’s latest proposal for a customs solution last week, and it represents a small recognition by the UK of what they need to prepare in order to convince the EU that they can meet its negotiating mandate around Customs Union.

Hopefully, the UK government is beginning to realise that membership of the Customs Union and regulatory alignment is crucial to resolving many of their own national interests in relation to the future trading relationship with the EU, as well as resolving many of the difficulties relating to the island of Ireland.

As the UK becomes a so-called “third country”, the closer the future trade relationship aligns with the present, the smaller will be the disruption to Ireland’s trade and economy.

At present, the Union is proposing something that is far distant, a free trade agreement like the ones we have with Canada or South Korea.   This is, in effect, dictated by the UK’s red lines.

If they were to change, the Commission could propose something that would be less harmful.

But there is also the unmistakeable sense that the mood is changing in the UK. Public opinion is starting to move, and all recent polling shows the “Remain” side firmly ahead. This is an important change, because well into 2017, the polls showed a majority still in favour of Brexit.

British business is raising its voice in exasperation at the Government’s lack of a plan.

 

Speech continued

Ladies and gentlemen,

You have all seen the UK’s customs paper, which we received yesterday.

I welcomed the publication of this paper. It is good to see the UK engaging with us by proposing text.

As I said yesterday, we are examining this paper objectively, looking at three questions:

  1. First: Is this a workable solution to avoid a hard border?
  2. Second: Does it respect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union?
  3. Third: Is this an all-weather backstop?

Allow me to come back to each of these questions, which in turn, raise more specific ones.

1) First: Is this a workable solution to avoid a hard border?

  • The UK recognises that the proposals in its paper cannot qualify as a backstop since the issue of full regulatory alignment is not addressed. I repeat that we need regulatory alignment to avoid a hard border. How do we solve this issue?

2) Second question: Does the UK proposal respect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union?

  • The UK wants to continue benefiting from our free trade agreements. Does that mean that we will have to reopen, renegotiate or even re-ratify our existing agreements in order to keep the UK in our customs territory after the transition?
  • The UK tells us that it wants to avoid any control. How does that fit with the requirements of our VAT system?

3) Third question: Is this an all-weather backstop?

  • The UK calls this arrangement temporary. How does that fit with the need to secure the absence of a hard border in all circumstances?
  • Moreover, we had agreed with the UK on the principle that public authorities and businesses would need to adapt only once to the new situation created by Brexit – only once. Does the temporary nature of the customs arrangement mean that several adaptations will now be needed?

Ladies and gentlemen,

These questions require further discussion. The UK itself recognises that these questions are relevant and difficult.

But let me recall that our backstop provides answers to each of these questions.

It provides specific solutions to the unique situation of Northern Ireland.

The UK is taking a different angle, however. It is looking for a UK-wide solution.

Let me be clear: our backstop cannot be extended to the whole UK.

Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland.

What does it do?

  • On customs, Northern Ireland would form part of our customs territory. What is feasible with a territory the size of Northern Ireland is not necessarily feasible with the whole UK.
  • On regulatory alignment, we have been pragmatic and developed the least disruptive system for citizens and businesses on both sides.

Let’s go back to pragmatism. Checks carried out on ferries are less disruptive than along a 500km-long land border.

In addition, these checks can build on arrangements and facilities which already exist – which already exist – between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland.

Obviously, behind all these rules, we want to preserve the fluidity and ease of trade and agricultural production on the island of Ireland.

And once again, we need such a solution in the Withdrawal Agreement by autumn.

We will not leave this issue unresolved.

Ladies and gentlemen,

III – My third and last point concerns the future relationship with the United Kingdom.

Following the mandate I received from the European Council in March, and as outlined by the European Parliament in its resolution, we are now discussing the framework for the future relationship, which will include an economic partnership and strategic cooperation in the area of security.

In all the UK papers that we have been receiving until now – which I read carefully with my team – there has been a request to maintain the status quo, a form of continuity, which is paradoxical seeing as the country decided itself to leave the European Union.

The United Kingdom seems to want to maintain the benefits of the current relationship, while leaving the EU regulatory, supervision, and application framework.

When we respond to UK leaders saying that these benefits are not accessible outside the EU system – because of their decision – some people in the UK try to blame us for the consequences of this.

I simply want to say that we will not be swayed, I will not be swayed, by this blame game.

The United Kingdom decided to leave the Union. We respect this democratic decision and we will implement it. The United Kingdom must assume the consequences.

If we want to construct a new relationship, we need a basis of trust. We also need more realism about what is and is not possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There are now two weeks left before the June European Council. I hope we will use this time to consolidate and make new progress in this difficult and complex negotiation.

Thank you for your attention.

 

STATEMENT/18/4105

08/06/2018

BREXIT:   Press statement by Michel Barnier following this week’s round of negotiations

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very happy to be here to debrief you on the round of negotiations which has just ended, less than three weeks from the European Council.

I would like to frankly present to you today, as I usually do, the three points of this negotiation:

  • The separation issues;
  • The major question of Ireland and Northern Ireland, in light of the UK paper presented yesterday;
  • The future partnership and the conditions to succeed.

First of all, a general remark:

It is now time to take decisions and make choices.

Time is short. In less than 10 months, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, as it so wished. And, I repeat, we must conclude an agreement on the orderly withdrawal by autumn to give the necessary time on both sides for ratification – which was always my objective.

We continue to work intensely and, on our side, we will continue to explain calmly and clearly our positions, as well as recalling – as is sometimes necessary – what the European Union, the Single Market and the Customs Union are.

And, seeing as time is short, I also recall that we are always available and ready to intensify the rhythm of our meetings and negotiations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I – First, a few words on this week’s work and on the separation topics.

We progressed over the past days on a certain number of subjects linked to the orderly withdrawal. These are called “other separation issues”.

We think that these subjects can be resolved before the next European Council, which means that, in the document you know well, we will probably change some yellow parts into green and some white parts into green.

Each of these subjects is obviously important to provide legal certainty where there is currently no legal certainty because of Brexit.

But there is a lot of work to be done on the three other separation issues, which are important, even very serious, for our businesses and citizens:

  • The protection of the personal data of EU citizens. We want that the data that has already been exchanged remains protected as it is today.
  • The protection of geographical indications, on which we still do not have any UK position. This subject is important for a lot of producers, for consumers, as much in the UK as in the 27 other countries of the European Union.
  • The infringement and administrative procedures concerning the UK which will be ongoing at the end of the transition, for example in the area of state aid. This is not a bureaucratic point. This is a point which concerns the financial interests of the Union.

Beyond these three points – on which we have worked a lot – there remain two major points of divergence:

  • The governance of the Withdrawal Agreement. I won’t elaborate further on this point today because I spoke at length on this a few days ago in Lisbon.
  • And obviously questions related to Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Ladies and gentlemen,

II – On Ireland and Northern Ireland, we also worked this week with the UK team on two important elements.

First, regulatory alignment.

This is about very concrete subjects: goods, agriculture, electricity, certain parts of environmental policy.

On these subjects, I would like to call for pragmatism from all sides, as I did recently during my trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland. On these concrete everyday topics, we need common rules to preserve the free movement of goods on the island and to preserve and encourage North-South cooperation.

During this visit – a month ago – everywhere I went, from Dundalk, to Newry, Derry-Londonderry and Dungannon, I was very interested to meet groups of farmers, businesses, young people, and women, who all told me the same thing. They told me about the importance of being able to circulate and move freely. And this is what we want to preserve in the agreement.

It is in Northern Ireland’s interest also to keep the same rules in these areas, and to avoid new barriers to the daily exchanges on the island.

It is in the interest of the farmers in Ireland and Northern Ireland that the same sanitary and phytosanitary rules apply, as is the case today.

The second points of discussions on Ireland and Northern Ireland this week concerned customs.

Speech continued

The Freight Transport Association declared this week that the government’s inaction has put Britain on a “road to nowhere” and that businesses are on the brink of being “destroyed”.

Throughout the UK, including in Northern Ireland, businesses are making contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, openly speaking about the damage that will be done to jobs and growth.

In response, the British Parliament – including an ebullient House of Lords – has assumed the role of the grown-up in the room, given the Conservative government’s abject failure to do so.

The tide is finally starting to go out on the High Priests of Brexit, and not before time.

Arch-Brexiteers like Nigel Farage and Michael Gove are disowning their pre-referendum promises of a land of milk and honey, and a sense of panic is setting in among them that the British public is finally seeing through their deception and lies.

Calls are growing for some form of “people’s referendum” on the final Brexit deal, if there is one. There is still a lot of ball to be played.

Mrs May’s dilemma is that she has to disappoint one group or the other within her own party.

She is trying to find a middle way – agreements on border management and future trade that will be acceptable to all.  There are no signs that such a middle way exists.

She will have to choose.  And there is still a real danger is that it will be the Rees-Mogg mutineers who will triumph.

They have controlled the narrative for 2 years now, but they sense that their time is running out, and they will try every trick in the book to keep the good ship Britannia steering towards a hard Brexit, even though the ship is full of leaks and the crew is hiding below deck.

With so much uncertainty still clouding the picture, economic operators in Ireland have to examine every possible Brexit scenario and identify the pitfalls and possibilities.

The EU is ready for the worst.  It will not be surprised by a UK non-decision to crash out because the mutineers succeed in running down the clock.  It is prepared in case the most painful Brexit becomes a reality.

The European Commission has been sending out this message loud and clear. President Juncker, acting on instructions from the EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, has engaged the Commission’s Secretariat General to issue 60 “preparedness notices” to key stakeholders.

For example, a preparedness notices was sent to stakeholders in the maritime transport sector covering vital issues such as: intra-union shipping services and third country traffic, maritime cabotage, maritime safety, port state control, operations of passenger ships, and the safety of fishing vessels.

And we must give credit to the Irish government for their work. If ever there was a time for all politicians, public servants and civil society to put on the “green jersey,” this is it, and all parties have risen to the occasion.

In relation to ports, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has held a number of workshops with Maritime and other transport sectors on preparing for the possible impacts of Brexit on the sector.

Ports and shipping companies are exploring the feasibility of new shipping routes directly to Europe in the context of Brexit.

New initiatives have already being taken to enhance direct routes to Europe, with larger vessels which will have increased capacity.

Shipping companies are market driven and will respond to changing demands regarding direct routes to Europe.

The key state agencies, Revenue, Customs and Agriculture are also actively engaging with the Ports to prepare at this stage, as far as possible, for the potential implications of Brexit.

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) in conjunction with DTTAS has been undertaking a study into the use of the UK landbridge by Irish importers and exporters.

The purpose of this research is to establish the volume of traffic using the UK landbridge at present, the likely consequences that Brexit will have on landbridge usage and the various alternative options that may be viable. This piece of research is being finalised at present and is expected to be completed shortly.

On the Common Transit Convention, the UK has signalled its intention to join the Common Transit Convention – Ireland welcomes this move but further work would still be required in relation to the UK landbridge.

And I understand that Iarnród Éireann is completing a commercial review of Rosslare Europort and is currently in the process of preparing a detailed business plan for the port, to include consideration of the implications of Brexit.

I urge you to build on this foundation and continue planning ahead for Rosslare.  Are you ready to trade with Britain as a third country?  How can you maximise your commercial and economic opportunities in shipping directly to France, giving our road hauliers the chance to avoid possible bottlenecks at UK ports?

A new round of seven-year EU regional policy programmes will need to be prepared in the next year or so, to run from 2021 to 2026.  Are you ready to take advantage of the funding opportunities?

Brexit is ten months away.  We will be helped by the proposal for a transition period until the end of 2020, which will keep things as they are for a little longer.  We are all well advised to use all the time we have for action.  But, bearing in mind the scale of what we are talking about, let us keep one thing in mind: time is short. Thank you.

 

08/06/2018

BREXIT:   Press statement by Michel Barnier following this week’s round of negotiations

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very happy to be here to debrief you on the round of negotiations which has just ended, less than three weeks from the European Council.

I would like to frankly present to you today, as I usually do, the three points of this negotiation:

  • The separation issues;
  • The major question of Ireland and Northern Ireland, in light of the UK paper presented yesterday;
  • The future partnership and the conditions to succeed.

First of all, a general remark:

It is now time to take decisions and make choices.

Time is short. In less than 10 months, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, as it so wished. And, I repeat, we must conclude an agreement on the orderly withdrawal by autumn to give the necessary time on both sides for ratification – which was always my objective.

We continue to work intensely and, on our side, we will continue to explain calmly and clearly our positions, as well as recalling – as is sometimes necessary – what the European Union, the Single Market and the Customs Union are.

And, seeing as time is short, I also recall that we are always available and ready to intensify the rhythm of our meetings and negotiations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I – First, a few words on this week’s work and on the separation topics.

We progressed over the past days on a certain number of subjects linked to the orderly withdrawal. These are called “other separation issues”.

We think that these subjects can be resolved before the next European Council, which means that, in the document you know well, we will probably change some yellow parts into green and some white parts into green.

Each of these subjects is obviously important to provide legal certainty where there is currently no legal certainty because of Brexit.

But there is a lot of work to be done on the three other separation issues, which are important, even very serious, for our businesses and citizens:

  • The protection of the personal data of EU citizens. We want that the data that has already been exchanged remains protected as it is today.
  • The protection of geographical indications, on which we still do not have any UK position. This subject is important for a lot of producers, for consumers, as much in the UK as in the 27 other countries of the European Union.
  • The infringement and administrative procedures concerning the UK which will be ongoing at the end of the transition, for example in the area of state aid. This is not a bureaucratic point. This is a point which concerns the financial interests of the Union.

Beyond these three points – on which we have worked a lot – there remain two major points of divergence:

  • The governance of the Withdrawal Agreement. I won’t elaborate further on this point today because I spoke at length on this a few days ago in Lisbon.
  • And obviously questions related to Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Ladies and gentlemen,

II – On Ireland and Northern Ireland, we also worked this week with the UK team on two important elements.

First, regulatory alignment.

This is about very concrete subjects: goods, agriculture, electricity, certain parts of environmental policy.

On these subjects, I would like to call for pragmatism from all sides, as I did recently during my trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland. On these concrete everyday topics, we need common rules to preserve the free movement of goods on the island and to preserve and encourage North-South cooperation.

During this visit – a month ago – everywhere I went, from Dundalk, to Newry, Derry-Londonderry and Dungannon, I was very interested to meet groups of farmers, businesses, young people, and women, who all told me the same thing. They told me about the importance of being able to circulate and move freely. And this is what we want to preserve in the agreement.

It is in Northern Ireland’s interest also to keep the same rules in these areas, and to avoid new barriers to the daily exchanges on the island.

It is in the interest of the farmers in Ireland and Northern Ireland that the same sanitary and phytosanitary rules apply, as is the case today.

The second points of discussions on Ireland and Northern Ireland this week concerned customs.

Speech continued

Ladies and gentlemen,

You have all seen the UK’s customs paper, which we received yesterday.

I welcomed the publication of this paper. It is good to see the UK engaging with us by proposing text.

As I said yesterday, we are examining this paper objectively, looking at three questions:

  1. First: Is this a workable solution to avoid a hard border?
  2. Second: Does it respect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union?
  3. Third: Is this an all-weather backstop?

Allow me to come back to each of these questions, which in turn, raise more specific ones.

1) First: Is this a workable solution to avoid a hard border?

  • The UK recognises that the proposals in its paper cannot qualify as a backstop since the issue of full regulatory alignment is not addressed. I repeat that we need regulatory alignment to avoid a hard border. How do we solve this issue?

2) Second question: Does the UK proposal respect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union?

  • The UK wants to continue benefiting from our free trade agreements. Does that mean that we will have to reopen, renegotiate or even re-ratify our existing agreements in order to keep the UK in our customs territory after the transition?
  • The UK tells us that it wants to avoid any control. How does that fit with the requirements of our VAT system?

3) Third question: Is this an all-weather backstop?

  • The UK calls this arrangement temporary. How does that fit with the need to secure the absence of a hard border in all circumstances?
  • Moreover, we had agreed with the UK on the principle that public authorities and businesses would need to adapt only once to the new situation created by Brexit – only once. Does the temporary nature of the customs arrangement mean that several adaptations will now be needed?

Ladies and gentlemen,

These questions require further discussion. The UK itself recognises that these questions are relevant and difficult.

But let me recall that our backstop provides answers to each of these questions.

It provides specific solutions to the unique situation of Northern Ireland.

The UK is taking a different angle, however. It is looking for a UK-wide solution.

Let me be clear: our backstop cannot be extended to the whole UK.

Why? Because it has been designed for the specific situation of Northern Ireland.

What does it do?

  • On customs, Northern Ireland would form part of our customs territory. What is feasible with a territory the size of Northern Ireland is not necessarily feasible with the whole UK.
  • On regulatory alignment, we have been pragmatic and developed the least disruptive system for citizens and businesses on both sides.

Let’s go back to pragmatism. Checks carried out on ferries are less disruptive than along a 500km-long land border.

In addition, these checks can build on arrangements and facilities which already exist – which already exist – between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland.

Obviously, behind all these rules, we want to preserve the fluidity and ease of trade and agricultural production on the island of Ireland.

And once again, we need such a solution in the Withdrawal Agreement by autumn.

We will not leave this issue unresolved.

Ladies and gentlemen,

III – My third and last point concerns the future relationship with the United Kingdom.

Following the mandate I received from the European Council in March, and as outlined by the European Parliament in its resolution, we are now discussing the framework for the future relationship, which will include an economic partnership and strategic cooperation in the area of security.

In all the UK papers that we have been receiving until now – which I read carefully with my team – there has been a request to maintain the status quo, a form of continuity, which is paradoxical seeing as the country decided itself to leave the European Union.

The United Kingdom seems to want to maintain the benefits of the current relationship, while leaving the EU regulatory, supervision, and application framework.

When we respond to UK leaders saying that these benefits are not accessible outside the EU system – because of their decision – some people in the UK try to blame us for the consequences of this.

I simply want to say that we will not be swayed, I will not be swayed, by this blame game.

The United Kingdom decided to leave the Union. We respect this democratic decision and we will implement it. The United Kingdom must assume the consequences.

If we want to construct a new relationship, we need a basis of trust. We also need more realism about what is and is not possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There are now two weeks left before the June European Council. I hope we will use this time to consolidate and make new progress in this difficult and complex negotiation.

Thank you for your attention.

 

STATEMENT/18/4105

07/06/2018

BREXIT:   Technical note on temporary customs arrangement

This document sets out the UK’s proposal for a ‘backstop’ customs arrangement between the UK and EU.

Technical note: temporary customs arrangement

 

07/06/2018

BREXIT:   Technical note on temporary customs arrangement

This document sets out the UK’s proposal for a ‘backstop’ customs arrangement between the UK and EU.

Technical note: temporary customs arrangement

 

06/06/2018

BREXIT:   Withdrawal Bill

Information about the Withdrawal Bill, which is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with maximum certainty, continuity and control

Documents

 

PDF, 135KB, 3 pages

 

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Details

The Bill is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with maximum certainty, continuity and control. As far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. This will allow the UK to leave the EU while ensuring that our future laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.

For businesses, workers and consumers across the UK that means they can have confidence that they will not be subject to unexpected changes on the day we leave the EU. It also delivers on our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

 

 

06/06/2018

BREXIT: House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

The future for food, farming and the environment

 

05/06/2018

BREXIT: EU-UK ARTICLE 5O NEGOTIATIONS BRUSSELS 05-08 JUNE

 

Programme

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

  • Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues
  • Northern Ireland/Ireland

 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

  • Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues
  • Future relationship

 

Thursday, 7 June 2018

  • Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues
  • Future relationship

 

Friday, 8 June 2018

  • Wrap-up session

 

22/05/2018

BREXIT: Checks and controls that need to be carried out on goods entering, transiting or leaving the customs territory of the European Union

 

Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct ofthe Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU.

 

Objective: Presented at the Council Working Party (Art. 50) on 18 May and to the  European Parliament Brexit Steering Group on 15 May.

 

Remarks: This slide highlights the checks and controls that need to be carried out on goods entering, transiting or leaving the customs territory of the European Union. These controls are carried out by customs authorities,

in close cooperation with other competent authorities, at the external border of the European Union. This slide also shows what checks and  controls are not required if there is a customs union between the EU

and a third country.

18/05/2018

BREXIT: Programme: EU-UK Article 50 negotiations – Brussels, 22-24 May 2018

 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

  • Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues
  • Future relationship

 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

  • Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues
  • Northern Ireland/Ireland
  • Future relationship

 

Thursday, 24 May 2018

  • Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues
  • Future relationship

 

Next meetings provisionally scheduled for w/c 4 June

15/05/2018

BREXIT: Michel Barniers’ Slide on the EU-UK Possible Framework for the Future Partnership Discussions. Read all about  it here

 

Remarks: Presented by Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator, to the General Affairs Council (Article 50) on 14 May and to the European Parliament Brexit

Steering Group on 15 May. The content is without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship.

 

14/05/2018

BREXIT : Speech by Michel Barnier at the EU Institute for Security Studies conference

“The future of the EU Foreign, Security and Defence Policy post Brexit”

Dear Federica,
Ladies and gentlemen,
General, dear Jorge,
Ambassadors,

Our future partnership with the UK must go beyond trade. The European Union has said this many times before.

It should, in particular, include a strong pillar in foreign, security and defence policy.

So, let me thank the EU Institute for Security Studies for this opportunity today to discuss this future cooperation, together with Federica Mogherini.

Gustav, your institute is the place for creative thinking in foreign policy and security – exactly what we need for this discussion.

***

Back in April 2017, the European Council expressed its readiness to establish a close partnership with the UK in foreign, security and defence policy.

What unites us here is stronger – much stronger – than what divides us.

This was demonstrated after the attack in Salisbury. The EU reacted with a great sense of unity and solidarity with the UK.

10 months from the day of Brexit, our clear sign to the UK and the international community is that the security of the European Union and the UK is bound together.

• There is still a lot of uncertainty. Negotiations on the future with the UK have not started yet. We have had a first exploratory discussion.
• But there should be no uncertainty about our commitment to a future security partnership: security challenges are, by their nature, cross-border.

Solidarity is not to be negotiated. Any trade-off between security and trade would lead to an historic failure – and it would be a strategic mistake, benefiting those who want to weaken us.

We therefore welcome the UK’s commitment to Europe’s security, as restated in the recently published UK paper “Framework for the UK-EU Security Partnership”.

***

In the future, the EU will take decisions on the basis of the interests of the EU27. And it will respect the UK’s sovereignty.

But the EU and the UK’s interests are likely to overlap in foreign, security and defence policy.

As a consequence, I firmly believe that a close partnership is in our mutual interest.

We should join forces and protect our citizens against global threats, such as terrorism – which struck again in Paris this weekend – cyber-attacks or hybrid-threats.

We should join forces and shape the global order:

• We must continue to secure the nuclear deal in Iran together.
• We must work towards a political process to bring an end to the conflict in Syria.
• We will need to work with our African partners to combat poverty and address the root causes of migration.
• We will need to continue our work towards peace in the Middle East and continue to defend a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. I say this with today’s tragic events in mind.

On these and other foreign policy challenges, the EU must continue to be at the forefront. As a credible but frank partner to the US. And in honest discussions in particular with China and Russia. The EU is a global actor and will remain so after Brexit: it will continue honouring its responsibilities worldwide.

The EU does not act in isolation. It has always favoured multilateral and international cooperation.

And the UK will be one of our most important partners. Not least because of its permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

***

SPEECH CONTINUED

Ladies and gentlemen,

Prime Minister Theresa May said in Munich that the UK as a third country will pursue an independent foreign policy in the future.

But it is also clear that it will be in the UK’s interest to remain close to the values and objectives of the EU’s foreign and security policy. That is why we will keep the door open for close cooperation.

Obviously, post-Brexit, our solidarity will be organised on a different basis. We respect the sovereign decision of the UK to leave the Union.

Yet, being a third country does not mean that the UK cannot have an ambitious partnership with the EU.

This applies in particular to Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Security and Defence Policy, which are subject to specific rules and procedures.

These EU policies have developed over time in a flexible manner. And we cooperate with many partners.

• More than 25 third countries have participated in EU-led operations.

• The European Defence Agency, dear Jorge, cooperates today with 4 third country partners.

• And Federica has just mentioned a new partnership framework to enhance cooperation with third countries in the field of defence.

While more work is needed to prepare for the UK’s orderly withdrawal, we have begun discussions on our future partnership.

These discussions are based on the guidelines adopted by the European Council in March and include a part on foreign, security and defence policy.

I just showed the Ministers for Foreign Affairs what the architecture could be of the discussions with the UK, based on four pillars: Trade, specific cooperation, internal security and external security. Following the European Council Guidelines, we have to begin now, on an operational basis, this discussion with the UK.

I will work in close cooperation with Federica and her services. And I will, of course, consider the close relationship we already have with partners, such as Norway.

The UK has decided to leave the Union and become a third country. As a consequence, the UK will not have the same rights as EU Member States.

• It will no longer participate in the decision-making of the EU.
• It will no longer have the ability to shape and lead the EU’s collective actions.
• British entities will no longer have the same rights as EU entities.

These are the legal mechanic consequences of Brexit.

And the reality is that political and legal arrangements with a third country cannot be a substitute for all the benefits of EU membership.

But our future partnership could be underpinned by a set of mechanisms – dialogue, consultation, coordination, cooperation, exchange of information.

It could include five dimensions:

1) First, close and regular consultations with the UK on foreign policy.

• A shared assessment of geopolitical challenges will facilitate the convergence and consistency of our external action.
• This will notably be the case for restrictive measures. Dialogue and information-sharing regarding EU sanctions will facilitate the UK’s alignment with the EU.

2) Second, when projecting the EU’s support worldwide, we will be open to the UK’s contribution.

• In development aid, the EU and its Member States are the world’s leading donors.

We are open to contributions from third countries and to local joint programming. We hope that the UK will make use of these possibilities.

• In EU-led operations, it is no secret that the UK’s contribution has been rather marginal so far.

We would of course welcome its participation in EU-led operations in the future, considering that the UK has strategic military assets.

3) Third, in defence matters, the UK should have the possibility – where it will add value – to actively take part in a number of the European Defence Agency’s Research and Technology projects.

• We should, however, keep in mind that industrial cooperation, also in the field of defence, is intertwined with EU rules underpinning the Single Market. This will in particular apply to the European Defence Fund.

4) Fourth, exchanging information on incidents will make us collectively more effective in fighting cyber-attacks.

5) Finally, this future relationship should be underpinned by a Security of Information Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom.
It will provide for the exchange and protection of classified information. It will facilitate the exchange of intelligence, as mentioned today in Berlin by Andrew Parker, the Chief of MI5.

Ladies and gentlemen,

One word on Galileo. There have recently been many press articles – and many misunderstandings.

The UK decided unilaterally and autonomously to withdraw from the EU. This implies leaving its programmes as well.

So, we need to put the cooperation on Galileo between the EU and the UK on a new basis.

In doing so, our responsibility is to maintain the autonomy of the EU and to protect our essential security interests.

The EU’s rules on Galileo have been in place for a long time, and are well known to the UK.

In particular, third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.

Those rules were adopted together by unanimity with the UK as a member, and they have not changed.

Those rules do not prevent the UK, as a third country, from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the UK are in place.

***

Ladies and gentlemen,

The level of ambition of our future partnership will very much depend on the UK’s readiness to commit.

The more the UK converges with EU foreign policy and substantially engages alongside the EU, the closer the cooperation is likely to be.

Of course, some defence and intelligence actions take place outside the framework of the EU, such as in NATO. Bilateral relationships will also continue to develop. And the UK will continue to operate with partners in ad hoc groupings, such as recently in Syria.

Yet, the EU is more than a coalition of the willing.

It is a Union.

• A Union at 27 Member States and of 440 million citizens that provides for stability and certainty in a volatile environment.
• A Union that roots its action in multilateralism, defends and projects values globally and deploys a vast set of instruments.
• A Union that is strong enough to best address current and future challenges.

It seems natural, therefore, that we should build our cooperation together, rather than build it piecemeal. This cooperation should be based on an alignment of foreign policy objectives, rather than short term and ad hoc interests.

***

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will keep the door open to the UK as a third country.

At the same time, our priority is to continue deepening our policies in defence and security.

President Juncker has called for a European Defence Union. President Macron for European sovereignty. Chancellor Merkel for a Union that shapes its own destiny.

The Union is enhancing its ability to act globally, with for example the European Defence Fund, EU space programmes, EU cyber-security centre of excellence. And the Union will continue to develop its partnership with NATO, in the spirit of the joint declaration signed in Warsaw in July 2016.

There is no ideology on the EU’s side. No emotion. No willingness to punish. Never.

But ambition and respect for our rules.

As I said in Berlin last November, our future relationship in the field of foreign, defence and security policy should not be designed through the lens of the past.

Rather it should take into account the geopolitical challenges of tomorrow.

This is the spirit in which we will prepare, for October, the political declaration on the framework for the future relationship– provided that the Withdrawal Agreement is finalised.

Allow me to repeat myself: we are not there yet.

To be clear, if you look at the draft Withdrawal Agreement, 75% of it is in green. This is a good point. The last 25%, which remain, in particular the Irish and Northern Ireland case, are very serious. We are not there yet, but are now working on this future framework, which must be ambitious.

Thank you very much for your attention.

SPEECH/18/3785

08/05/2018

BREXIT : Topics for discussions on the future framework at forthcoming meetings

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSIONS ON THE FUTURE FRAMEWORK AT FORTHCOMING MEETINGS

Basis for co-operation, discussions will include:

  • Structure
  • Governance
  • Interpretation and application
  • Dispute settlement
  • Non-compliance
  • Participation and cooperation with EU bodies

 

Economic partnership, discussions will include:

  • Aims of the economic partnership
  • Goods
  • Agricultural, food and fisheries products
  • Customs
  • Services and investment
  • Financial services
  • Digital and broadcasting
  • Transport
  • Energy
  • Horizontal measures / Level Playing Field
  • Mobility framework

 

Security partnership, discussions will include

  • Aims of the security partnership
  • Law enforcement and criminal justice
  • Foreign, security and defence
  • Wider security issues

 

Cross-cutting cooperation and standalone issues, discussions will include:

  • Data protection
  • Cooperative accords (science and innovation/culture and education)
  • Fishing opportunities

03/05/2018

BREXIT : General Affairs Council (Art. 50) 14 May – Agenda highlights

The Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will inform the Council, meeting in an EU 27 format, about the state of play of the Brexit negotiations.

Ministers will have the opportunity to discuss the current situation, concerning:

  • completion of work on withdrawal issues, to finalise the draft withdrawal agreement
  • discussions on the EU’s future relationship with the UK, the outcome of which will be reflected in a political declaration

The Council will also begin preparations for the next European Council (Article 50), meeting in June 2018, by examining the annotated draft agenda.

SPEECH CONTINUED

In May last year, when I returned to the border region at Lough Egish, County Monaghan, there was no physical border to be seen.

But, over the last 20 years, the Good Friday Agreement has meant – of course – far more than just removing customs and physical barriers. It removed borders on maps but also in minds.

The Good Friday Agreement created wide-ranging cooperation between North and South, and between communities: from energy and food safety, education and research – for instance here in Dundalk Institute of Technology – to human rights, or the cooperation between young people –as your programme today shows.

All of this was made possible thanks to the open border. All of this should be protected and cherished. So, there is no way back. There is no alternative but to protect this progress. The consequences of Brexit should not and must not lead to the return of a hard border, neither on maps nor in minds.

That is why the EU made Ireland one of the three key priorities, with the citizens’ rights and the financial settlement, right from the start of the negotiations.

And this is why we insist on the need to have a backstop as part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In December, the UK agreed that, unless and until another solution is found, Northern Ireland will maintain full alignment with the rules of the Single Market and the Customs Union which support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy, and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I know that this backstop was the subject of heated discussions in the UK. I understand that.

So, today I would like to make just three points to avoid any misunderstandings.

1) First, both sides in this negotiation are firmly committed to a backstop. It is a guarantee to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

In March, in a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed her commitment to including operational legal text on the backstop in the Withdrawal Agreement.

To be clear: without a backstop, there can be no Withdrawal Agreement. This is an EU issue, not only an Irish issue.

I can assure you that Ireland has the full support of all Member States and all EU institutions: the European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission under President Jean-Claude Juncker and of all Commissioners, not least Phil Hogan.

Solidarity is an essential feature of these negotiations.As is the unity of the 27. And the Taoiseach underlined this eloquently in Leuven last week.

Defence of any Member States’ vital interests is one of the EU’s raisons d’être.

2) My second point is that the backstop is not part of a negotiation strategy. We are not playing tactics with Ireland’s vital interest.

I sometimes hear that, by insisting on a backstop, the EU is taking hostage the future relationship negotiations.

I even read that the EU is trying to get the UK to change its red lines – and stay in the Single Market and/or a customs union. Or even to reverse Brexit.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is wrong. The backstop is not there to changethe UK’s red lines. It is there because of the UK’s red lines.

The UK’s decision to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union creates a risk that the hard border will return. This is why it is necessary to have a self-standing backstop solution. To be clear, once again the backstop was drafted in full respect of the UK’s red lines.

Ladies and gentlemen,

3) My third point is that the backstop is needed in order to respect the integrity of the Single Market and the EU’s Customs Union.

Some people think that we could have two different sets of rules on the island of Ireland and still avoid border checks.

But Ireland is a member of the EU – and a proudmember, I add. It is an active player, active, very active player, in the Single Market.

Goods that enter Ireland also enter the Single Market. It is called the “Single” Market for a reason.

So, since we all agree that we do not want a border, and since the UK agreed to respect Ireland’s place in the Single Market, then that means goods entering Northern Ireland must comply with the rules of the Single Market and the Union Customs Code.

That is our logic. Simple as that.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU does not want to have a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

And we have no intention of questioning the UK’s constitutional order. That is none of our business.

We are seeking practical, practical and operational,solutions to a complex problem. No more, no less.

  • Our backstop solution only concerns goods – not people. People will continue to move freely between Ireland and the UK. And obviously between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. We agreed to protect the Common Travel Area. That was important progress.
    • And regulatory alignment with the Single Market would be strictly limited to what is needed to avoid a hard border, notably for goods.
  • We know that there are already special rules and checks, I know that, in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK. There are all-island phytosanitary and veterinary rules, or rules where food safety and consumer protection is at stake. And everybody is fine with that because in all these cases, it would make no sense to have two separate sets of rules on the same island. Practical and operational solutions.

Finally, the backstop will apply unless and until another solution is found as part of the future relationship.

We are ready to look constructively at all options which allow us to meet our objectives – all options.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is the EU’s position, which is built in close cooperation with the Irish government and all Irish political leaders. And this is what I underlined, on the same terms, in my recent meetings with the leaders of Sinn Féin, the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party. And I look forward to confirm this position to the SDLP and the Alliance, and of course also to business representatives and civil society.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need substantive progress on the backstop before the June European Council.

I am confident that together, with the unity of the 27 and a constructive attitude on both sides, we will be able to agree on the right solution for avoiding a hard border and maintaining North-South cooperation in all its diversity. In all its creativity.

Let me conclude: agreement on the orderly withdrawal, including the backstop for Ireland, will pave the way for constructive negotiations for a broad partnership for the future – not only on economics and trade, but also on a lot of areas of thematic cooperation – I am thinking of aviation, Erasmus + for the young, on internal and external security, defence and foreign policy.

Together as the EU, together with the UK, we will move forward.

I want to thank finally for your attention and for your trust.

SPEECH/18/3624

26/04/2018

BREXIT : Speech by Michel Barnier at the Eurofi High-level Seminar 2018

Sofia, 26 April 2018

Dear David, dear Didier,

Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is good to be back at Eurofi!

We met many times during the financial crisis. I am sure nobody here is nostalgic about that period. No nostalgia, but no short memories either!

I am glad to speak to you during better economic times than the last time we met.

  • Last year EU growth reached 2.4% – the highest percentage in a decade.
  • The labour market continues to improve, with unemployment down to 7.5% in the EU.
  • Public finances are improving.
  • And investment is recovering, supported by strong demand and good financing conditions.

At the same time, the EU faces challenges:

  • Unemployment remains high in some parts of the EU, and the increase in wages remains limited.
  • Even if it is improving, investment remains too low.
  • As a result, core inflation is subdued.
  • The EU could also be impacted by global risks, such as:

o   A tightening of financial conditions in the medium term;

o   Geopolitical tensions and a shift towards protectionism globally.

  • And of course, Brexit is also one of the various challenges that we face.

Brexit is a lose-lose situation. I do not see add value in Brexit and so far, nobody has shown us any.

  • Outside of the Customs Union and the Single Market, there can be no frictionless trade.
  • Businesses will be faced with non-tariff barriers and border checks that do not exist today.
  • For many economic sectors, this will have an impact on value chains, which are currently closely integrated.
  • This will impact in particular manufacturing and logistics, as well as the agricultural and food sectors.
  • The situation would be made worse in a “no deal” scenario, which would result in the return of tariffs, under WTO rules.

So, Brexit will come at a cost.

And this cost will be substantially higher for the UK than for the EU. Let me make 4 points:

  1. Trade dependency is far higher on the UK side. The EU27 accounts for around 50% of UK export and imports. The UK market represents around 7% of EU exports and 4% of imports. Some EU regions are of course more exposed to the UK than others. We will be very attentive regarding this impact.
  2. The UK attracts Foreign Direct Investment to serve broader EU markets. With unavoidable friction and non-tariff barriers, some companies will need to rethink their business models.
  3. EU talent may find the UK to be a less attractive place. This could generate skills shortages, for instance in the health sector.
  4. Finally, the UK is currently covered by 750 international agreements as an EU Member State. After Brexit, the UK will have to negotiate its own agreements – not only in trade – but also, for instance, in aviation. The UK will need a new administrative capacity.

SPEECH CONTINUED

But we, in the EU, will also need to face the consequences of Brexit.

We need to accelerate reforms that are ongoing to build a stronger Euro Area and a stronger Single Market.

  • We must boost confidence in the Eurozone by completing the Economic and Monetary Union,

o   For instance, by transforming the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund;

o   And with a stabilisation tool to help Member States with large asymmetric shocks, which cannot be managed at national level alone.

  • We must complete the Banking Union, in particular with a common backstop for resolution, measures to tackle the issue of non-performing loans and a European Deposit Insurance Scheme.
  • And we must continue building a Capital Markets Union at 27 to open up markets, give EU businesses better access to finance and provide more investment opportunities for savers. For the CMU, new technologies and digitalisation are of key importance, as is shown by Valdis Dombrovskis’ FinTech Action Plan. And I would like to also salute the work of Mariya Gabriel, the Bulgarian Commissioner who, in a dynamic manner, steers the work of the Commission on the Digital Single Market.

All these reforms, on which Valdis will give you more insight in a few moments, were decided before Brexit. But Brexit makes implementing them even more urgent.

Indeed, the UK decision will fragment a market that we have integrated step-by-step at 28. That integration must continue at 27.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is ready to handle the costs caused by the UK’s decision to leave.

  • Some argue that the EU desperately needs the City of London, and that access to financing for EU27 business would be hampered – and economic growth undermined – without giving UK operators the same market access as today.
  • This is not what we hear from market participants, and it is not the analysis that we have made ourselves.
  • The ECB states clearly in its Financial Stability Review of last November[1] that: “the risk that access to wholesale and retail financial services would be materially restricted for the euro area economy appears limited.”

On the UK side, Prime Minister Theresa May has clarified that the UK is not looking for passporting. It is positive that there is now more recognition of the cost of Brexit for the UK.

But the Prime Minister also asked for mechanisms to continue the exchange of services in each other’s markets, “based on the UK and EU maintaining the same regulatory outcomes over time”.

I can perfectly see the UK’s logic and interest in pleading for a system of “mutual recognition” and “reciprocal regulatory equivalence”. This is, indeed, what the Single Market achieves!

“Everything must change so that everything can stay the same”, to paraphrase Lampedusa. But this will not work.

The UK has decided to withdraw from the Union. It wants to be sovereign and be able to set its own rulebook, to have its own supervision and enforcement system.

In doing so, the UK will move away from EU rules. It will not accept common EU supervision and enforcement tools. These are precisely the essential building blocks of our post-crisis financial regulation. They ensure that the internal market can exist and function correctly.

The EU understands that the UK does not want to become a ‘rule-taker’.

But the UK also needs to understand that the EU cannot accept mutual market access without the common safeguards that underpin it.

This is needed to maintain financial stability, investor protection, market integrity and a level playing field.

This objective would not be reached if financial institutions could operate in the EU, or serve clients in the EU, based on an authorisation by the supervisors of a third country, subject to the rules, supervision and enforcement mechanisms of this third country alone.

This is not something that any country in the world would accept. That said, the EU is and will remain the most open market in the world. As Valdis Dombrovskis said in the City of London on Tuesday, no other jurisdiction operates a framework that is more open, comprehensive and rule-based for third countries.

And the EU intends to keep the Single Market open with third countries, in general, including the UK.

  • In the EU, free movement of capital is open for third countries.
  • As regards market access to provide services, the European Council made clear that our future FTA with the UK should include the right of establishment, with EU rules applying.
  • And where allowed by our legislation, the EU will be able to declare some of the UK’s rules and supervisory systems as equivalent.

On the future of equivalence, ladies and gentlemen, I want to make three points.

1) First, there is no intention of discriminating against the UK, post-Brexit.

In financial services, as in other sectors, there is no intention of punishment or revenge.

The world of finance is global and interdependent. We have a mutual interest in working together, not separately.

To date, the EU has adopted more than 200 equivalence decisions covering more than 30 non-member countries.

And we are improving the equivalence process. We have made new proposals with EMIR step 2 and the Investment Firm Review, and we started the process of improving equivalence with the ESAs Review.

Why would the equivalence system, which works well for the US industry, not work for the City?

2) Secondly, the equivalence system will operate in a more effective manner if the UK decides not to diverge from our financial regulation.

Let’s not have a short memory! We all saw during the crisis that the risks of financial instability were ultimately borne by taxpayers – not only in the UK.

We saw for instance that remuneration of bankers set the wrong incentives and allowed excessive risk-taking.

And since the financial crisis evolved into an economic and social crisis, the consequences were indeed borne by society, from the young unemployed to the owners of small businesses. And I am not even mentioning the political consequences: nobody should underestimate these!

In order to limit the risks in the future, we collectively developed, together with the G20, more effective financial regulation and supervision. And we were very happy to do this hand-in-hand with the UK.

We need to keep this joint regulatory effort in mind, and be ready to exchange our ideas for future rules in the context of a close and voluntary regulatory cooperation.

3) Thirdly, the 21-month transition period that we have proposed could be useful to prepare for the new relationship.

That transition will also allow the EU to consider the adoption of equivalence decisions.

However, certainty about this transition period will only come once the whole Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed and ratified.

In the meantime, both market participants and public authorities should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

In other words, for as long as the ratification has not taken place, we need to be ready in case of a “no deal, no transition” scenario. This is our collective responsibility.

We have made good progress in the last 6 months, but we are not there yet. There is difficult work ahead before the June European Council.

This means that market participants and public authorities must continue to prepare for all scenarios. No one should underestimate the risk of disagreement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is ready to engage in close cooperation with the UK and consider equivalence decisions, where needed. Since he is going to speak in a moment, I want to publicly thank Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as DG FISMA, for their excellent cooperation on Brexit issues.

But the UK, which has acknowledged that its current red lines mean losing the financial passport, must also acknowledge that it cannot have the benefits of such passports.

And market participants should realise that this will not be business as usual.

In order to accompany that process, the European Commission has issued notices on asset management, credit-rating agencies, markets in financial instruments, insurance and reinsurance, banking and payment services, statutory audit and post-trade financial services.

We hope that these notices will be helpful. All market participants, big and small, will have to adapt to the new reality.

I know how mobile and dynamic the financial industry is. I trust its capacity to adapt to new times and to continue their contribution to the development of the Capital Markets Union and EU’s Single Market in financial services.

We should look at the future not with fear of the unknown but with confidence in well-regulated and supervised markets.

  • Europe will continue to be an open and attractive place to do business.
  • London will continue to be a global financial centre.
  • A significant level of financial relationship will remain, properly managed and supervised.
  • Firms will adjust their business models to the new reality.
  • And public authorities will ensure that risks to financial stability are properly supervised and that rules are enforced.

Thank you for your attention.

26/04/2018

BREXIT : Speech by Michel Barnier at the Eurofi High-level Seminar 2018

Sofia, 26 April 2018

Dear David, dear Didier,

Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is good to be back at Eurofi!

We met many times during the financial crisis. I am sure nobody here is nostalgic about that period. No nostalgia, but no short memories either!

I am glad to speak to you during better economic times than the last time we met.

  • Last year EU growth reached 2.4% – the highest percentage in a decade.
  • The labour market continues to improve, with unemployment down to 7.5% in the EU.
  • Public finances are improving.
  • And investment is recovering, supported by strong demand and good financing conditions.

At the same time, the EU faces challenges:

  • Unemployment remains high in some parts of the EU, and the increase in wages remains limited.
  • Even if it is improving, investment remains too low.
  • As a result, core inflation is subdued.
  • The EU could also be impacted by global risks, such as:

o   A tightening of financial conditions in the medium term;

o   Geopolitical tensions and a shift towards protectionism globally.

  • And of course, Brexit is also one of the various challenges that we face.

Brexit is a lose-lose situation. I do not see add value in Brexit and so far, nobody has shown us any.

  • Outside of the Customs Union and the Single Market, there can be no frictionless trade.
  • Businesses will be faced with non-tariff barriers and border checks that do not exist today.
  • For many economic sectors, this will have an impact on value chains, which are currently closely integrated.
  • This will impact in particular manufacturing and logistics, as well as the agricultural and food sectors.
  • The situation would be made worse in a “no deal” scenario, which would result in the return of tariffs, under WTO rules.

So, Brexit will come at a cost.

And this cost will be substantially higher for the UK than for the EU. Let me make 4 points:

  1. Trade dependency is far higher on the UK side. The EU27 accounts for around 50% of UK export and imports. The UK market represents around 7% of EU exports and 4% of imports. Some EU regions are of course more exposed to the UK than others. We will be very attentive regarding this impact.
  2. The UK attracts Foreign Direct Investment to serve broader EU markets. With unavoidable friction and non-tariff barriers, some companies will need to rethink their business models.
  3. EU talent may find the UK to be a less attractive place. This could generate skills shortages, for instance in the health sector.
  4. Finally, the UK is currently covered by 750 international agreements as an EU Member State. After Brexit, the UK will have to negotiate its own agreements – not only in trade – but also, for instance, in aviation. The UK will need a new administrative capacity.

SPEECH CONTINUED

But we, in the EU, will also need to face the consequences of Brexit.

We need to accelerate reforms that are ongoing to build a stronger Euro Area and a stronger Single Market.

  • We must boost confidence in the Eurozone by completing the Economic and Monetary Union,

o   For instance, by transforming the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund;

o   And with a stabilisation tool to help Member States with large asymmetric shocks, which cannot be managed at national level alone.

  • We must complete the Banking Union, in particular with a common backstop for resolution, measures to tackle the issue of non-performing loans and a European Deposit Insurance Scheme.
  • And we must continue building a Capital Markets Union at 27 to open up markets, give EU businesses better access to finance and provide more investment opportunities for savers. For the CMU, new technologies and digitalisation are of key importance, as is shown by Valdis Dombrovskis’ FinTech Action Plan. And I would like to also salute the work of Mariya Gabriel, the Bulgarian Commissioner who, in a dynamic manner, steers the work of the Commission on the Digital Single Market.

All these reforms, on which Valdis will give you more insight in a few moments, were decided before Brexit. But Brexit makes implementing them even more urgent.

Indeed, the UK decision will fragment a market that we have integrated step-by-step at 28. That integration must continue at 27.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is ready to handle the costs caused by the UK’s decision to leave.

  • Some argue that the EU desperately needs the City of London, and that access to financing for EU27 business would be hampered – and economic growth undermined – without giving UK operators the same market access as today.
  • This is not what we hear from market participants, and it is not the analysis that we have made ourselves.
  • The ECB states clearly in its Financial Stability Review of last November[1] that: “the risk that access to wholesale and retail financial services would be materially restricted for the euro area economy appears limited.”

On the UK side, Prime Minister Theresa May has clarified that the UK is not looking for passporting. It is positive that there is now more recognition of the cost of Brexit for the UK.

But the Prime Minister also asked for mechanisms to continue the exchange of services in each other’s markets, “based on the UK and EU maintaining the same regulatory outcomes over time”.

I can perfectly see the UK’s logic and interest in pleading for a system of “mutual recognition” and “reciprocal regulatory equivalence”. This is, indeed, what the Single Market achieves!

“Everything must change so that everything can stay the same”, to paraphrase Lampedusa. But this will not work.

The UK has decided to withdraw from the Union. It wants to be sovereign and be able to set its own rulebook, to have its own supervision and enforcement system.

In doing so, the UK will move away from EU rules. It will not accept common EU supervision and enforcement tools. These are precisely the essential building blocks of our post-crisis financial regulation. They ensure that the internal market can exist and function correctly.

The EU understands that the UK does not want to become a ‘rule-taker’.

But the UK also needs to understand that the EU cannot accept mutual market access without the common safeguards that underpin it.

This is needed to maintain financial stability, investor protection, market integrity and a level playing field.

This objective would not be reached if financial institutions could operate in the EU, or serve clients in the EU, based on an authorisation by the supervisors of a third country, subject to the rules, supervision and enforcement mechanisms of this third country alone.

This is not something that any country in the world would accept. That said, the EU is and will remain the most open market in the world. As Valdis Dombrovskis said in the City of London on Tuesday, no other jurisdiction operates a framework that is more open, comprehensive and rule-based for third countries.

And the EU intends to keep the Single Market open with third countries, in general, including the UK.

  • In the EU, free movement of capital is open for third countries.
  • As regards market access to provide services, the European Council made clear that our future FTA with the UK should include the right of establishment, with EU rules applying.
  • And where allowed by our legislation, the EU will be able to declare some of the UK’s rules and supervisory systems as equivalent.

On the future of equivalence, ladies and gentlemen, I want to make three points.

1) First, there is no intention of discriminating against the UK, post-Brexit.

In financial services, as in other sectors, there is no intention of punishment or revenge.

The world of finance is global and interdependent. We have a mutual interest in working together, not separately.

To date, the EU has adopted more than 200 equivalence decisions covering more than 30 non-member countries.

And we are improving the equivalence process. We have made new proposals with EMIR step 2 and the Investment Firm Review, and we started the process of improving equivalence with the ESAs Review.

Why would the equivalence system, which works well for the US industry, not work for the City?

2) Secondly, the equivalence system will operate in a more effective manner if the UK decides not to diverge from our financial regulation.

Let’s not have a short memory! We all saw during the crisis that the risks of financial instability were ultimately borne by taxpayers – not only in the UK.

We saw for instance that remuneration of bankers set the wrong incentives and allowed excessive risk-taking.

And since the financial crisis evolved into an economic and social crisis, the consequences were indeed borne by society, from the young unemployed to the owners of small businesses. And I am not even mentioning the political consequences: nobody should underestimate these!

In order to limit the risks in the future, we collectively developed, together with the G20, more effective financial regulation and supervision. And we were very happy to do this hand-in-hand with the UK.

We need to keep this joint regulatory effort in mind, and be ready to exchange our ideas for future rules in the context of a close and voluntary regulatory cooperation.

3) Thirdly, the 21-month transition period that we have proposed could be useful to prepare for the new relationship.

That transition will also allow the EU to consider the adoption of equivalence decisions.

However, certainty about this transition period will only come once the whole Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed and ratified.

In the meantime, both market participants and public authorities should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

In other words, for as long as the ratification has not taken place, we need to be ready in case of a “no deal, no transition” scenario. This is our collective responsibility.

We have made good progress in the last 6 months, but we are not there yet. There is difficult work ahead before the June European Council.

This means that market participants and public authorities must continue to prepare for all scenarios. No one should underestimate the risk of disagreement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is ready to engage in close cooperation with the UK and consider equivalence decisions, where needed. Since he is going to speak in a moment, I want to publicly thank Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as DG FISMA, for their excellent cooperation on Brexit issues.

But the UK, which has acknowledged that its current red lines mean losing the financial passport, must also acknowledge that it cannot have the benefits of such passports.

And market participants should realise that this will not be business as usual.

In order to accompany that process, the European Commission has issued notices on asset management, credit-rating agencies, markets in financial instruments, insurance and reinsurance, banking and payment services, statutory audit and post-trade financial services.

We hope that these notices will be helpful. All market participants, big and small, will have to adapt to the new reality.

I know how mobile and dynamic the financial industry is. I trust its capacity to adapt to new times and to continue their contribution to the development of the Capital Markets Union and EU’s Single Market in financial services.

We should look at the future not with fear of the unknown but with confidence in well-regulated and supervised markets.

  • Europe will continue to be an open and attractive place to do business.
  • London will continue to be a global financial centre.
  • A significant level of financial relationship will remain, properly managed and supervised.
  • Firms will adjust their business models to the new reality.
  • And public authorities will ensure that risks to financial stability are properly supervised and that rules are enforced.

Thank you for your attention.

26/04/2018

BREXIT : Speech by Michel Barnier at the Eurofi High-level Seminar 2018

Sofia, 26 April 2018

Dear David, dear Didier,

Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is good to be back at Eurofi!

We met many times during the financial crisis. I am sure nobody here is nostalgic about that period. No nostalgia, but no short memories either!

I am glad to speak to you during better economic times than the last time we met.

  • Last year EU growth reached 2.4% – the highest percentage in a decade.
  • The labour market continues to improve, with unemployment down to 7.5% in the EU.
  • Public finances are improving.
  • And investment is recovering, supported by strong demand and good financing conditions.

At the same time, the EU faces challenges:

  • Unemployment remains high in some parts of the EU, and the increase in wages remains limited.
  • Even if it is improving, investment remains too low.
  • As a result, core inflation is subdued.
  • The EU could also be impacted by global risks, such as:

o   A tightening of financial conditions in the medium term;

o   Geopolitical tensions and a shift towards protectionism globally.

  • And of course, Brexit is also one of the various challenges that we face.

Brexit is a lose-lose situation. I do not see add value in Brexit and so far, nobody has shown us any.

  • Outside of the Customs Union and the Single Market, there can be no frictionless trade.
  • Businesses will be faced with non-tariff barriers and border checks that do not exist today.
  • For many economic sectors, this will have an impact on value chains, which are currently closely integrated.
  • This will impact in particular manufacturing and logistics, as well as the agricultural and food sectors.
  • The situation would be made worse in a “no deal” scenario, which would result in the return of tariffs, under WTO rules.

So, Brexit will come at a cost.

And this cost will be substantially higher for the UK than for the EU. Let me make 4 points:

  1. Trade dependency is far higher on the UK side. The EU27 accounts for around 50% of UK export and imports. The UK market represents around 7% of EU exports and 4% of imports. Some EU regions are of course more exposed to the UK than others. We will be very attentive regarding this impact.
  2. The UK attracts Foreign Direct Investment to serve broader EU markets. With unavoidable friction and non-tariff barriers, some companies will need to rethink their business models.
  3. EU talent may find the UK to be a less attractive place. This could generate skills shortages, for instance in the health sector.
  4. Finally, the UK is currently covered by 750 international agreements as an EU Member State. After Brexit, the UK will have to negotiate its own agreements – not only in trade – but also, for instance, in aviation. The UK will need a new administrative capacity.

SPEECH CONTINUED

But we, in the EU, will also need to face the consequences of Brexit.

We need to accelerate reforms that are ongoing to build a stronger Euro Area and a stronger Single Market.

  • We must boost confidence in the Eurozone by completing the Economic and Monetary Union,

o   For instance, by transforming the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund;

o   And with a stabilisation tool to help Member States with large asymmetric shocks, which cannot be managed at national level alone.

  • We must complete the Banking Union, in particular with a common backstop for resolution, measures to tackle the issue of non-performing loans and a European Deposit Insurance Scheme.
  • And we must continue building a Capital Markets Union at 27 to open up markets, give EU businesses better access to finance and provide more investment opportunities for savers. For the CMU, new technologies and digitalisation are of key importance, as is shown by Valdis Dombrovskis’ FinTech Action Plan. And I would like to also salute the work of Mariya Gabriel, the Bulgarian Commissioner who, in a dynamic manner, steers the work of the Commission on the Digital Single Market.

All these reforms, on which Valdis will give you more insight in a few moments, were decided before Brexit. But Brexit makes implementing them even more urgent.

Indeed, the UK decision will fragment a market that we have integrated step-by-step at 28. That integration must continue at 27.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is ready to handle the costs caused by the UK’s decision to leave.

  • Some argue that the EU desperately needs the City of London, and that access to financing for EU27 business would be hampered – and economic growth undermined – without giving UK operators the same market access as today.
  • This is not what we hear from market participants, and it is not the analysis that we have made ourselves.
  • The ECB states clearly in its Financial Stability Review of last November[1] that: “the risk that access to wholesale and retail financial services would be materially restricted for the euro area economy appears limited.”

On the UK side, Prime Minister Theresa May has clarified that the UK is not looking for passporting. It is positive that there is now more recognition of the cost of Brexit for the UK.

But the Prime Minister also asked for mechanisms to continue the exchange of services in each other’s markets, “based on the UK and EU maintaining the same regulatory outcomes over time”.

I can perfectly see the UK’s logic and interest in pleading for a system of “mutual recognition” and “reciprocal regulatory equivalence”. This is, indeed, what the Single Market achieves!

“Everything must change so that everything can stay the same”, to paraphrase Lampedusa. But this will not work.

The UK has decided to withdraw from the Union. It wants to be sovereign and be able to set its own rulebook, to have its own supervision and enforcement system.

In doing so, the UK will move away from EU rules. It will not accept common EU supervision and enforcement tools. These are precisely the essential building blocks of our post-crisis financial regulation. They ensure that the internal market can exist and function correctly.

The EU understands that the UK does not want to become a ‘rule-taker’.

But the UK also needs to understand that the EU cannot accept mutual market access without the common safeguards that underpin it.

This is needed to maintain financial stability, investor protection, market integrity and a level playing field.

This objective would not be reached if financial institutions could operate in the EU, or serve clients in the EU, based on an authorisation by the supervisors of a third country, subject to the rules, supervision and enforcement mechanisms of this third country alone.

This is not something that any country in the world would accept. That said, the EU is and will remain the most open market in the world. As Valdis Dombrovskis said in the City of London on Tuesday, no other jurisdiction operates a framework that is more open, comprehensive and rule-based for third countries.

And the EU intends to keep the Single Market open with third countries, in general, including the UK.

  • In the EU, free movement of capital is open for third countries.
  • As regards market access to provide services, the European Council made clear that our future FTA with the UK should include the right of establishment, with EU rules applying.
  • And where allowed by our legislation, the EU will be able to declare some of the UK’s rules and supervisory systems as equivalent.

On the future of equivalence, ladies and gentlemen, I want to make three points.

1) First, there is no intention of discriminating against the UK, post-Brexit.

In financial services, as in other sectors, there is no intention of punishment or revenge.

The world of finance is global and interdependent. We have a mutual interest in working together, not separately.

To date, the EU has adopted more than 200 equivalence decisions covering more than 30 non-member countries.

And we are improving the equivalence process. We have made new proposals with EMIR step 2 and the Investment Firm Review, and we started the process of improving equivalence with the ESAs Review.

Why would the equivalence system, which works well for the US industry, not work for the City?

2) Secondly, the equivalence system will operate in a more effective manner if the UK decides not to diverge from our financial regulation.

Let’s not have a short memory! We all saw during the crisis that the risks of financial instability were ultimately borne by taxpayers – not only in the UK.

We saw for instance that remuneration of bankers set the wrong incentives and allowed excessive risk-taking.

And since the financial crisis evolved into an economic and social crisis, the consequences were indeed borne by society, from the young unemployed to the owners of small businesses. And I am not even mentioning the political consequences: nobody should underestimate these!

In order to limit the risks in the future, we collectively developed, together with the G20, more effective financial regulation and supervision. And we were very happy to do this hand-in-hand with the UK.

We need to keep this joint regulatory effort in mind, and be ready to exchange our ideas for future rules in the context of a close and voluntary regulatory cooperation.

3) Thirdly, the 21-month transition period that we have proposed could be useful to prepare for the new relationship.

That transition will also allow the EU to consider the adoption of equivalence decisions.

However, certainty about this transition period will only come once the whole Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed and ratified.

In the meantime, both market participants and public authorities should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

In other words, for as long as the ratification has not taken place, we need to be ready in case of a “no deal, no transition” scenario. This is our collective responsibility.

We have made good progress in the last 6 months, but we are not there yet. There is difficult work ahead before the June European Council.

This means that market participants and public authorities must continue to prepare for all scenarios. No one should underestimate the risk of disagreement.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The EU is ready to engage in close cooperation with the UK and consider equivalence decisions, where needed. Since he is going to speak in a moment, I want to publicly thank Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as DG FISMA, for their excellent cooperation on Brexit issues.

But the UK, which has acknowledged that its current red lines mean losing the financial passport, must also acknowledge that it cannot have the benefits of such passports.

And market participants should realise that this will not be business as usual.

In order to accompany that process, the European Commission has issued notices on asset management, credit-rating agencies, markets in financial instruments, insurance and reinsurance, banking and payment services, statutory audit and post-trade financial services.

We hope that these notices will be helpful. All market participants, big and small, will have to adapt to the new reality.

I know how mobile and dynamic the financial industry is. I trust its capacity to adapt to new times and to continue their contribution to the development of the Capital Markets Union and EU’s Single Market in financial services.

We should look at the future not with fear of the unknown but with confidence in well-regulated and supervised markets.

  • Europe will continue to be an open and attractive place to do business.
  • London will continue to be a global financial centre.
  • A significant level of financial relationship will remain, properly managed and supervised.
  • Firms will adjust their business models to the new reality.
  • And public authorities will ensure that risks to financial stability are properly supervised and that rules are enforced.

Thank you for your attention.

26/04/2018

BREXIT : House of Commons updates

The impact of Brexit on the processed food and drink sector

The Government is almost out of time to negotiate a trade system after Brexit, risking on impact on consumers, businesses and workers

 

Leaving the EU: local government consultation after withdrawal

Overview of the formal advisory role that local government currently has in the EU law and policy-making process

 

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Government Amendments (PDF 128 KB)

Assesses the amendments tabled by the Government for report stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill

 

A UK–EU customs union?

Overview of UK–EU trade, the EU customs union and the possibility of establishing an effective customs union between the UK and the EU

 

Leaving the EU: food safety

Overview of food safety law and regulating bodies in the UK, the implications of Brexit for food safety and the impact of new trade deals

 

EU (Withdrawal) Bill: Further Government Amendments (PDF 116 KB)

Analyses some of the additional amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill tabled by the Government

25/04/2018

BREXIT : Information about the Withdrawal Bill  – updated today

 

Information about the Withdrawal Bill, which is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with maximum certainty, continuity and control has been updated today 25 April

View all here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-about-the-withdrawal-bill#history

13/04/2018

BREXIT : Programme: EU-UK Article 50 negotiations  Brussels, 16-18 April 2018

 

Monday, 16 April 2018

  • Meeting at technical level – Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

  • Meeting at technical level – Withdrawal Agreement – remaining issues

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

  • Coordinators’ meeting – Ireland/Northern Ireland
  • Coordinators’ meeting – future relationship

 

Next meetings provisionally scheduled for w/c 30 April.

10/04/2018

BREXIT : Remarks by Michel Barnier at Green 10: “Is Brexit a threat to the future of the EU’s environment?” – European Parliament

Thank you Peter Liese for having organised this event, with Green 10 organisation represented by Cécile Toubeau,

Thank you also Jo Leinen.

I see also many other members of the European Parliament, where I come almost every week to discuss Brexit, with the EP Brexit Steering Group, the various political groups and committees.

Thank you for inviting me to speak about this essential topic of the environment.

I was myself environment minister some time ago and I have not forgotten the work which we did with other Member States and at EU level.

I remain very close to these issues.

Before that, some 20 years earlier, I took part as a young Gaullist in the campaign in favour of the accession of Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and the UK.

I have never regretted this vote.

The result of the Brexit referendum is one which we can regret, but one which we have to respect and implement.

When I took the job of Chief Negotiator in October 2016, I had three main questions for the UK.

These questions are still relevant today.

Remarks continued

1) Does the UK want an orderly withdrawal or a disorderly withdrawal?

Today, I think we can be positive that the UK government indeed wants an orderly withdrawal.

Last month we reached a decisive milestone on this first question.

o   We agreed on a legal text for the protection of citizens’ rights, an essential priority for me, for the European Parliament and Member States; and the financial settlement.

o   At the same time, we reached a political agreement on a transition period of 21 months, until the end of December 2020.

o   And we agreed on several other separation issues, from customs procedures to the circulation of goods already placed on the market, or the UK’s commitments for nuclear energy, and Euratom more broadly.

However, we are not there yet.

In particular, we still have to work on two major points of divergence – on how to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and on the governance of the Withdrawal Agreement.

And we have some separation issues where we have not yet reached an agreement: for instance, the protection of geographical indications and police and judicial cooperation.

We can hope to reach an agreement on the withdrawal if we stay in this spirit in our negotiations until October this year.

2) The second question is what kind of future relationship does the UK want with the European Union?

Here also, Theresa May has brought some elements of clarity.

In her speech of 2 March in the Mansion House, she confirmed that the UK will be leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market.

She also confirmed the UK’s red lines. The only available model is, therefore, that of a free trade agreement. Other models remain of course on the table in case the UK position would evolve.

3) But there was, and there is, a third question, which in my view is quite relevant for our debate today: does the UK want to stay close to the European regulatory model or to distance itself from it?

This is an important decision because the European regulatory framework is underpinned by key choices that are dear to us: our social market economy, health protection, food security, fair and effective financial regulation, and high levels of environmental protection.

There will be no ambitious partnership without common ground on fair competition, State aid, guarantees against tax dumping and social standards and, not least, environmental standards.

I know that the European Parliament, like the Member States and the Commission, is particularly vigilant in this respect.

This is also well known in the UK.

As recently noted in the UK press, across the full range of issues – air and water pollution, habitats and species protection, waste management and recycling, energy efficiency, carbon emissions and energy policy – it is EU regulation that sets high standards of protection[1].

And the UK has often been at the forefront in shaping and deciding European rules.

And of course, you, members of the European Parliament, and representatives of NGOs, have contributed greatly to shaping these rules.

Ladies and gentlemen,

What we hear from the UK could be seen as reassuring.

In her Mansion House speech, the Prime Minister pointed specifically at the environment, saying, and I quote Theresa May, that “the EU should be confident that we will not engage in a race to the bottom in the standards and protections we set.”

These are the clear words from Theresa May.

This is reflected in the UK’s proposed 25 year plan on the environment.

This is welcome, but my responsibility as the EU negotiator is to remain extremely vigilant.

To me, that means two points, on which the European Parliament also insisted in its latest resolution.

And these two points reflect what we discussed with Member States and the European Parliament in our seminars on the future relationship. All of which has been published on our website.

I – First point, our future partnership must include precise provisions on a level playing field, especially in environmental matters.

  • Without a level playing field the UK could, now or in the future, decide to reduce environmental protection to gain competitive advantage.
  • Such measures would open up the possibility for more pollution and environmentally harmful production in the UK. They would also increase pollution for neighbours.
  • Reduced UK ambition on air pollution could result in neighbouring states (Ireland, Belgium, France the Netherlands) needing up to 9% more effort to reach their clean air objectives – with significant additional costs.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am not prejudging anything as to the UK’s future policies.

But let me be clear: these questions are not only economic or social, but also political.

Why?

Because the answers will be key to the ratification of any future deal by each national parliament, and obviously also by some regional parliaments, and by the European Parliament.

This is why in the future relationship we should commit to no lowering of the standards of environmental protection.

The agreement on the future relationship with the UK should include a non-regression clause.

This can be inspired by the CETA or Japan FTA provisions, but this will need to go further. It should prevent any reduction of the key pre-Brexit standards.

Of course, a strong level playing field requires effective oversight and enforcement of environmental rules.

This is needed to ensure the confidence of citizens and companies in the fairness of the future arrangements with the UK.

II – Second point: the UK will have to keep to its international commitments.

The UK itself is a party to many international environmental agreements.

At the moment, it often meets these obligations on the basis of EU rules.

We expect the UK to continue to meet these international obligations once it has left the EU.

Let me take three concrete examples.

  1. Both the EU and the UK have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement.

o   We should continue to promote the global solutions to climate change which the Paris agreement offers.

o   The UK has always pushed for strong global action and high emissions reduction targets.

o   We expect that it will continue to set itself the same level of climate ambition after leaving the EU. This will also open the way for practical cooperation between us.

  1. Second example, in line with the United Nations convention, the EU and the UK will also need to cooperate on the management and conservation of around 100 shared fish stocks to ensure their long term sustainability.
  2. Third example, the UK should continue to protect birds and other migratory species in line with the Bern and Ramsar conventions.

Dear Friends,

  • If we make sure that our future partnership is based on a level playing field;
  • If the UK continues to meet international standards and obligations on the environment;
  • If we can assure our citizens of continued effective enforcement of environmental rules;
  • Then – to respond to the title of this event – we would have strongly mitigated the threats of Brexit to the future of the EU’s environment.
  • Our negotiating team will follow these goals, and we will continue to do so in close coordination with the European Parliament and in full transparency.
  • Because, once again, this negotiation is unprecedented.
  • Because the organisations you represent have the right to know how the negotiation unfolds.
  • And because transparency is key for the public debate that we need on Brexit.
  • This negotiation will not and cannot be secret.

Thank you.

10/04/2018

BREXIT : Building a global Britain

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington gave this speech to the Chevening Alumni Group in Beijing, China during his third official visit to the country

Introduction

Thank you for that kind introduction.

I am delighted to be with you here this afternoon during what is my third official visit to China.

I first visited this unique country back in 2008 when I attended the second UK-China Senior Leadership Forum, which we jointly hold with the Communist Party of China.

And it is for similar reasons that I return today, ten years later, leading a delegation of UK Parliamentarians to what is the tenth such forum, which I spoke at earlier this morning.

Now it is fair to say the relationship between China and the UK during this time has grown significantly.

President Xi Jinping came to the UK on a State Visit in 2015, launching the new ‘Golden Era’ between our two countries.

At the start of this year, Prime Minister Theresa May visited China to renew, strengthen and intensify our relations.

And I am pleased to return today at what is a truly crucial moment in our relationship.

For as we make preparations for our departure from the European Union, the UK Government is determined to realise our bold vision for a global Britain that will follow – an outward-looking, welcoming, free-trading country providing leadership on the world stage.

And there is no more fitting audience to discuss Britain’s changing role in the world than a group of Chevening scholars – those leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world who have experienced British culture, and are committed to building lasting positive relationships with the UK.

You represent the very essence of global Britain – and remind us why delivering that vision is so important to our future prosperity and success as we forge a new role for ourselves outside the EU.

And that is what I would like to talk to you about today: the reasons the UK voted the way we did, how negotiations are progressing, and above all, how we want to emerge on the other side – the sort of country that we wish to build.

The vote to leave the EU

Speech continued

The vote to leave the EU

There were many different reasons why people voted to leave the European Union in 2016.

As some of you here will know, I voted and campaigned hard to remain in the EU – as did many people in the UK.

But reflecting on that campaign, I think that above all else, people in the UK sought to regain a feeling of control – not just control over our laws, but over our lives too, and the decisions that affect our daily lives.

So the British electorate made a choice: they chose the power of domestic democratic control over pooling that control – meaning those decisions being made in Britain by people directly accountable to British citizens.

They chose to strengthen the role of the UK Parliament and the devolved Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies, ensuring that more powers go to the devolved governments than ever before.

They chose for Britain to become an independent trading nation once again – free to sign its own trade deals with partners, friends and allies around the world.

And above all, as the Prime Minister made clear in her speech on the steps of Downing Street, the vote was a choice for wider change – to make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

This does not mean we are no longer a proud member of the family of European nations. As the Prime Minister has made clear, we may be leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. I am confident that the powerful cultural and social ties which bind us together will endure long into the future.

Nor does it mean that we do not wish the EU to succeed: the future prosperity of the EU is profoundly in our national interest and that of the wider world, which is why we are optimistic of a broad and comprehensive trade deal that is in all of our interests.

And crucially, our vote to leave the EU does not mean that we are retreating from the global stage. As Prime Minister May said to President Xi during her visit in January, we are seizing this opportunity to become an ever-more outward-looking, global Britain…

…a Britain that is free to strike our own comprehensive trade deals with nations around the world, including, of course, China…

…while continuing to work together with our international partners to tackle head on the global challenges we will face.

This is what the British people voted for, and that is what the UK Government is committed to delivering.

Guiding principles of the negotiations

It might be useful therefore if I explain the terms of the agreement that we are seeking for our future relationship with the EU, as set out by the Prime Minister in her Mansion House speech in March this year.

First, the agreement we reach with the EU must respect the result of the referendum. It was a vote not just to take control of our borders, laws and money, but a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again.

Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, and not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.

Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the UK voted for a new and different relationship with Europe, but while the means may change, our shared goals have not – to work together to grow our economies and keep our people safe.

Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be, a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators. A country that celebrates our history and diversity, confident of our place in the world; that meets its obligations to our near neighbours and friends and partners further away. A country that is proud to stand up for its values.

And fifth, in doing all of these things, the agreement should strengthen our union of nations, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; as well as our union of people.

Our future partnership

So these are the five tests for the deal that we will negotiate

  • implementing the decision of the British people
  • reaching an enduring solution
  • protecting our security and prosperity
  • delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country we want to be
  • bringing our country together, strengthening the precious union of all our people

In terms of the economic partnership we are seeking, we are clear that as the UK is leaving the European Union, we will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union.

But what we are seeking is the broadest and deepest possible agreement that covers more sectors and co-operates more fully than any other Free Trade Agreement.

We want an economic partnership that delivers the maximum possible benefits for both the UK and EU economies, while respecting the integrity of each other’s institutions and autonomy.

I believe this is achievable because it is in the EU’s interests as well as ours. While the EU is the UK’s biggest market, the UK is also a big market for the EU, so I am confident we can reach an agreement.

And in terms of our future security partnership, we have been clear that our commitment to the defence of Europe is unconditional and immoveable. As we have seen recently with events in Syria, Russia and elsewhere, the threats we face do not recognise the borders of individual nations or discriminate between them.

And our security interests do not stop at the edge of our continent.

The UK is investing in critical capabilities including

  • our nuclear deterrent
  • our two new aircraft carriers
  • our world class special forces and intelligence agencies

We are a leading contributor to international missions around the world and we bring to the table influence and impact that comes from our full range of global relationships.

And so am I confident we can reach an agreement.

Status of negotiations

So while the negotiations have covered many complex issues, we are making good progress.

The UK and the EU recently reached an agreement on the terms of a time-limited implementation period from next year, providing certainty for both businesses and citizens.

The UK will no longer be a Member State of the European Union, but market access will continue on current terms. Common rules will remain in place until the end of the period, meaning businesses will be able to trade on the same terms until the end of 2020.

This is a decisive step forward that not only provides stability in the short term, but represents the beginning of life outside the European Union – serving as a platform on which we build our future relationship not just with the EU, but with other countries too.

For we are absolutely clear that in leaving the European Union, the UK will not retreat from the global stage.

Far from it, as a country united at home, we will be stronger abroad, and that means continuing to engage closely with our key partners around the world.

That is why we are clear that China will remain an increasingly important partner to the UK.

During the implementation period, we will be free to negotiate, ratify and sign trade deals with new partners, such as China, while continuing to benefit from the EU’s existing agreements.

This will benefit not just the many businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland looking for new growth markets, but Chinese firms too – boosting the prosperity of us all.

And so we hope this agreement on the implementation period will be an important step towards finalising the full Withdrawal Agreement by October this year.

It is in this spirit that negotiations continue with a positive, upbeat vision for life outside the EU that maximises the opportunities available, not just to the whole of the United Kingdom, but to our global partners too.

Global Britain

But if we are to deliver that vision – a global Britain that, standing united at home, not only tackles future challenges head on, but also confidently seizes new opportunities – countries such as China will play a critical role.

As the Prime Minister made clear during her visit, we are seizing the opportunity to become an ever-more outward-looking country, deepening our trade relations with nations around the world, including China.

And we begin from strong foundations. The UK is the sixth largest economy in the world; we are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; the biggest European defence spender in NATO, with significant military capabilities and a proven readiness to deploy them in defence of our interests; home to world leading universities that attract the best talent from around the globe; top class research and cutting-edge innovation in every field which is the envy of the world; and thanks to institutions like the BBC and the NHS, the greatest soft power of any nation on the planet.

Our relationship with China is already broad and deep, delivering real benefits for both countries – but it can go further still.

For instance, there are huge trade opportunities in China that we want to help businesses from all four parts of the UK take advantage of.

Total trade in goods and services between the UK and China in 2017 was £67 billion – a 13.8 per cent increase from 2016; UK exports to China have grown by 68 per cent since 2010; UK firms are leaders in China’s markets in financial services; and China is expected to be one of the UK’s largest foreign investors by 2020.

We warmly welcome Premier Li Keqiang’s announcements last month that China is continuing to “open the door” to foreign trade and investment. We look forward to continuing to work with the Chinese government to make progress on market access and remove barriers to trade, in order to realise our joint ambition of an open global economy that works for all.

We are also working together with China to confront global and regional security challenges, such as keeping up the pressure of sanctions on North Korea and co-signing the 2016 Paris agreement to tackle climate change. Indeed, there is much more we can do together in the future to combat threats such as modern slavery and human trafficking, serious organised crime, and the trade in illegal wildlife products.

And as we cement our partnership, we must maintain and enhance those vital cultural links which underpin relations between us. It is worth remembering that there are more than 150,000 Chinese students studying in UK universities, as well as thousands of UK students here in China as well – many of whom are choosing to learn Mandarin.

During the PM’s visit we also launched Global Partners 2020, a new programme to establish links between future leaders in the UK and China. Indeed, it is by building such links, and by working with groups such as Chevening alumni, that we can enhance and expand these links well into the future…

…and in doing so, carry on down that path towards the future of a global Britain that is China’s strong partner on the world stage…

…and as the Prime Minister made clear during her visit in January, write the new chapter of the ‘Golden Era’ together.

Conclusion

For our relationship with China is, and will remain, a clear priority for the UK Government.

We are fully committed to our Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for the twenty-first century, addressing rising global challenges; building thriving economies of the future; and enhancing further the already strong links between our people and our businesses.

I am confident therefore that we can deliver on this bold vision for a Britain outside the EU that remains open for business and is the same outward-looking, globally minded country that we always have been.

If we are to succeed in doing so however, it will be in large part down to the hard work and efforts of many of you gathered in this room.

You provide the cultural and social bedrock which underpins bilateral relations between our two countries – and I have seen during my visit how the UK and China remain deeply committed to our comprehensive agenda for bilateral cooperation.

In short, you are pivotal to the success that global Britain can, and in my view will, become.

That is why I am confident that the ‘Golden Era’ will go from strength to strength as we head into the future together.

Thank you very much.

Published 10 April 2018

09/04/2018

BREXIT : Speech by Phil Hogan at seminar on “EU-27 perspective on the future EU-UK relationship” at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU

Ambassador Kelleher, President Mac Craith, members of the diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be invited to give the keynote speech to this seminar this morning and to commend the Irish Permanent Representation and DCU’s Brexit Institute for the initiative.

We have arrived at a point in the Brexit discussions where it is appropriate to take stock.  The terms of the United Kingdom’s separation are agreed, as well as the bulk of the Transition Treaty – although some knotty problems remain – and the starting positions have been laid out by the EU and Prime Minister May for the post-Brexit arrangement.

I would like to consider progress so far, bearing in mind that neither party has negotiated anything like this before.

This has been a journey into the unknown and, for the EU, it has had the added importance of providing a precedent if ever another member felt this was a wise course to follow !

But, frankly, that hardly seems likely – and is now far less likely than it was before Britain’s referendum vote.  Because one thing we have already learned from Brexit is that the UK does not have a better idea: it does not have a replacement for the Union as a way to improve the life quality of its citizens, its businesses, and its standing in the world.

Yes, it will leave the Union but it only wants to go some of the way towards leaving.  We can see, now that things have become clearer, that there is a lot of the Union that the UK wants to retain.  An awful lot.

You might say it doesn’t want to change its EU outfit, just its shoes.

The first element in the stock-taking, therefore, should be that the Union has kept its promise to the UK.  The Union promised to help the UK withdraw in an orderly, managed way and, under the leadership of President Juncker and President Tusk and with the support of the European Parliament, it is well on the way to doing so.

It has done this by negotiating in plain sight, so to speak.  At each step of the way it has made public its objectives, its suggestions on phasing, on timetable, and on the details of what is at stake.  Michel Barnier has ensured that our institutions and citizens, and that includes those in the UK, know what is going on.

And this brings me to my first observation.

The “unknown” element in Brexit is almost over.  The United Kingdom is now, in this negotiation, to all intents and purposes a third country.  The post-Brexit arrangement that remains to be negotiated is in effect a trade agreement, something with which the EU is familiar.

Speech continued

A second observation is that the EU has presented a disciplined and united front, despite internal difficulties such as the long inter-regnum in Germany following last year’s election.   The Union has acted as one.

Indeed, it might not be going too far to say that, in responding to the UK decision to leave and become again a third country, the value of the EU, and its solidarity, has revealed itself.

And this augurs well for our future in a world that seems to have changed massively even in the twenty months since the UK’s referendum vote – changed with the heightened security risks posed by Russia, changed with the new “America first” trade behaviour of the United States and the incipient trade war between the US and China.

On a personal, or should I say “on an Irish”, note, let me pay tribute here to the support that Ireland has received from its twenty-six partners.  It is well-known that Ireland’s trade with the UK is large and Ireland is steeling itself for a blow.  But there is another aspect to Brexit that is even more important.

I refer of course to the land border between Ireland and the United Kingdom.  Since the Good Friday agreement in 1998, the role of this border in the day-to-day life of our citizens has diminished remarkably.  This is for the better.  But twenty years is a short time and the role of the border in our history, our attitudes, and, yes, our politics is still vivid – it is like the touch-paper of a firework.

The EU spotted immediately that Brexit threatened to bring the border back to life and reignite our troubles, and insisted from the outset that Brexit had to take place in a way that ensured there was no return to a hard border.  The EU has been constant in its support.

The December agreement, confirmed in March, sets down the manner by which it will be achieved if the UK is unable to develop what we might call a cyber border that meets the EU’s needs for its external border.

Put clearly, the whole island of Ireland will remain in regulatory alignment with the EU if the UK is unable to develop and realise a satisfactory cyber alternative.   This is what is meant by the “fall-back option” and this agreement is a signal achievement.

So, as I say, the Twenty Seven are acting as one.  In the UK, on the other hand, the one acts as many.

What I have called the London-London part of the negotiation has been a lively conversation between several opposing camps, although it is showing signs of calming recently.

This may be because the different camps are preparing for battles to come, or are concentrating on other things like the local elections on May 3, or consider the clock to have been reset to December 2020 by the draft Withdrawal Treaty.

It may be calmer but there does not seem to have been a reconciliation between the opposing camps.  Doubtless there is a good deal going on behind the scenes.

The government under Prime Minister May has proved adroit so far at avoiding hotspots, at least on procedural matters.  From the outset it has played a long game and this probably will not change.

Indeed, at times it has seemed as if the UK is reluctant to get on with the work.  But I think that impression may be more optical than real.

The UK, for whatever reason, seems happier to keep the negotiation at the level of officials, who, according to their brief, must work below the radar.

The size and the detail of the draft Withdrawal Treaty, for example, demonstrates the intensity of work that has been going on.  When one considers this, it becomes clear that the UK has been fully engaged, even if its engagement at the political level – leaving aside soundbites – seems muted.

And now we have arrived at the final phase – negotiation of the post-Brexit agreement between the EU and the UK.  Now, as I say, we are entering a trade negotiation.  And in this phase, for the first time, starting positions are clear.

On the EU side we have the position probably best summed up in Michel Barnier’s staircase diagram, which shows how each of the United Kingdom’s red lines closes off an option until the only possible agreement is a free trade arrangement of the Canada or South Korea type.  Although the EU has indicated that if the red lines were to be change, another outcome might be possible.

The EU’s position contains the proviso that its readiness to initiate work towards a “balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging free trade agreement” requires there to be guarantees for a level playing field for businesses.  And the EU’s negotiating document offers guidelines on how an unfair competitive advantage for the UK may be avoided.

On the UK side we have Prime Minister May’s speech at the Mansion House in March, which lists those parts of EU membership that the UK would like to retain when it leaves.  It was the most substantive speech by Prime Minister May since the referendum and listed the hard facts and realities that the UK has to confront.

At another time, in another circumstance, Prime Minister May’s Mansion House speech would have been a strong argument for joining, not leaving, the EU.  And this is an impression that is further strengthened when one considers, for example, the UK’s expressions of disappointment when it realises that as a third country it will be excluded from Galileo – the EU satellite system.

I make this point not to argue that the UK should change its mind.  Its citizens have decided to leave the EU and the UK will revert to third country status in about 355 days from now – or 354 depending on how you count.  Its flag will be hauled down from before the EU’s institutions; the Twenty-Eight will become the Twenty-Seven; and the number of EU citizens will reduce by 13 per cent.  Also, for any geographers present, we shall be six per cent smaller.

The Union has accepted this.

It is difficult to believe that any country would wish to engage in a policy of divergence from their neighbourhood countries – particularly from 27 neighbouring countries. But that’s the way it is.

Also, the EU might have its own preference between the three possible outcomes on a final agreement – free trade agreement, customs union, single market.  We might have a preference but we have to realise that there is nothing we can do to realise it. The UK has decided that it wants a free trade agreement and that must be our focus.

I make the point to underline the central attitude of the EU during the third and final phase of negotiations.  The UK cannot expect to retain the benefits of EU membership when it is no longer a member.  Galileo and many of the desired benefits listed by Prime Minister May are facilities for EU members only.

We can think of the EU as a piece of intellectual capital, something with similar characteristics to patented research results.  Member states use this intellectual capital for their betterment – economic, social, and political – but it remains the property of the EU.

By leaving the EU, the UK loses the right to use the EU’s intellectual capital.  It really is as simple as that. And the member states have an interest in ensuring that this is so, since if we allow others to use it, its value to us, the holders, is reduced.

Consideration of the final phase of the separation – the free trade agreement – brings me to a couple of further observations.

The first is to repeat a point I made in passing a few minutes ago.  The draft Withdrawal Treaty resets the clock to 2020 for this final phase.  Yes, there must be a political document before the autumn which describes the objectives of the trade negotiation.  But, given the UK’s preference for the long game, we should not expect any rush to clarity on its part.

One result of this is that we can expect the uncertainties that characterise the UK’s position to continue.  This will make it useful for the EU to keep reminding itself of the one thing that is completely certain – the UK is not going to change its mind on EU membership.  I, for one, cannot imagine any circumstances in which the UK will change its mind on the desirability of EU membership – not for many years, if ever.

The EU must therefore see the negotiation on the free trade agreement for what it is – a trade negotiation with a third country in which both parties will be trying to do the best for their citizens.

The UK will be looking for a deal that works best for Britain.  The EU will seek to defend and advance the interests of its citizens.  It is on this basis that the EU has established its starting position.  It is on this basis that it should proceed.  The EU will remain clear-sighted.

I have one final observation – and, for this, I look at the Brexit negotiation from the United Kingdom point of view rather than from the EU’s.  So far I have tried to steer away from a discussion about the UK’s own attitude to the discussions and about the apparent conflicts in its position.

The negotiation for the post-Brexit free trade agreement between the EU and the UK will be the UK’s first step into “Global Britain” – that network of trade deals with third parties which the UK expects will achieve the double objective of offsetting any losses in its trade with the EU and bringing increased benefits.

In her Mansion House speech Prime Minister May cited Global Britain and the benefits it will bring as a main argument against a customs union or single market.  She is confident that regaining its power to negotiate trade agreements will enable the UK to achieve greater well-being for its people through wider trade.  One hopes she is right for the sake of UK citizens.

But there are stubborn facts that over-shadow a rosy picture.

  • Global Britain will mean for the United Kingdom a return to medium-sized nation status.Yes it will regain the sovereignty to seek and strike agreements where it wants but with reduced bargaining power, reduced security of its markets and supply chains, and a friction and cost added to each trade shipment to the EU, its biggest trade partner.
  • Probably, in time if not immediately, there will be an increased sensitivity of the £ Sterling to Global Britain’s trading performance. The UK trade balance was a headline feature in the Sixties, often used to justify policy changes to reduce consumption.Will this be a feature of Global Britain ?
  • Global Britain expects to rapidly agree a trade deal with the US. Indeed it is one of the assumptions on which its calculations about the economic effects of Brexit rest. I imagine that the US basis for such a rapid agreement would be its desired TTIP – with the requirement of access for its agricultural products, some of which are resisted by EU (and UK) consumers.You do not need me to point out that the EU refused to accept the TTIP desired by the US.
  • The UK expects to be able to roll forward all trade agreements to which it is a party because of its EU membership. Sometimes this may be easy, sometimes not. Many contain tariff-free quotas, sometimes of extraordinary sensitivity. The EU’s agreement with Canada, for example, contains tariff-free quotas for beef (important for Canada) and dairy produce (important for the EU).Such things are not lightly agreed and take years to negotiate.
  • Speaking of Canada, reminds us of the Commonwealth. Yes, the Commonwealth has a common language and similar legal systems to the UK which recommends Commonwealth countries as trading partners.Yes, it is growing rapidly. But it is not a cohesive bloc and UK-EU trade, where legal and language differences have surely been absorbed after 45 years, is six times higher than UK exports to the ten Commonwealth countries for which trade data are tracked by the UK’s Office for National Statistics.

Stepping into Global Britain is stepping into a difficult world. And there will be a huge gap between hope and experience.  As I say, one hopes that Prime Minister May’s confidence is not misplaced.

It remains only for me to again thank the organisers – the Irish Permanent Representation and the DCU Brexit Institute – for the invitation and the opportunity to deliver these remarks. You have assembled a very impressive line-up of participants for what I’m sure will be a fascinating, informative and valuable seminar. I wish you well in your deliberations.

Thank you.

09/04/2018

BREXIT : European Commission Publication – Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules on fisheries and aquacultur

09/04/2018

BREXIT : House of Commons of the United Kingdom updates

VAT: EU proposals for reform and implications of Brexit

Urges the Government to set out how it intends to guarantee collection of VAT on imports entering the UK via Ireland

European Social Fund

Argues that any gap in payments between the existing European Social Fund and a new fund would be disastrous

The future UK–EU relationship

Sets out keys tests by which any deal agreed by October 2018 must be judged

 

Brexit: Gibraltar update

Looks at how the Brexit negotiations will deal with Gibraltar’s unique status as a UK external territory within the EU

 

29/03/2018

BREXIT FAQ – IFA ON WHERE THINGS STAND ONE YEAR OUT

On 23rd June 2016, the UK voted Leave in the Brexit referendum by 51.9% to 48.1%, with Northern Ireland voting Remain by 56% to 44%.

Nine months later on 29th March 2017, the UK started the two-year countdown to Brexit when Prime Minister Theresa May issued the Article 50 notification letter to Brussels. This means the UK will leave the EU on 29th March 2019.

What exactly are the current Brexit negotiations about?

Negotiations between the EU and UK commenced in June 2017 and are aimed at achieving a Withdrawal Agreement (WA) by October 2018.

The WA then has to be ratified by EU27, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament in advance of 29th March 2019.
What’s involved in the Withdrawal Agreement? What will it include?

The draft WA at this stage is a 120+ page international treaty in legal form under which the UK will leave the EU.
It builds on the EU-UK Joint Report agreed in December 2017, which the EU assessed as achieving “sufficient progress” in phase 1 of the negotiations (on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and Ireland) to move on to the next phase.

The WA will include sections on:

  • Citizens’ Rights
  • The Financial Settlement, reported to be €45bn – €55bn
  • The Transition Period
  • Ireland and
  • The Framework for the Future EU-UK Relationship including trade, which will be a political declaration accompanying the WA.

What progress was made at the European Council of 22-23 March 2018?

Progress on three things:

  1. Agreement on the Citizens’ Rights and Financial Settlement provisions of the WA
  2. Agreement on the WA text for the Transition Period requested by UK and
  3. EU agreement to start negotiations on the Framework for Future EU-UK Relationship, according to guidelines set out by the EU Council.

What is the Transition Period and what does it mean for Irish farmers?

The Transition Period will effectively extend UK membership of the Single Market (SM) and Customs Union (CU) for 21 months running from Brexit Day on 29th March 2019 to 31st December 2020.

The UK will still have all the obligations of membership, but it will not participate in EU decision-making and there is no provision to extend the Transition Period beyond end-2020.

The UK will be allowed to negotiate trade deals with third countries, but they cannot come into effect until 1st January 2021.

The main benefit for Irish farmers and food exporters is that the Transition Period gives them more certainty in planning their business up to 31st December 2020.

So, now that the Transition Period is agreed, there will be no cliff-edge at end-March 2019?

No. The EU is clear that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

Therefore, while the prospects for a deal have improved, difficult negotiations lie ahead.

What remains to be agreed and is it relevant to farmers?

The two sides are about half way towards achieving the WA. However, the really crucial issues for farmers and the agri-food sector are still to be decided and these are:

  • Ireland/Northern Ireland, which is critical to farming and the economy in the Border counties and also for the Good Friday Agreement; and
  • The Framework for the Future EU-UK Relationship, which deals with Trade and will be vital for Irish farmers’ incomes.

Where are the negotiations on Ireland? And what’s the ‘backstop’?

In the December EU-UK joint report (par. 49), the UK spelled out its ‘guarantee of avoiding a hard border’ (ie no physical infrastructure at the border) and how it would be achieved:

  • Option A) Through the overall EU UK relationship, so there would be no need for a hard border or
  • Option B) The UK would propose specific solutions ie a customs partnership or customs arrangement (technology etc) or in the absence of A or B
  • Option C) The ‘backstop’ solution whereby the UK would ‘maintain full alignment’ with the rules of the SM and CU indefinitely.

So, what’s the problem?

There is no agreement on the legal text of the WA to give effect to para. 49 of the joint report. And in par. 50 of that report, the UK gave a commitment (to the DUP) that there would be no new regulatory barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, ie no border in the Irish Sea.

At the March 2018 Council meeting, however, the EU 27 accepted a letter from Theresa May in which she again guaranteed no hard border and committed to agreeing a legal text for the backstop. Intensified negotiations on Ireland are now taking place on this alongside talks on the future relationship.

What are the EU’s Guidelines for the Future Relationship?

The EU wants the closest possible partnership with the UK on trade, based on a level playing field, and other areas such as security and foreign policy.

  • For trade in goods including food, this means zero tariffs and no quotas
  • It says the UK’s position of leaving the SM and CU will inevitably lead to frictions in trade. Divergence in external tariffs and internal rules will mean checks and controls.
  • It rules out ‘cherry-picking’ or a sector-by-sector approach that would undermine the SM.
  • If the UK’s position evolves, the EU will reconsider its offer.

What’s IFA’s position?

IFA’s consistent policy is that the best outcome for Irish farming and the agri-food sector is that the UK remains in the SM and CU.

If this is not possible, then we need a comprehensive future partnership with the UK including:

  • Tariff-free and quota-free trade
  • Full UK regulatory alignment to European standards on food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment and
  • Full UK alignment to the EU’s common external tariff.

IFA’s objective is no border on the island of Ireland, no border in the Irish Sea and no scope for the UK to pursue a cheap food policy which would devalue the UK market and in turn destabilise EU markets .

So, if the EU and UK reach a deal on the WA that is ratified by both sides, then it’s all sorted?

No, we’re still not sorted. Remember that the WA treaty only envisages a political declaration on the Framework for the Future Relationship.

There can’t be a full treaty on the EU-UK future relationship until after the UK has left and some observers believe these detailed negotiations could take years. The Transition Period provides about two years to get this done by end-2020, so that’s a tight deadline.
This means another possible cliff-edge on 1st January 2021, unless the Transition Period is extended and there is no provision for that as it stands.

 

29/03/2018

BREXIT: IFA MEETS UK FARM LEADERS AS A YEAR REMAINS TO AVOID BREXIT DISASTER

With a year to go to ‘Brexit Day’, March 29th 2019, IFA President Joe Healy has warned rapid progress in the withdrawal agreement negotiations is needed to avoid a disastrous no-deal scenario and UK cheap food policy.

Joe Healy said, “While the transition period agreed earlier this month gives some certainty, that will only apply if agreement is reached on all other matters by October and approved within the next 12 months. Otherwise, we reach a cliff edge drop into the unknown that would be disastrous for all sides.”

In the discussions on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, the key area of trade is vital for Irish farmers, Joe Healy said.

“It is clear that the agri-food sector is set to become a major battleground in the negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. The Irish Government must prioritise our requirement that the UK maintains full regulatory alignment with the EU’s standards and common external tariff in the area of agriculture and food. Full regulatory alignment is necessary to avoid a hard border in Ireland and deliver the closest possible trading relationship between the EU and the UK, which is an outcome both sides have prioritised.

“The ideal solution is for the UK to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union. Short of this, we need an agreed framework whereby the UK remains fully aligned to European standards and trade policy. Our objective must be no border on the island of Ireland and no border in the Irish Sea. Otherwise, farm incomes will be hit and thousands of jobs lost in rural Ireland.”

IFA meets UK farm leaders

IFA President Joe Healy last week met with UK farm leaders to discuss shared concerns about the implications of Brexit on the Irish and UK agri-food sectors and to co-ordinate the approach of farm leaders to the negotiations.

He said it is clear that Irish and UK farmers are absolutely united in the desire to avoid a hard border and in their view that it would be devastating for farmers and very bad for consumers if the UK was to cut its standards and aim for a cheap food policy.
The meeting was attended by Minette Batters, NFU President; Barclay Bell, UFU President; John Davies, NFU Wales President; and, Andrew McCornick, NFU Scotland President.

Joe Healy said there is a strong view among all the farm leaders that farming and food issues must be at to the top of the list in Brexit negotiations considerations.

He said that as well as maintaining the closest possible tariff-free trading relationship for agri-food with the UK, it is important that an agreement is reached that maintains the value of the UK market for Irish farmers. “Any outcome that allows the UK to set their own standards and cut tariffs on food imports from third countries would seriously devalue the British market for Irish agri-food exports and in turn destabilise the European food market.

“We need to avoid a scenario where the British market is open to cheaper, inferior food products such as Brazilian beef, hormoned US beef or chlorinated chicken that displace or undermine our high quality Irish food exports produced to the highest EU standards.”

 

23/03/2018

BREXIT: European Council (Article 50)  Results

The European Council (Art. 50) on 23 March 2018 adopted guidelines on the framework for post-Brexit relations with the UK.

Read guideline below:

20/03/2018

BREXIT: General Affairs Council (Art. 50)

Main results below (read full results here)

Brexit negotiations

The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, was briefed by the Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations. The chief negotiator presented to the ministers an agreement reached by negotiators on parts of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement covering citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, a number of other withdrawal issues and transition.

I believe we are all encouraged by the latest progress in the Brexit negotiations. We are going in the right direction. But nothing is agreed until everything’s agreed. There is still a lot of work ahead. We urgently need to advance on all remaining issues, including on governance and Ireland.

Ekaterina Zaharieva, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister

Draft guidelines

The EU27 ministers also discussed the draft guidelines on the framework for a future relationship with the UK. Ministers reviewed the text before submitting it to the European Council (Article 50) ahead of the meeting on 23 March 2018.

These guidelines are to serve as a mandate for the EU negotiator to start discussing the framework for the future relationship, with the aim of reaching an overall understanding. That understanding will be reflected in a political declaration accompanying the withdrawal agreement and referred to in it.

19/03/2018

BREXIT: Committee questions Government on draft Withdrawal Agreement

 

The House of Lords EU Committee has today written to Rt Hon David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, asking a series of questions about the draft Withdrawal Agreement—the document which will give legal effect to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Background

On 28 February 2018 the European Commission published a draft Withdrawal Agreement setting out the arrangements for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union; a revised text was published and transmitted to the UK Government on 15 March 2018. Large parts of the Agreement were then agreed by the UK and EU negotiators on Monday 19 March.

The Committee has written to the Secretary of State, setting out its initial observations on the Agreement and asking questions on a variety issues.

The Committee asks how far UK lawyers and negotiators contributed to the Agreement, or whether it was essentially prepared by the Commission. The Committee also asks questions about the transparency of the ongoing negotiations, about dispute resolution, Gibraltar, transition, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and citizens’ rights.

19/03/2018

BREXIT: EU exit preparations: BEIS ministerial direction

 

Documents

Letter 1: from the Permanent Secretary to the Secretary of State regarding market surveillance

PDF, 109KB, 2 pages

Letter 2: from the Secretary of State to the Permanent Secretary regarding market surveillance

PDF, 60.8KB, 1 page

Details

The first letter is from the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It requests a ministerial direction on EU exit preparations. The reasons for the request are set out in this letter.

The second letter is from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to the Permanent Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. It confirms the ministerial direction on EU exit preparations.

 

19/03/2018

BREXIT: Press statement by Michel Barnier following the latest round of Article 50 negotiations

I am happy to be here, with David Davis, following the intensive negotiations which took place in Brussels over the last few days – and even nights.

At the beginning of this press conference, I want to personally thank the members of the two delegations, who have worked ardently under the coordination of Sabine Weyand and Olly Robbins.

I would also like to personally acknowledge the commitment and competence of all of the UK negotiating team.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I have said several times before, we are working on an international agreement between the UK and the EU. We attach to this the precision, rigour and legal certainty that is required for all international agreements.

What we are presenting to you today with David is a joint legal text, which marks, to my mind, a decisive step, because we agreed this morning – after long days of work – on a large part of what will make up the international agreement on the UK’s orderly withdrawal.

A decisive step remains a step. We are not at the end of the road. A lot more work is needed on important topics, in particular Ireland and Northern Ireland.

I will present this decisive step on Friday at the European Council, on the invitation of Donald Tusk, and sitting alongside Jean-Claude Juncker.

Before this, I will meet tomorrow the ministers of the 27 Member States, on behalf of whom I negotiate, at the General Affairs Council (Article 50). I will also meet tomorrow the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament. On Wednesday, on the invitation of Jean-Claude Juncker, I will provide an update on the negotiations to the College of the European Commission.

But it is the European Council on Friday that will evaluate and judge the state of the negotiations.

For my part, on behalf of the Union, I will continue to regularly brief you on the negotiation, in full transparency.

It is following this transparency that we published, on 28 February, a full draft Withdrawal Agreement, which we naturally discussed beforehand with the Member States and the European Parliament.

And on 15 March, two weeks later – just two weeks – we completed a revised and consolidated version of the draft, integrating the comments of the Member States and the European Parliament.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It was on the basis of this draft agreement that, over the past few days, we continued and intensified our work between the British team and our team.

We have jointly published this morning a new version of the draft in three colours and I would like to now show you what the entire text looks like:

  • In green, the points on which there is formal agreement between the negotiators.
  • In yellow, the points on which we have reached a political agreement, but further clarifications are needed in the weeks to come.
  • In white, the Union’s proposed text, our text, on which we need to continue discussions, either because we have disagreements or divergences, or because we need more time to get to the bottom of things.

I would like to make four observations on the text:

1/ Our discussions over the last few days allowed us to reach a full agreement – I repeat full agreement – on the legal translation of the points agreed in December on citizens’ rights and the financial settlement. This allows us to reassure:

First, the 4.5 million citizens, British and European, who are concerned about and worried by Brexit. Citizens, since day one, have been our priority – and that of the European Parliament and the Member States.

Project managers and beneficiaries of projects financed by the EU budget for the period 2014-2020.

For citizens, we have proposed today in the text an additional option, which would allow people to obtain the new residence status in the UK from the beginning of the transition period.

This option will allow those citizens interested to immediately have legal certainty about their residency rights after the transition period.

2/ We reached an agreement on the transition period, on which the December European Council already noted an agreement in principle, following the request by Theresa May in her Florence speech.

The transition will be for a limited period, as requested by the British government and the European Union.

During this period, the UK will no longer participate in the decision-making process of the EU, as it will no longer be a Member State as of 30 March 2019.

It will maintain nonetheless all the advantages and benefits of the Single Market, the Customs Union, and EU policies, and should therefore also respect all the EU’s rules, as if it were a Member State.

We have committed to working during this period in good faith and to continue to respect the principle of sincere cooperation.

Finally, we agreed that British citizens and EU27 citizens who arrive [in a new country] during the transition period will benefit from the same rights and guarantees as those who arrived before Brexit day.

statement continutes

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would also like to recall that the time during the transition – as requested by the United Kingdom – will be obviously useful, very useful, for UK administration, and businesses, to prepare for the future, for example, by using the time to negotiate agreements with third countries.

This time will also allow us to do our own preparations on the EU side.

Finally, the transition will also be the time for us to finalise our future relationship. It is a short amount of time, and so this negotiation on our future partnership will be intense and demanding.

Our intention is to advance as quickly as possible and to begin, as soon as I have a mandate from the European Council guidelines, on all the future relationship topics in parallel. And personally I even think that we will be able to agree during this period on an ambitious future partnership in the areas of foreign policy and external security.

3/ On the other separation topics:

  • I would like to underline the progress that has been made on certain points, such as the winding-up of customs procedures, goods placed on the market and their surveillance, the UK’s commitments vis-a-vis nuclear material or the protection of European trade marks.
  • However, negotiations should continue on other separation topics – which are not negligible – in particular geographical indications, the protection of data and the automatic recognition of judgments.

4/ We need to advance – as I said, we are not at the end of the road – on two significant areas of divergence: the governance of the Withdrawal Agreement and questions related to Ireland and Northern Ireland.

  • On the governance of the Withdrawal Agreement

o   We first confirmed the agreed solution on citizens’ rights from December. This point has been resolved.

o   But we still need to establish the overall governance on all other topics of the Withdrawal Agreement.

  • On Ireland and Northern Ireland, we must have a workable and practical solution to avoid a hard border and protect North-South cooperation.

The EU and the UK agreed to include in the withdrawal agreement text published today a note on how the Irish issues will be dealt with.

We have agreed the following:

  1. Both sides remain committed to December’s Joint Report in all its aspects – all.
  1. We have agreed that all the issues identified in the EU text must be addressed for finding a viable and legally soundsolution.
  1. In particular, we agreed today that a backstop solution must form part of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement.
  1. We have also agreed on some elements of the Protocol, notably those related to the Common Travel Area and North-South cooperation.

As I said several times, the backstop will apply unless and until another solution is found.

This is what I also discussed this morning with the Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

We are ready to look at all options which allow us to meet our objectives, in a constructive way.

This is what I have underlined, on the same terms, in my recent meetings with the leaders of Sinn Féin, the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party.

Ireland and Northern Ireland form a distinct strand within the framework of the negotiations of the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU. I repeat within the framework of the withdrawal.

In this context, we have agreed with the UK on a detailed agenda for discussions over the coming weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen,

To conclude, I would like to say again that over the past few days, we have completed an essential part of the path towards an orderly withdrawal, on which we have been working – I have been working – since day one.

We are going to continue this work, by keeping in mind that all the points that I have just mentioned will form part of the same agreement and should therefore be agreed together. I would add that legal certainty on all of these points, including the transition, which forms part of this agreement, will only come with the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement on both sides.

Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

On the EU’s side, it is now for Member States to evaluate progress, by adopting at the end of the week guidelines which will allow us to begin, in parallel, discussions with the UK on the framework for the future relationship and partnership.

On its side, following its recent resolutions, the European Parliament will also evaluate the progress.

Thank you for your attention.

19/03/2018

BREXIT: Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union

Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community highlighting the progress made (coloured version) in the negotiation round with the UK of 16-19 March 2018.   Read draft agreement here

Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU. Objective: Sent to the EU27 Member States, to the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament and published on the TF50 website on 19 March 2018.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement of 19 March 2018 includes agreed legal text for the implementation period, citizens’ rights, and the financial settlement, as well as a significant number of other articles. The UK and the EU negotiating teams aim to finalise the entire Withdrawal Agreement by October.

Remarks: In green, the text is agreed at negotiators’ level and will only be subject to technical legal revisions in the coming weeks.

In yellow, the text is agreed on the policy objective but drafting changes or clarifications are still required. In white, the text corresponds to text proposed by the Union on which discussions are ongoing as no agreement has yet been found.

18/03/2018

BREXIT: HOUSE OF COMMONS REPORT ON PROGRESS ON WITHDRAWAL

The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal: December 2017 to March 2018
Third Report of Session 2017–19.  Read report here

15/03/2018

BREXIT: DRAFT AGREEMENT ON WITHDRAWAL

Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.  Read the 123 page document here

Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU.

Objective: Sent to the UK authorities and published on the TF50 website on 15 March 2018.

Remarks: This Draft Agreement sets out the arrangements for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and from the European Atomic Energy Community.

It was discussed with the Council (Article 50) and the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament. It is now transmitted to the UK authorities for negotiation.

15/03/2018

BREXIT: DRAFT AGREEMENT ON WITHDRAWAL

Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.  Read the 123 page document here

Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU.

Objective: Sent to the UK authorities and published on the TF50 website on 15 March 2018.

Remarks: This Draft Agreement sets out the arrangements for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and from the European Atomic Energy Community.

It was discussed with the Council (Article 50) and the Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament. It is now transmitted to the UK authorities for negotiation.

14/03/2018

BREXIT: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT  VISION FOR FUTURE EU-UK RELATIONSHIP

Text adopted by the European Parliament on the Guidelines on the framework of future EU-UK relations

13/03/2018

BREXIT: STATEMENT BY MICHEL BARNIER TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN STRASBOURG

Madam Minister,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’m happy to meet with you today to take stock.

The majority of British citizens have chosen to leave the European Union.

It is a choice that we regret. It’s a choice we respect.

And now we must implement it.

Brexit means Brexit. But at this point, I would like to say two things here and now in front of  everyone, which everyone must understand and remember.First of all, about the United Kingdom, which has chosen to leave the Union, we have had – I have always had – and we will keep to the end in any case and under all circumstances for this country, this great country its culture, its people, its history, in solidarity with ours in the most tragic moments, for its diplomacy, we keep for this country the respect due to a great country, a friendly country and an allied country.Secondly, it is also clear to everyone that in this and extraordinarily and complex negotiation, our responsibility, your responsibility, that of the Council, of course, that of the Commission under the authority of President Juncker, our responsibility is to preserve for the future and for the long term what we are, our Union, our values, our identity, our single market, our common policies. None of this is negotiable. We are responsible for it.Every day in the mission entrusted to me, I have in mind a phrase of a French statesman, whom I respected a lot, Pierre Mendès-France:”Never sacrifice the future for the present.”

Read more

Mr Hökmark and Mrs McGuinness also said that just now and with a lot of force.At the moment we are in this negotiation, at the end of this debate, I want to share with you three messages.We must put things in the right order, as we have done so from the beginning.In order to prepare and build an ambitious new partnership with the UK, the prerequisite is to organise its withdrawal in an orderly rather than disorderly manner. Roberto Gualtieri insisted on this point.Under the authority of President Jean-Claude Juncker, whom I once again thank for his confidence, the Commission, which is doing its work, presented the complete draft treaty 15 days ago. Things are now clear.  This was done to facilitate and speed up the discussion with the British. Now working on a legal text.Because, as Danuta Hübner said just now, like President Juncker, time is very short. It is short for the negotiation of the withdrawal agreement, it will be short for the negotiation of any future relationship and it is also short – let me stress this point – for the preparation that we must perform in each of our countries and together with the stakeholders to prepare the inevitable consequences of Brexit that the British have chosen. This preparation, I wish to say thank you, is also conducted at the level of the Commission by our Secretary General, Martin Selmayr.

 

Time is short.And we have in this text, particular points of vigilance that you have reminded each other in your interventions and that you recall, Guy, in this resolution.Citizens first, our common priority. We will remain attentive until the moment of the ratification of this withdrawal agreement – on the guarantees we obtained in the December Joint Report and on the effective implementation of the all rights, in the context of simple and non-costly procedures.Ms. Miranda, earlier, you mentioned, like Gabriela Zimmer or Barbara Spinelli, Ms. Evans and Mr. Weidenholzer, this priority issue of the rights of British citizens who live and work in one of our 27 countries, and the rights of the three million and half of European citizens, including many students, who live and work in the United Kingdom.We also expect from the UK a sincere commitment and progress in the coming days on all other topics, such as the governance of the agreement, Euratom, I could multiply examples of topics that we do not have completely negotiated, on which we do not yet have agreement and which are part of all the subjects of separation and which are indispensable to an orderly withdrawal.  This obviously also concerns the transition.We accept – and you have accepted – the British government’s request, submitted by Theresa May, to include a transitional period in the withdrawal agreement.Obviously, in this short period, in compliance with Article 50, all the Union rules will have to apply without distinction.A citizen, for example, who will arrive during this transition period will have to enjoy the same rights as the one who arrived before the day of Brexit. There is a second point which is obviously the one mentioned in your resolution of our future partnership. In this text you draw the architecture and the content, as the European Council will do in a few days under the authority of Donald Tusk of what could be this ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom. Guy Verhofstadt evoked the future association with this great country around four pillars and I find myself in this architecture that you propose.First of all, our trade relationship – Mr Sulik earlier mentioned trade – obviously we have to manage these trade exchanges and continue to trade with the United Kingdom. And including in this commercial relationship, as mentioned by Mr. Vandenkendelaere, Mr. Millán Mon or Ms. Miranda, a balanced agreement on the issue of fisheries.Two, thematic cooperation. Mr López Aguilar mentioned aviation, Mr Peter van Dalen referred to research or universities. I could quote Erasmus. We will establish in a different financial and regulatory framework than today because the UK has chosen to no longer be in the Union. We will establish a framework for cooperation to keep this work with the British in the common interest. Thirdly, cooperation on justice and home affairs, police or judicial cooperation.And finally, of course, with this great country, a strategic partnership for foreign policy, security and defense.With regard to the first pillar, economic cooperation, as we speak, all models of cooperation with third countries are still on the table. They are available. We are open for business. It’s the UK that is closing doors.I listened attentively to Theresa May’s Mansion House speech, which confirms the doors that the UK is closing objectively by confirming red lines. Exit the domestic market, leave the customs union. Elmar Brok earlier recalled this red line, Esteban González Pons too. To regain a regulatory and commercial autonomy, this was told to us earlier by many of you. Never be bound by the Court of Justice. These are the red lines that the United Kingdom confirms.We take note of it. But then we have to go to the obvious. One can not want both the status of a third country and at the same time ask for benefits belonging to the Union and only to the Union as Philippe Lamberts, who called for this clarification. We cannot, we will not be able to use the internal market à la carte – Mr Lenaers or Mr Danti have said it again, while it constitutes an integrated ecosystem and the four freedoms, including freedom of movement, are indivisible and inseparable. We cannot want to participate in our agencies without the legal commitment to adopt and apply EU law and the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice.We cannot, we cannot solicit from the outside the mutual recognition of rules and standards, whereas this can only be based on trust, ie a common law, a coherent supervision and a single jurisdiction.And, ladies and gentlemen, Mr President, it is a rather surprising idea indeed to believe that the 27 EU Member States and your Parliament could somehow accept convergence when the United Kingdom so wishes. and at the same time give it the opportunity to diverge when it comes to creating a comparative advantage To coin a phrase, it is time to face up to hard facts.Mr. Ferreira earlier, Mr. Lange, Ms. Scott Cato, in particular have raised the issue of standards in the United Kingdom. It will be a third and sovereign country. And then at home too. This is a very important point and it is a question that I asked a few weeks ago and for which we do not yet have an answer from the United Kingdom. The UK chooses to leave the Union, chooses to leave the single market and the customs union. We take note of it. Does he also want to leave or move away from our regulatory model? The very one we patiently built together with you and you with us for 44 years. A regulatory model that is not just about standards, standards or laws. Behind which there are in fact societal choices that we have made together. The social market economy, social protection, security and a certain food model, financial regulation. I could cite other examples of those common corporate choices we made at 28 that are translated, consolidated by this regulatory model.And this question is very important. Does the United Kingdom also want to move away from this model that we have done with it and engage in the path of regulatory competition, even dumping against us. This question is not only important, I say in passing for the economy itself, for citizens, for consumers. It is also very important for the political conditions of the ratification of any future relations agreement between us and the United Kingdom because, on that day, it will be for the European Parliament to decide, for the Council too, but also unanimously by the 27 national parliaments and perhaps even by some regional parliaments. And I recommend on this question the divergence, or even the risk of dumping, to be very attentive right now to the conditions of this ratification.

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Finally, my last point, there is the question of Ireland. Ms. McGuinness spoke on this point with great force. Everyone knows that the Union has played its role, has held its place for dialogue and peace in Ireland, to bring closer and give a common horizon. The conditions of stability and dialogue between previously divided communities.The Union is not responsible for the consequences of Brexit. But she is accountable for this cooperation, this stability and this common future. That is why, as many have wished, a strong and lasting agreement on Brexit, listen to me, a lasting and strong agreement on Brexit, on orderly withdrawal must include a solid and lasting solution for Ireland and for Europe. North Ireland. This is the meaning of the protocol we proposed in this draft withdrawal agreement. This option, this third option that we have operationalized, is part of the joint commitments between us and the United Kingdom at the highest level, that of Theresa May, President Juncker and Donald Tusk. And this document only implements one of the options of the December Joint Report. I already told you, Ms. Dodds, when we saw each other in my office a few days ago. I also told Mr. Nicholson that I always listen carefully. It is no more and no less than the options we decided to study to provide concrete solutions. It is our responsibility to operationalize how we will avoid a hard border on the Isle of Ireland in the absence of other solutions and taking into account the decision of the UK to leave the market and leave the customs union. And I will not cease to repeat, this solution of “backstop”, one of the three, we are ready to replace it by any other better solution that would be proposed by the British government, this is a point mentioned by Mr. Carthy or Richard Corbett just now. In conclusion, Mr President Tajani, Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I simply want to confirm that the strength, the clarity of the Union’s position, our unity on the subjects of withdrawal as well as on the future, that is our strength in this negotiation. Obviously it would not be possible, this clarity, this solidity, without the trust you place in our bargaining team, in your bargaining team. And we will continue to work as I told the Brexit Steering Group, Guy Verhofstadt, in a permanent attitude of dialogue and transparency with you. I would like to thank you, Mr President, as well as Guy and each of the members of the Brexit Steering Group, the Group Presidents and the Commission Chairs, your coordinators for the quality and sincerity of our joint work. And I think that the resolution you are going to adopt is essential for the success of the steps we have before us. Thank you for your attention.

STATEMENT/18/1925 – Only the original statement delivered in French is the correct one here

09/03/2018

BREXIT: EU-UK ARTICLE 50 NEGOTIATIONS 13-15 MARCH

Programme

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Meeting at technical level

  • Technical clarification to the Joint Report on the financial settlement

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Meetings at technical level

  • Technical clarification to the Joint Report on citizens’ rights
  • Other separation issues

Meetings at Coordinators’ level

  • Ireland / Northern Ireland
  • Transition

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Meeting at technical level

  • Other separation issues

Additional meetings at Coordinators’ level may be scheduled.

 

07/03/2018

BREXIT: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SET OUT IS VISION FOR FUTURE EU-UK RELATIONSHIP

The European Parliament’s political leadership has endorsed a draft resolution laying out a possible framework for future EU-UK relations after Brexit.

An association agreement between the EU and the UK could provide an appropriate framework for the future relationship, says a draft resolution endorsed by the Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders). This relationship could be based on four pillars: trade and economic relations, foreign policy, internal security and thematic cooperation, for example on cross-border research and innovation projects. MEPs insist that it should include a consistent governance framework, with a robust dispute resolution mechanism.

The motion, prepared by the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, stresses that the EU has binding common rules, common institutions and common supervisory, enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms, to make it clear that even closely-aligned third countries with identical legislation cannot enjoy similar rights, benefits or market access to those of EU member states.

Any framework for the future relationship would need to respect the integrity of the internal market, customs union and four freedoms, without allowing for a sector-by-sector approach. It should preserve the EU’s autonomy of decision and legal order, including the role of the ECJ.

The draft resolution welcomes the Commission’s 28 February draft of the Withdrawal agreement and expresses support for the transitional arrangements proposed. It also reiterates the importance given to securing equal and fair treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU.

Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani said:

“As far as the European Parliament is concerned, the principles governing our future relations are clear: single market integrity must be preserved, a third country cannot be treated more favourably than an EU member state and a level playing field is essential. Working from these guidelines, we want to achieve the closest possible relationship between the European Union and United Kingdom. Brexit will not solve shared issues such as terrorism and security, for instance, so close cooperation in many areas will continue to be of mutual interest.

Brexit negotiations have reached a critical stage, yet essential issues over citizens’ rights remain unresolved and solutions maintaining an invisible border on the island of Ireland are not forthcoming. Any type of border would jeopardise the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement and I insist that this must absolutely be avoided.

With regards to the transition period, the European Parliament is also clear that we will not approve an agreement that discriminates against European citizens who arrive in the UK during the latter. The acquis communautaire must apply fully, including on citizens’ rights.”

EP coordinator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt added:

“In order to break the deadlock we now face, I believe it is important that the UK Government now seriously considers engaging with the European Parliament’s proposal for an association agreement, as catered for by Article 217 of the EU Treaty. I am convinced this will allow both the EU and the UK to unlock a lasting deep and special partnership for the future. ”

“We look forward to receiving some further clarifications from the British Government regarding citizen’s rights, as a number of outstanding issues remain unresolved. We do not accept the United Kingdom’s negotiating position that maintains discriminations between EU citizens arriving before and after the start of the transition period. We hope the British Home Office can come to Brussels to present their proposal for a registration system for EU citizens in the UK, in the search for a solution.”

Next steps

Members will debate the draft text with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Tuesday 13 March.  The resolution as voted will set out Parliament’s input ahead of EU heads of state or government summit, which is expected to approve the Council’s guidelines for negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Any withdrawal agreement and future association agreement will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.

07/03/2018

BREXIT: Statement by President Donald Tusk on the draft guidelines on the framework for the future relationship with the UK

European Council (Article 50) 23-March-2018-Draft-Guidelines-1 – XT 21022-18
Good afternoon. I am very happy to be back in Luxembourg. And very happy to be here with my colleague and good friend, Prime Minister Bettel, to discuss the agenda of the March European Council.

Two hours ago, I sent the EU27 Member States my draft guidelines for our relations with the UK after Brexit. I’m here in Luxembourg to consult the Prime Minister on these guidelines that I hope will be adopted at our European Council in March. It is not a coincidence that once again I start my consultations ahead of a European Council meeting here in Luxembourg with Prime Minister Bettel. I really value your advice – always very constructive and responsible.

My proposal shows that we doesn’t want to build a wall between the EU and Britain. On the contrary, the UK will be our closest neighbour and we want to remain friends and partners also after Brexit. Partners that are as close as possible, just like we have said from the very first day after the referendum.

And, in this spirit, I propose close cooperation within the following areas.

Firstly, as we are confronted with similar security threats, I propose that the EU and the UK continue our common fight against terrorism and international crime. The increasing global instability requires our uninterrupted cooperation in defence and foreign affairs. It is about the security of our citizens, which must be preserved beyond Brexit.

Secondly, we invite the UK to participate in EU programmes in the fields of research and innovation, as well as in education and culture. This is key to maintain mutually beneficial and enriching personal networks in these vital areas, and for our community of values to prosper also in future.

Thirdly, I am determined to avoid that particularly absurd consequence of Brexit that is the disruption of flights between the UK and the EU. To do so, we must start discussions on this issue as soon as possible.

Now, coming to the core of our future economic relationship. During my talks in London last Thursday, and in her speech last Friday, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the UK will leave the Single Market, leave the customs union and leave the jurisdiction of the ECJ (European Court of Justice). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the only remaining possible model is a free trade agreement. I hope that it will be ambitious and advanced – and we will do our best, as we did with other partners, such as Canada recently – but anyway it will only be a trade agreement.

I propose that we aim for a trade agreement covering all sectors and with zero tariffs on goods. Like other free trade agreements, it should address services. And in fisheries, reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.

This positive approach doesn’t change the simple fact that because of Brexit we will be drifting apart. In fact, this will be the first FTA in history that loosens economic ties, instead of strengthening them. Our agreement will not make trade between the UK and the EU frictionless or smoother. It will make it more complicated and costly than today, for all of us. This is the essence of Brexit.

To sum up, we will enter the negotiations of the future relations with the UK with an open, positive and constructive mind, but also with realism. From my point of view, the outcome of the negotiations must pass two key tests:

– the test of balance of rights and obligations. For example, the EU cannot agree to grant the UK the rights of Norway with the obligations of Canada;

– the test of integrity of the Single Market. No Member State is free to pick only those sectors of the Single Market it likes, nor to accept the role of the ECJ only when it suits their interest. By the same token, a pick-and-mix approach for a non-member state is out of the question. We are not going to sacrifice these principles. It’s simply not in our interest.

Finally, a few words about another topic of the March summit. Following the announcement of President Trump, there is a risk of a serious trade dispute between the United States and the rest of the world, including the EU. President Trump has recently said, and I quote: ‘trade wars are good, and easy to win’. But the truth is quite the opposite: trade wars are bad, and easy to lose. For this reason, I strongly believe that now is the time for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to act responsibly.

Given that President Trump’s announcement may have repercussions for our citizens and European businesses, not to mention the global economy, I will propose that the EU leaders have an extraordinary trade debate at the upcoming summit. We should have a clear objective in mind: to keep world trade alive. And, if necessary, to protect Europeans against trade turbulence, including by proportionate responses in accordance with the WTO. Thank you.

02/03/2018

BREXIT: Programme: EU-UK Article 50 negotiations,  Brussels, 5-7 March 2018

 

Monday, 5 March 2018

Meeting at technical level

  • Transition
  • Other separation issues
  • Governance

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Meeting at technical level

  • Transition
  • Other separation issues
  • Technical clarification to the Joint Report on the financial settlement

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Meeting at technical and Coordinators’ level

  • Transition
  • Other separation issues
  • Technical clarification to the Joint Report on the financial settlement and citizens’ rights
  • Ireland / Northern Ireland

Additional meetings at Coordinators’ level may be scheduled.

02/03/2018

BREXIT: UK IS HEADING FOR A HARD BORDER AND A CHEAP FOOD POLICY THAT WOULD BE DISASTROUS FOR IRELAND

Reacting to today’s speech by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Brexit, IFA President Joe Healy said he is extremely concerned by the direction the UK set out because it will make a hard border inevitable and would see the UK pursuing a cheap food policy in new trade deals with third countries that would damage Ireland’s farming and food sector.

Joe Healy said the UK has come up with no new proposals to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, “They are trying to rerun the ideas they put forward last August of a customs partnership or a highly streamlined customs arrangement. It is impossible to see either of these proposals working in the crucial farming and food sector, if the UK does not remain fully aligned with the rules of the single market and customs union. The UK cannot be allowed to walk away from its commitment in the Joint Report of last December to avoid a hard border.”

The IFA President said, “Theresa May’s statements around standards and fair competition are vague and dangerously misleading. By setting their own standards and cutting tariffs on food imports from third countries, the UK could seriously devalue the British market for Irish beef and dairy exports and in turn destabilise the European food market.

“What this means in practice is high quality Irish food exports produced to the highest EU standards being undermined on the British market by cheaper, inferior food products such as Brazilian beef, hormoned US beef or chlorinated chicken.”

Joe Healy said “It is clear that the agri-food sector is set to become a major battleground in the negotiations on the future relationship between the EU ad the UK. The Irish Government must now prioritise our requirement that the UK maintains full regulatory alignment with the EU’s standards and common external tariff in the area of agriculture and food.”

Joe Healy said full regulatory alignment in the agri-food sector would help to avoid a hard border in Ireland and deliver the closest possible trading relationship between Ireland, north and south, and Britain.

02/03/2018

BREXIT: UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on our future economic partnership with the European Union – WATCH SPEECH LIVE HERE

Five tests

Now I am here today to set out my vision for the future economic partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

There have been many different voices and views in the debate on what our new relationship with the EU should look like. I have listened carefully to them all.

But as we chart our way forward with the EU, I want to take a moment to look back.

Eighteen months ago I stood in Downing Street and addressed the nation for my first time as Prime Minister.

I made this pledge then, to the people that I serve:

I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.

We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.

When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.

When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.

When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few.

We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

That pledge, to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.

And for me that means five things: First, the agreement we reach with the EU must respect the referendum. It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money. And a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again. But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours.

SPEECH CONTINUED

Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.

Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the UK voted for our country to have a new and different relationship with Europe, but while the means may change our shared goals surely have not – to work together to grow our economies and keep our people safe.

Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators. A country that celebrates our history and diversity, confident of our place in the world; that meets its obligations to our near neighbours and far off friends, and is proud to stand up for its values.

And fifth, in doing all of these things, it must strengthen our union of nations and our union of people.

We must bring our country back together, taking into account the views of everyone who cares about this issue, from both sides of the debate. As Prime Minister it is my duty to represent all of our United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; north and south, from coastal towns and rural villages to our great cities.

So these are the five tests for the deal that we will negotiate.

Implementing the decision of the British people; reaching an enduring solution; protecting our security and prosperity; delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country we want to be; and bringing our country together, strengthening the precious union of all our people.

A crucial moment

We are now approaching a crucial moment.

There is no escaping the complexity of the task ahead of us. We must not only negotiate our exit from an organisation that touches so many important parts of our national life. We must also build a new and lasting relationship while, given the uncertainty inherent in this negotiation, preparing for every scenario.

But we are making real progress.

At the end of last year, we agreed the key elements of our withdrawal.

We are in the process of turning that agreement into draft legal text. We have made clear our concerns about the first draft the Commission published on Wednesday – but no-one should be in any doubt about our commitment to the Joint Report we agreed in December.

We are close to agreement on the terms of an implementation period which was a key element of December’s deal.

Of course some points of difference remain – but I am confident these can be resolved in the days ahead.

Both the UK and the EU are clear this implementation period must be time-limited and cannot become a permanent solution. But it is vital to give governments, businesses and citizens on both sides the time they need to prepare for our new relationship.

With this agreed, I want both sides to turn all our attention and efforts to that new relationship.

But before we can do that, we need to set out in more detail what relationship we want, building on my Lancaster House and Florence speeches.

So last month, I spoke in Munich about the security partnership we seek.

And today, I want to talk about the other pillar of that relationship: how we build our economic partnership.

Existing models will not work

In my speech in Florence, I set out why the existing models for economic partnership either do not deliver the ambition we need or impose unsustainable constraints on our democracy.

For example, the Norway model, where we would stay in the single market, would mean having to implement new EU legislation automatically and in its entirety – and would also mean continued free movement.

Others have suggested we negotiate a free trade agreement similar to that which Canada has recently negotiated with the EU – or trade on World Trade Organisation terms.

But these options would mean a significant reduction in our access to each other’s markets compared to that which we currently enjoy.

And this would mean customs and regulatory checks at the border that would damage the integrated supply chains that our industries depend on and be inconsistent with the commitments that both we and the EU have made in respect of Northern Ireland.

This is a wider issue in our negotiations and I want to dwell on this for a minute.

Successive British governments have worked tirelessly – together with all the parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish Government – to bring about the historic achievement of peace.

This is an achievement that we should all be proud of, and protect. That is why I have consistently put upholding the Belfast Agreement at the heart of the UK’s approach.

Our departure from the EU causes very particular challenges for Northern Ireland, and for Ireland. We joined the EU together 45 years ago. It is not surprising that our decision to leave has caused anxiety and a desire for concrete solutions.

We have been clear all along that we don’t want to go back to a hard border in Ireland. We have ruled out any physical infrastructure at the border, or any related checks and controls.

But it is not good enough to say, ‘We won’t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s down to them’. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution.

But we can’t do it on our own. It is for all of us to work together.

And the Taoiseach and I agreed when we met recently that our teams and the Commission should now do just that.

I want to make one final point. Just as it would be unacceptable to go back to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, it would also be unacceptable to break up the United Kingdom’s own common market by creating a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea.

My personal commitment to this is clear.

As Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom, I am not going to let our departure from the European Union do anything to set back the historic progress that we have made in Northern Ireland – nor will I allow anything that would damage the integrity of our precious Union.

Facing up to some hard facts

So existing models do not provide the best way forward for either the UK or the EU. But before I turn to what a new and better model might look like, I want to be straight with people – because the reality is that we all need to face up to some hard facts.

We are leaving the single market. Life is going to be different. In certain ways, our access to each other’s markets will be less than it is now. How could the EU’s structure of rights and obligations be sustained, if the UK – or any country – were allowed to enjoy all the benefits without all of the obligations?

So we need to strike a new balance. But we will not accept the rights of Canada and the obligations of Norway.

The second hard fact is that even after we have left the jurisdiction of the ECJ, EU law and the decisions of the ECJ will continue to affect us.

For a start, the ECJ determines whether agreements the EU has struck are legal under the EU’s own law – as the US found when the ECJ declared the Safe Harbor Framework for data sharing invalid.

When we leave the EU, the Withdrawal Bill will bring EU law into UK law. That means cases will be determined in our courts. But, where appropriate, our courts will continue to look at the ECJ’s judgments, as they do for the appropriate jurisprudence of other countries’ courts.

And if, as part of our future partnership, Parliament passes an identical law to an EU law, it may make sense for our courts to look at the appropriate ECJ judgments so that we both interpret those laws consistently.

As I said in Munich, if we agree that the UK should continue to participate in an EU agency the UK would have to respect the remit of the ECJ in that regard.

But, in the future, the EU treaties and hence EU law will no longer apply in the UK. The agreement we reach must therefore respect the sovereignty of both the UK and the EU’s legal orders. That means the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the UK must end. It also means that the ultimate arbiter of disputes about our future partnership cannot be the court of either party.

The next hard fact is this. If we want good access to each other’s markets, it has to be on fair terms. As with any trade agreement, we must accept the need for binding commitments – for example, we may choose to commit some areas of our regulations like state aid and competition to remaining in step with the EU’s.

The UK drove much of the policy in this area and we have much to gain from maintaining proper disciplines on the use of subsidies and on anti-competitive practices.

Furthermore, as I said in Florence, we share the same set of fundamental beliefs; a belief in free trade, rigorous and fair competition, strong consumer rights, and that trying to beat other countries’ industries by unfairly subsidising one’s own is a serious mistake.

And in other areas like workers’ rights or the environment, the EU should be confident that we will not engage in a race to the bottom in the standards and protections we set. There is no serious political constituency in the UK which would support this – quite the opposite.

Finally, we need to resolve the tensions between some of our key objectives.

We want the freedom to negotiate trade agreements with other countries around the world. We want to take back control of our laws. We also want as frictionless a border as possible between us and the EU – so that we don’t damage the integrated supply chains our industries depend on and don’t have a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

But there are some tensions in the EU’s position too – and some hard facts for them to face as well.

The Commission has suggested that the only option available to the UK is an ‘off the shelf’ model.

But, at the same time, they have also said that in certain areas none of the EU’s third country agreements would be appropriate.

And the European Council’s Guidelines aspire to a balanced, ambitious, and wide-ranging deal, with common rules in a number of areas to ensure fair and open competition.

This would not be delivered by a Canada-style deal – which would not give them the breadth or depth of market access that they want.

And it is hard to see how it would be in the EU’s interests for the UK’s regulatory standards to be as different as Canada’s.

Finally, we both need to face the fact that this is a negotiation and neither of us can have exactly what we want.

Future economic partnership

But I am confident we can reach agreement.

We both want good access to each other’s markets; we want competition between us to be fair and open; and we want reliable, transparent means of verifying we are meeting our commitments and resolving disputes.

But what is clear is that for us both to meet our objectives we need to look beyond the precedents, and find a new balance.

As on security, what I am seeking is a relationship that goes beyond the transactional to one where we support each other’s interests.

So I want the broadest and deepest possible partnership – covering more sectors and co-operating more fully than any Free Trade Agreement anywhere in the world today. And as I will go on to describe we will also need agreements in a range of areas covering the breadth of our relationship.

I believe this is achievable because it is in the EU’s interests as well as ours.

The EU is the UK’s biggest market – and of course the UK is also a big market for the EU. And furthermore, we have a unique starting point, where on day one we both have the same laws and rules.

So rather than having to bring two different systems closer together, the task will be to manage the relationship once we are two separate legal systems.

To do so, and to realise this level of ambition, there are five foundations that must underpin our trading relationship.

First, our agreement will need reciprocal binding commitments to ensure fair and open competition.

Such agreements are part and parcel of any trade agreement. After all, why would any country enter into a privileged economic partnership without any means of redress if the other party engaged in anti-competitive practices?

But the level of integration between the UK and EU markets and our geographical proximity mean these reciprocal commitments will be particularly important in ensuring that UK business can compete fairly in EU markets and vice versa.

A deep and comprehensive agreement with the EU will therefore need to include commitments reflecting the extent to which the UK and EU economies are entwined.

Second, we will need an arbitration mechanism that is completely independent – something which, again, is common to Free Trade Agreements.

This will ensure that any disagreements about the purpose or scope of the agreement can be resolved fairly and promptly.

Third, given the close relationship we envisage, we will need to have an ongoing dialogue with the EU, and to ensure we have the means to consult each other regularly.

In particular we will want to make sure our regulators continue to work together; as they do with regulators internationally. This will be essential for everything from getting new drugs to patients quickly to maintaining financial stability. We start from the place where our regulators already have deep and long-standing relationships. So the task is maintaining that trust; not building it in the first place.

Fourth, we will need an arrangement for data protection.

I made this point in Munich in relation to our security relationship. But the free flow of data is also critical for both sides in any modern trading relationship too. The UK has exceptionally high standards of data protection. And we want to secure an agreement with the EU that provides the stability and confidence for EU and UK business and individuals to achieve our aims in maintaining and developing the UK’s strong trading and economic links with the EU.

That is why we will be seeking more than just an adequacy arrangement and want to see an appropriate ongoing role for the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office. This will ensure UK businesses are effectively represented under the EU’s new ‘one stop shop’ mechanism for resolving data protection disputes.

And fifth, we must maintain the links between our people.

EU citizens are an integral part of the economic, cultural and social fabric of our country. I know that UK nationals are viewed in entirely the same way by communities across the EU. And this is why at every stage of these negotiations, I have put the interests of EU citizens and UK nationals at the heart of our approach.

We are clear that as we leave the EU, free movement of people will come to an end and we will control the number of people who come to live in our country.

But UK citizens will still want to work and study in EU countries – just as EU citizens will want to do the same here, helping to shape and drive growth, innovation and enterprise. Indeed, businesses across the EU and the UK must be able to attract and employ the people they need. And we are open to discussing how to facilitate these valuable links.

Reciprocal commitments to ensure fair and open competition, an independent arbitration mechanism, an ongoing dialogue, data protection arrangements and maintaining the links between our people. These are the foundations that underpin the ambition of this unique and unprecedented partnership.

It will then need to be tailored to the needs of our economies.

This follows the approach the EU has taken with its trade agreements in the past – and indeed with its own single market as it has developed.

The EU’s agreement with Ukraine sees it align with the EU in some areas but not others. The EU’s agreement with South Korea contains provisions to recognise each others’ approvals for new car models, whereas their agreement with Canada does not. Equally, the EU’s agreement with Canada contains provisions to recognise each others’ testing on machinery; its agreement with South Korea does not.

The EU itself is rightly taking a tailored approach in what it is seeking with the UK. For example, on fisheries, the Commission has been clear that no precedents exist for the sort of access it wants from the UK.

The fact is that every Free Trade Agreement has varying market access depending on the respective interests of the countries involved. If this is cherry-picking, then every trade arrangement is cherry-picking.

Moreover, with all its neighbours the EU has varying levels of access to the Single Market, depending on the obligations those neighbours are willing to undertake.

What would be cherry-picking would be if we were to seek a deal where our rights and obligations were not held in balance.

And I have been categorically clear that is not what we are going to do.

I think it is pragmatic common sense that we should work together to deliver the best outcome for both sides.

Goods

Let me start with how we do this for goods.

This is the area where the single market is most established and both the UK and the EU have a strong commercial interest in preserving integrated supply chains that have built up over forty years of our membership.

When it comes to goods, a fundamental principle in our negotiating strategy should be that trade at the UK-EU border should be as frictionless as possible.

That means we don’t want to see the introduction of any tariffs or quotas. And – as the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union set out in his speech in Vienna last week – we must ensure that, as now, products only need to undergo one series of approvals, in one country, to show that they meet the required regulatory standards.

To achieve this we will need a comprehensive system of mutual recognition.

The UK will need to make a strong commitment that its regulatory standards will remain as high as the EU’s. That commitment, in practice, will mean that UK and EU regulatory standards will remain substantially similar in the future.

Many of these regulatory standards are themselves underpinned by international standards set by non-EU bodies of which we will remain a member – such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe, which sets vehicle safety standards. Countries around the world, including Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Japan and Russia, are party to the agreement.

As I said in my speech in Florence this could be achieved in different ways.

Our default is that UK law may not necessarily be identical to EU law, but it should achieve the same outcomes. In some cases Parliament might choose to pass an identical law – businesses who export to the EU tell us that it is strongly in their interest to have a single set of regulatory standards that mean they can sell into the UK and EU markets.

If the Parliament of the day decided not to achieve the same outcomes as EU law, it would be in the knowledge that there may be consequences for our market access.

And there will need to be an independent mechanism to oversee these arrangements.

We will also want to explore with the EU, the terms on which the UK could remain part of EU agencies such as those that are critical for the chemicals, medicines and aerospace industries: the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, and the European Aviation Safety Agency.

We would, of course, accept that this would mean abiding by the rules of those agencies and making an appropriate financial contribution.

I want to explain what I believe the benefits of this approach could be, both for us and the EU.

First, associate membership of these agencies is the only way to meet our objective of ensuring that these products only need to undergo one series of approvals, in one country.

Second, these agencies have a critical role in setting and enforcing relevant rules. And if we were able to negotiate associate membership we would be able to ensure that we could continue to provide our technical expertise.

Third, associate membership could permit UK firms to resolve certain challenges related to the agencies through UK courts rather than the ECJ.

For example, in the case of Switzerland, associate membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency means that airworthiness certifications are granted by its own aviation authority, and disputes are resolved through its courts. Without its membership, Swiss airlines would need to gain their certifications through another member state or through the Agency, and any dispute would need to be resolved through the ECJ.

Fourth it would bring other benefits too. For example, membership of the European Medicines Agency would mean investment in new innovative medicines continuing in the UK, and it would mean these medicines getting to patients faster as firms prioritise larger markets when they start the lengthy process of seeking authorisations. But it would also be good for the EU because the UK regulator assesses more new medicines than any other member state. And the EU would continue to access the expertise of the UK’s world-leading universities.

And, of course, Parliament would remain ultimately sovereign. It could decide not to accept these rules, but with consequences for our membership of the relevant agency and linked market access rights.

Lastly to achieve as frictionless a border as possible and to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, we also need an agreement on customs.

The UK has been clear it is leaving the Customs Union.

The EU has also formed a customs union with some other countries.

But those arrangements, if applied to the UK, would mean the EU setting the UK’s external tariffs, being able to let other countries sell more into the UK without making it any easier for us to sell more to them, or the UK signing up to the Common Commercial Policy. That would not be compatible with a meaningful independent trade policy. It would mean we had less control than we do now over our trade in the world. Neither Leave nor Remain voters would want that.

So we have thought seriously about how our commitment to a frictionless border can best be delivered. And last year, we set out two potential options for our customs arrangement. Option one is a customs partnership between the UK and the EU. At the border, the UK would mirror the EU’s requirements for imports from the rest of the world, applying the same tariffs and the same rules of origin as the EU for those goods arriving in the UK and intended for the EU. By following this approach, we would know that all goods entering the EU via the UK pay the right EU duties, removing the need for customs processes at the UK-EU border.

But, importantly, we would put in place a mechanism so that the UK would also be able to apply its own tariffs and trade policy for goods intended for the UK market. As we have set out previously, this would require the means to ensure that both sides can trust the system and a robust enforcement mechanism.

Option two would be a highly streamlined customs arrangement, where we would jointly agree to implement a range of measures to minimise frictions to trade, together with specific provisions for Northern Ireland.

First, measures to ensure the requirements for moving goods across borders are as simple as possible.

This means we should continue to waive the requirement for entry and exit declarations for goods moving between the UK and the EU.

And we should allow goods moving between the UK and the rest of the world to travel through the EU without paying EU duties and vice versa.

Second, measures to reduce the risk of delays at ports and airports. For example, recognising each other’s “trusted traders” schemes and drawing on the most advanced IT solutions so that vehicles do not need to stop at the border.

Third, we should continue our cooperation to mitigate customs duty and security risks.

And fourth, measures to reduce the cost and burden of complying with customs administrative requirements, including by maximising the use of automation.

And recognising the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland, and our shared commitments to avoiding a hard border, we should consider further specific measures.

80% of North-South trade is carried out by micro, small and medium sized businesses.

So for smaller traders – who as members of the community are most affected but whose economic role is not systemically significant for the EU market – we would allow them to continue to operate as they do currently, with no new restrictions.

And for larger traders we would introduce streamlined processes, including a trusted trader scheme that would be consistent with our commitments.

Both of these options for our future customs arrangement would leave the UK free to determine its own tariffs with third countries – which would simply not be possible in a customs union.

I recognise that some of these ideas depend on technology, robust systems to ensure trust and confidence, as well as goodwill – but they are serious and merit consideration by all sides.

So to conclude on goods, a fundamental principle in our negotiating strategy is that trade at the UK-EU border should be as frictionless as possible with no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

We believe this can be achieved via a commitment to ensure that the relevant UK regulatory standards remain at least as high as the EU’s and a customs arrangement.

We recognise this would constrain our ability to lower regulatory standards for industrial goods. But in practice we are unlikely to want to reduce our standards: not least because the British public would rightly punish any government that did so at the ballot box.

Agrifood and fisheries

This approach to trade in goods is important for agriculture, food and drinks – but here other considerations also apply.

We are leaving the Common Agricultural Policy and will want to take the opportunity that brings to reform our agriculture and fisheries management.

The UK has among the highest environmental and animal welfare standards of any nation on earth. As we leave the EU we will uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage. And I fully expect that our standards will remain at least as high as the EU’s.

But it will be particularly important to secure flexibility here to ensure we can make the most of the opportunities presented by our withdrawal from the EU for our farmers and exporters.

We are also leaving the Common Fisheries Policy.

The UK will regain control over our domestic fisheries management rules and access to our waters.

But as part of our economic partnership we will want to continue to work together to manage shared stocks in a sustainable way and to agree reciprocal access to waters and a fairer allocation of fishing opportunities for the UK fishing industry.

And we will also want to ensure open markets for each other’s products.

Services

Just as our partnership in goods needs to be deeper than any other Free Trade Agreement, so in services we have the opportunity to break new ground with a broader agreement than ever before.

We recognise that certain aspects of trade in services are intrinsically linked to the single market and therefore our market access in these areas will need to be different.

But we should only allow new barriers to be introduced where absolutely necessary. We don’t want to discriminate against EU service providers in the UK. And we wouldn’t want the EU to discriminate against UK service providers.

So we want to limit the number of barriers that could prevent UK firms from setting up in the EU and vice versa, and agree an appropriate labour mobility framework that enables UK businesses and self-employed professionals to travel to the EU to provide services to clients in person and that allows UK businesses to provide services to the EU over the phone or the internet. And we want to do the same for EU firms providing services to the UK.

And given that UK qualifications are already recognised across the EU and vice versa – it would make sense to continue to recognise each other’s qualifications in the future.

There are two areas which have never been covered in a Free Trade Agreement in any meaningful way before – broadcasting and, despite the EU’s own best efforts in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, financial services.

But we have some ideas for how we can do this – and it is in all our interests to explore these.

On broadcasting, we recognise that we cannot have exactly the same arrangements with the EU as we do now. Currently, because of the “country of origin” principle, a company based in the UK can be licenced by Ofcom and broadcast into any EU member state and vice versa. The relevant directive will not apply to the UK, as we leave the EU, and relying solely on precedents will hurt consumers and businesses on both sides.

The UK’s creative hub leads to the development of products that European consumers want – the UK currently provides around 30% of the channels available in the EU. But equally, many UK companies have pan-European ownership, and there are 35 channels and on-demand services, which are offered in the UK but licensed in the EU.

So we should explore creative options with an open mind, including mutual recognition which would allow for continued transfrontier broadcasting – recognising the enriching role that British broadcasters and programme makers play, not only in British – but more broadly in our common European – culture.

Similarly, on financial services, the Chancellor will be setting out next week how financial services can and should be part of a deep and comprehensive partnership. We are not looking for passporting because we understand this is intrinsic to the single market of which we would no longer be a member. It would also require us to be subject to a single rule book, over which we would have no say.

The UK has responsibility for the financial stability of the world’s most significant financial centre, and our taxpayers bear the risk, so it would be unrealistic for us to implement new EU legislation automatically and in its entirety.

But with UK located banks underwriting around half of the debt and equity issued by EU companies and providing more than £1.1 trillion of cross-border lending to the rest of the EU in 2015 alone, this is a clear example of where only looking at precedent would hurt both the UK and EU economies.

As in other areas of the future economic partnership, our goal should be to establish the ability to access each others’ markets, based on the UK and EU maintaining the same regulatory outcomes over time, with a mechanism for determining proportionate consequences where they are not maintained. But given the highly regulated nature of financial services, and our shared desire to manage financial stability risks, we would need a collaborative, objective framework that is reciprocal, mutually agreed, and permanent and therefore reliable for businesses.

There are many other areas where the UK and EU economies are closely linked – including energy, transport, digital, law, science and innovation, and education and culture.

On energy, we will want to secure broad energy co-operation with the EU. This includes protecting the single electricity market across Ireland and Northern Ireland – and exploring options for the UK’s continued participation in the EU’s internal energy market. We also believe it is of benefit to both sides for the UK to have a close association with Euratom.

On transport, we will want to ensure the continuity of air, maritime and rail services; and we will want to protect the rights of road hauliers to access the EU market and vice versa.

On digital, the UK will not be part of the EU’s Digital Single Market, which will continue to develop after our withdrawal from the EU. This is a fast evolving, innovative sector, in which the UK is a world leader. So it will be particularly important to have domestic flexibility, to ensure the regulatory environment can always respond nimbly and ambitiously to new developments.

We will want our agreement to cover civil judicial cooperation, where the EU has already shown that it can reach agreement with non-member states, such as through the Lugano Convention, although we would want a broader agreement that reflects our unique starting point. And our agreement will also need to cover company law and intellectual property, to provide further legal certainty and coherence.

The UK is also committed to establishing a far-reaching science and innovation pact with the EU, facilitating the exchange of ideas and researchers. This would enable the UK to participate in key programmes alongside our EU partners. And we want to take a similar approach to educational and cultural programmes, to promote our shared values and enhance our intellectual strength in the world – again making an ongoing contribution to cover our fair share of the costs involved.

In all these areas, bold and creative thinking can deliver new agreements that are in the very best interests of all our people – both in the UK and across the EU.

And in the face of a worrying rise in protectionism, I believe such agreements can enable us to set an example to the world.

Post-Brexit Britain

For the world is watching.

We should not think of our leaving the EU as marking an ending, as much as a new beginning for the United Kingdom and our relationship with our European allies.

Change is not to be feared, so long as we face it with a clear-sighted determination to act for the common good.

Nor is Brexit an end in itself.

Rather, it must be the means by which we reaffirm Britain’s place in the world and renew the ties that bind us here at home. And I know that the United Kingdom I treasure can emerge from this process a stronger, more cohesive nation.

A United Kingdom which is a cradle for innovation; a leader in the industries of the future; a champion of free trade, based on high standards; a modern, outward-looking, tolerant country, proud of our values and confident of our place in the world.

This is an optimistic and confident future which can unite us all.

A Global Britain which thrives in the world by forging a bold and comprehensive economic partnership with our neighbours in the EU; and reaches out beyond our continent, to trade with nations across the globe.

The approach I have set out today would: implement the referendum result, provide an enduring solution, protect our security and prosperity, helps us build the kind of country we want to be, and bring our country together by commanding the confidence of those who voted Leave and those who voted Remain. It is an approach to deliver for the whole of our United Kingdom and our wider family of overseas territories.

I am in no doubt that whatever agreement we reach with the EU, our future is bright. The stability and continuity of centuries of self-government, our commitment to freedom under the rule of law, our belief in enterprise and innovation, but above all, the talent and genius of all our people – and especially our young people – are the seeds of our success in the future, as they have been the guarantors of our success in the past.

I look forward to discussing our future partnership with our European friends. Because although we are leaving the EU – and in that regard we will become separate – we are all still European and will stay linked by the many ties and values we have in common. And because it is only by working together that we will find solutions that work for all our peoples.

Yes, there will be ups and downs in the months ahead. As in any negotiation, no-one will get everything they want. We will not be buffeted by the demands to talk tough or threaten a walk out. Just as we will not accept the counsels of despair that this simply cannot be done. We will move forward by calm, patient discussion of each other’s positions. It is my responsibility as Prime Minister to provide that leadership for our country at this crucial time. By following the course I have set out today, I am confident we will get there and deliver the right outcome for Britain and the EU.

A generation from now what will be remembered is not the rough and tumble of negotiation but whether we reached an enduring solution cast in the interests of the people we are all here to serve. So my message to our friends in Europe is clear.

We know what we want.

We understand your principles.

We have a shared interest in getting this right.

So let’s get on with it

 

WATCH SPEECH LIVE HERE

01/03/2018

BREXIT: EUROPEAN COUNCIL (ARTICLE 50) 22-23 MARCH

Agenda highlights

The European Council (Art. 50), in an EU 27 format, will review the state of the negotiations following the United Kingdom’s notification of its intention to leave the EU and adopt additional guidelines.

Preparatory documents

28/02/2018

BREXIT: IFA REACTION TO LATEST DRAFT TEXT ON BREXIT

Reacting to today’s draft text from the EU on Brexit, IFA President Joe Healy said the latest legal text was the inevitable result of the UK’s insistence on leaving the Customs Union.

He said, “The Irish Government has to maintain its focus on the relationship between the EU and the entirety of the UK, and the need for the UK to maintain full regulatory alignment with the EU in the area of agriculture and food in any future relationship.”

Joe Healy said that ever since the implications of the UK vote to leave the EU became clear, this has been the central issue for the Irish agri food sector.

Joe Healy said North-South Regulatory alignment will help to solve one problem as it avoids a hard border in Ireland. However, East-West Regulatory Alignment has the potential to deliver a lot more, which is to continue the closest possible trading relationship between here and the rest of the UK for Irish food exporters to our largest market, Britain.

28/02/2018

Brexit: European Commission publishes draft Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement

The European Commission has today published the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement translates into legal terms the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on the progress achieved during phase 1 of the negotiations, published on 8 December 2017, and proposes text for those outstanding withdrawal issues which are mentioned in, but not set out in detail, in the Joint Report. It also integrates the text on the transition period, based on the supplementary negotiating directives adopted by the Council (Article 50) on 29 January 2018.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement consists of six parts – including introductory provisions, citizens’ rights, other separation issues such as goods placed on the market before the withdrawal date, the financial settlement, transitional arrangements, and institutional provisions – and a protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland. This protocol operationalises the third option outlined in the Joint Report, in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. This is the fall-back solution of the Joint Report, which applies in the absence of other agreed solutions. This draft protocol does not prejudge discussions on the other two options.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement is published online in accordance with the Commission’s transparency policy. The Commission has presented the draft Withdrawal Agreement now to first allow for time for consultation with the Member States and the European Parliament and, subsequently, for negotiation with the United Kingdom. Given that the Withdrawal Agreement needs to be agreed and ratified before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is important to leave sufficient time for negotiation.

Next steps

The draft Withdrawal Agreement will now be sent to the Council (Article 50) and the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group for discussion, before being transmitted to the United Kingdom for negotiation.

The European Council (Article 50) has called on the United Kingdom to provide further clarity on its position on the framework for the future relationship, with a view to its meeting on 22 and 23 March, where it is expected to adopt additional guidelines.

The overall Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement will need to be concluded by the Council (Article 50), the European Parliament, and the United Kingdom according to its own constitutional requirements.

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 30 March 2019.

Background

On 15 December 2017, the European Council (Article 50) welcomed the progress achieved during the first phase of negotiations as reflected in the Commission’s Communication and the Joint Report of 8 December 2017.

It called on the Commission as Union negotiator and the United Kingdom to complete the work on all withdrawal issues, including those not yet addressed in the first phase, to consolidate the results obtained, and to start drafting the relevant parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. It stressed that negotiations in the second phase can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible.

The European Council (Article 50) guidelines of 29 April 2017 as well as the general principles and the procedural arrangements for the conduct of the negotiations established in the Council negotiating directives of 22 May 2017 continue to apply in their entirety to this phase of the negotiations.

For More Information

Text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement

Memo

27/02/2018

BREXIT: Remarks by Michel Barnier at the press point at the end of the General Affairs Council (Article 50)

Thank you, Ekaterina, and hello to each and every one of you.

As we do regularly with my assistant Sabine Weyand, I participated in this General Affairs Council and made an objective point of this negotiation, at the moment we are three and a half weeks away from of the Council. European.

At this moment when “the clock is ticking”, I am concerned about the short time there is between now and next autumn. Since it is next autumn, in a few months, that we will have to reach an agreement with the United Kingdom, on the conditions for its orderly withdrawal from the European Union, as it wished.

This is why the College of Commissioners will discuss tomorrow a draft text for this withdrawal agreement.

And, if you do not mind, I will introduce you to this draft text which is intended to be discussed with the Member States and in close connection with the European Parliament.
And it is only after this discussion at 27 and with the European Parliament that we will put forward this project, I say this project, on the negotiating table with the United Kingdom, as soon as possible. That being said, to continue to move forward transparently, we will publish, as I have become accustomed to now, this project. And I think this publication will be useful, not only for you, for your work as a journalist, but also for everyone to take a good look at the topics we need to agree on. I also think that this publication will be useful for the public debate I am very keen on regarding all Brexit issues. Before we meet again tomorrow for this publication, I want to tell you that this project of 120 pages and 168 articles contains no surprises:

 

  • It will legally translate our December common commitments, which are contained in our Joint Report, on citizens’ rights, including the procedures that must be simple for European citizens in the UK, the Financial Regulation and of course Ireland. , important point where tomorrow we will translate the political commitments made with the United Kingdom into a legal text.
  • The text I will be presenting tomorrow will also contain our positions on the other issues of the withdrawal, topics on which there has been no progress since December and even on which there have been no negotiations for the moment. And that worries me. I hope that on the basis of a legal text, of this draft treaty of withdrawal, we will be able to move forward more easily.
  • Finally, tomorrow’s text, this draft, will contain our text on the transition that you already know about since it was published several weeks ago and that it has been the subject of several discussions with the 27 Member States and with the European Parliament. On this subject, I want to say, and I said it before the Ministers, that there remain important differences with the United Kingdom, about what we mean by transition, the conditions and the dimension of this transition:
  • Over the duration of the transition, we logically proposed that it end on 31 December 2020, at the same time as the multiannual budget period. The United Kingdom wishes we seem to want to keep this period open, which is not possible.
  • There is also a divergence on the dynamic application of the acquis. During the transition, when the whole acquis is maintained – the single market, the customs union, the European policies – obviously, everyone will follow the same rules. And we can not accept the risk of regulatory divergence for the duration of this period.
  • For the treatment of citizens’ rights, there is also a difference. The British would like to differentiate between citizens who arrived before the withdrawal date, that is, before March 29, 2019, and those who will arrive after that date, that is, during the transition period; however, during this transitional period, it is clear that the freedom of movement of persons will be maintained and therefore we want citizens arriving before and during the transition period to be treated in the same way, fairly.
  • There is also a divergence on the opt-in option for justice and home affairs;
  • And on international agreements;
  • And on the participation of the United Kingdom in the committees of experts;
  • And finally, on consultation mechanisms during the transition period, for example concerning fisheries, or foreign and defense policy. That’s a lot of differences at this point. In view of these differences, I remain objectively, and I regret, the evaluation that I told you three weeks ago. At this stage, given these differences, the transition is not achieved. I am ready to discuss all these points of divergence with David Davis quickly. It is essential that we advance, through political discussion, political negotiation, beyond all the light and all the technical evaluation that we are doing right now, yesterday and even today, with the British.

 

Finally, a word about the future relationship. Since December, we have organised with the Council 12 internal preparation seminars with the Member States. At the same time, meetings were held with the European Parliament on such topics as aviation, fisheries, security, defense and foreign policy. And these seminars are extremely useful for us, to build this common understanding of all issues for all these sectors, reaffirming each time the principles, which are those of our European identity, the integrity of the internal market, the indivisibility of four freedoms, and the non-negotiable autonomy of the 27. By asking that we understand well, that everyone understands well, it is according to these principles, in whose name I negotiate, taking into account also the red lines asked for by the United Kingdom itself, that we will work when the time comes, the European Council will say in what framework and with what mandate, on the future relationship. I would also like to say that we are working on these subjects in full confidence with the European Parliament for I thank them. There it is, thanks.

 

26/02/2018

BREXIT: Programme of EU-UK Article 50 negotiations

 

Monday, 26 February 2018

Meeting at technical level

  •  Transition

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Meeting at technical and Coordinators’ level

  • Transition and Governance of the Withdrawal Agreement

Next round: week commencing 5th March

21/02/2018

BREXIT:  General Affairs Council (Article 50) – 27 February

Preparatory documents

Agenda highlights

The Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier will inform the Council about the state of play in the Brexit negotiations with the UK.

He is expected to focus in particular on the following issues:

  • translation into legal text of the commitments in the December joint report
  • completion of the work on other withdrawal issues
  • discussions on the transition period

Ministers will also begin preparations for the March European Council (Article 50) by looking at the annotated draft agenda. At that summit the 27 EU heads of state or government are expected to adopt additional guidelines on the framework for the future relationship with the UK.

13/02/2018

BREXIT: IRELAND AND THE IMPACT OF BREXIT

Heather Humphreys, T.D., Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, has today (13th February 2018) published an independent study which Copenhagen Economics were commissioned to undertake on behalf of her Department and the Government examining the impact of Brexit on Ireland’s trade and economy. She also announced that she will be holding a major conference in Croke Park on 21st February, at which Copenhagen Economics will present its findings. The study was considered by Cabinet earlier in the day.

This report examines the implications and quantifies the impact of possible new barriers to trade which might emerge as a result of Brexit.

IFA SAY BREXIT REPORT FINDINGS ARE STARK BUT NOT SURPRISING

IFA President Joe Healy has said the findings of a report published today by Minister Heather Humphreys, examining the impact of Brexit on Ireland’s trade and economy, are very stark for farming and food in Ireland.

The IFA President said, “We are not surprised to see that our sector faces such a catastrophic outcome in the event of a hard Brexit. The severe impact across the board is something IFA has raised at all political levels since before the referendum.”

Joe Healy said this warning should serve to refocus Government efforts towards securing an outcome that avoids this bleak scenario for our largest indigenous sector.

He said the retention of free trade in agriculture and food products between the EU and UK must be a priority.

“Understandably, there has been much focus on ensuring there is no hard border in Ireland. The December 2017 commitment in relation to Regulatory Alignment with the Single Market and Customs Union is significant in avoiding such a scenario. However for the Irish agri food sector, the focus needs to be on the relationship between the EU and the entirety of the UK.

“North-South Regulatory alignment will help to solve one problem – no hard border in Ireland. East-West Regulatory Alignment has the potential to deliver a lot more – to avoid major disruption for Irish food exporters to our largest market, Britain.

Joe Healy warned that post Brexit, we cannot have a scenario where the UK Government can do as they please as regards agricultural trade with third countries. He said, “If the UK wants continued access to the EU market, the EU must insist that the UK will not be free to open their markets to low standard or low value products from outside the EU.”

Concluding, the IFA President said as the discussions intensify, we hope and expect to see an early agreement on the transition phase which will give some certainty post March 2019.

09/02/2018

BREXIT: Speech by Michel Barnier following this week’s round of Article 50 negotiations (6th-9th February)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to be here. I would like to thank you for being here rather than in front of your television watching the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympic Games, which has just started in Pyeongchang.

Allow me to extend my personal best wishes to both the Korean hosts and the athletes.

To come back to Brexit, we agreed with the UK side this week that the agenda would cover Ireland, the governance of the withdrawal agreement, and the transition.

We also foresaw an “update” by the UK on the future relationship. This update did not take place this morning because of agenda constraints on the UK side. That was the only meeting to have been cancelled.

Before the beginning of this round, I was very happy to meet David Davis on Monday in London, on his invitation, for a political discussion and also to meet Prime Minister Theresa May.

On the points I will now mention, this round was, for us, a “relaunch” round – the first since the Joint Report in December.

I think it is useful, however – for your work and your information – to give you an update today on the negotiations.

These meetings between us, and with David Davis whenever he wishes, will continue to take place regularly.

This negotiation is organised in rounds. This organisation is important to us – the EU side – because it gives us the time, before and after every round, to consult the 27 Member States and the European Parliament.

This is also how we ensure transparency – to which we have committed since the beginning, particularly when it comes to you.

And this method is also how we managed to reach an agreement with the British in December on the first important step of this negotiation.

I – On Ireland, we focused on solutions to avoid a hard border. Any solution must be precise, clear and unambiguous.

As you know, our Joint Report provides for three options:

  1. First, solving the issues on the island of Ireland through the future relationship. This future relationship would need to avoid a hard border, and protect North-South cooperation and the Good Friday Agreement. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, it is important to tell the truth. A UK decision to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union would make border checks unavoidable.
  1. Second, the UK has committed to proposing specific solutions to the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland. We are waiting for such solutions.
  1. The third option is to maintain full regulatory alignment with those rules of the Single Market and the Customs Union – current or future – which support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Options 1 and 2 can only be made operational in the context of the future relationship.
  • In the meantime, it is our responsibility to include the third option in the text of the Withdrawal Agreement to guarantee that there will be no hard border whatever the circumstances.
  • This means that we must now start legally defining how this scenario would work in operational terms. There must be no ambiguity here.
  • Based on the discussions this week, the UK has accepted the necessity of discussing how to make this full alignment scenario operational, provided we discuss the other two options in parallel. This is what we will work on in the coming rounds.

II – Second point: the governance of the withdrawal agreement

  • This is one of the keys of our agreement: in order to be credible and durable, this withdrawal agreement should have effective implementation mechanisms.
  • As far as we see it, these mechanisms should provide for a role for the European Court of Justice every time the agreement refers to European law.
  • This remains a point of disagreement with the UK.

III – The transition period

  • This period consists of extending the acquis for a time-limited period, as was requested by the UK itself.
  • The Heads of State or Government of the 27 replied positively to this request at the European Council of 15 December. We have a Council mandate since 29 January and we presented this to the UK this week.
  • In my meeting in London with David Davis on Monday – and in the negotiations in Brussels this week – the UK insisted on reaching a deal on the transition in March.
  • But, at the same time, our interlocutors disagree with us in a number of areas, which –objectively – I consider as substantial. In particular:

On citizens’ rights: while the UK recognises that the free movement of people applies fully during the transition period, it does not want – at the end of this transition – to extend the rights, as agreed in the Joint Report, of those citizens who arrived before the withdrawal, to those citizens to arrive during the transition. This is a major point for us, and also for the European Parliament.

On the application of EU rules during the transition: the UK has requested a right of opposition in the case where it disagrees with a new rule or law which could enter into force during this transition period.

On Justice and Home Affairs questions: the UK wants to continue benefitting from new EU policies, the famous opt-ins, while at the same time it has decided to leave these policies at the end of the transition.

Frankly, I am surprised by these disagreements.

 

READ MORE

The EU’s positions are, from my point of view, logical:

By asking to benefit from the advantages of the Single Market, the Customs Union and common policies, the UK must accept all the rules and obligations until the end of the transition.

It must also assume the inevitable consequences of its decision to leave the European Union, its institutions and its policies.

  • Taking into account these disagreements, and to be frank, the transition period today is not a given.
  • As I said, time is short, very short, and we do not have a minute to lose if we want to succeed. We want to succeed in this orderly withdrawal and also begin possible discussions on the future relationship as soon as possible.
  • This is precisely why the Commission proposed a legal text on the transition to the Member States this week.
  • Once agreed by the 27, this text will form part of our overall draft withdrawal agreement text, which we will then send to the UK. The European Parliament, I repeat, must also give its consent to this draft.
  • In this draft legal text, published this week by the European Commission – in full transparency – we set out a provision which will allow existing EU implementation mechanisms to be reinforced during the transition period.
  • Why is this provision – which was commented on a lot – necessary for us? This is simply because in the case of a violation of European rules during the transition, our usual infringement procedures, which are applicable to all Member States today, risk taking too much time and will therefore not be operational to resolve any possible dispute between the UK and the EU during this very short period. That is the only reason.
  • It is absolutely normal that, in an international agreement, effective implementation and conflict resolution mechanisms are foreseen. This is the case, for example, with our agreements with Switzerland.
  • To be entirely objective, I want to also recall that the UK has traditionally been among those countries with relatively few infringement procedures.
  • Throughout this negotiation, you will not find in our attitude or in my attitude – on this subject, or on others – the least trace of discourtesy or willingness to punish. My mind set has been completely the opposite since the beginning of this negotiation and it will continue being so until the last day of the negotiation.
  • We need to simply build a legally solid withdrawal agreement, which leaves no uncertainty for anybody.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Once again, we need to advance in this negotiation methodically and in a structured way, through consultation and transparency, which allows us to organise the rounds. This consultation and transparency is first for the 27 Member States, in whose name I negotiate, for the European Parliament, with which we work closely, the national parliaments, which I regularly meet, for citizens, for economic and social actors, and for you.

My deputy, Sabine Weyand, will discuss this afternoon with the UK negotiators the dates and the precise agenda of the coming negotiations.

SPEECH/18/725

07/02/2018

Brexit: Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship: “Transitional Arrangement in the Withdrawal Agreement”

“Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement”

European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU
Remarks: This position paper on “Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement” translates into legal terms the principles laid down in the European Council Guidelines of 29 April and 15 December 2017 and in the supplementary negotiating directives annexed the Council Decision of 29 January 2018
Published on Wednesday 7 February 2018

06/02/2018

Brexit: Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship: “International Agreements” and Services

Slides on International agreements and trade policy

Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and ;Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU

Remarks: These slides are for presentational and information purposes only and were presented to the Council Working Party (Article 50) on 31 January 2018.

The contents are without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship. In December 2017, the European Council invited the Council (Art. 50) together with the Union negotiator to continue internal preparatory discussions on the scope of the future EU-UK relationship. The slides support those discussions. They are based on the April European Council guidelines which continue to apply in their entirety.

Published on the TF50 website on 6 February 2018

05/02/2018

Brexit: Statement by Michel Barnier following his working lunch in London with David Davis

First of all, I want to thank you, David, for your hospitality. I was very pleased to also meet today the Prime Minister, Theresa May.

In a very short time, from now until October, we must advance on three fronts.

First, translating our Joint Report into legal text.

Second, the transition period, which you just mentioned, David. Let me recall that the UK government has decided the date of the UK withdrawal: the 29th March 2019. This was the UK’s sovereign decision. Mrs May has asked to benefit from the Single Market and the Customs Union for a short period after this. The European Council has indicated its readiness to consider this request. The conditions are clear: everyone has to play by the same rules during this transition. Let me add one point about this transition: the certainty about the transition will only come with the ratification of the withdrawal agreement.

Number three: our future partnership between the UK and the EU. On that point we need also clarity about the UK’s proposals for the future partnership. The only thing I can say now is that without a customs union- and being outside the Single Market – barriers to trade and goods and services are unavoidable. The time has come to make a choice. Thank you.

STATEMENT/18/642

02/02/2018

Brexit:  Programme: EU-UK Article 50 negotiations Brussels, 6-9 February 2018

Tuesday, 6 February – Thursday, 8 February

Technical sessions

o Withdrawal issues (Governance)

o Ireland/Northern Ireland

o Transition

Friday, 9 February

Meeting at Coordinators’ level

o Wrap-up

o UK update on the future relationship

 

31/01/2018

Brexit:  Negotiating documents on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

 

Slides on Level Playing Field

Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship

31/01/2018

Brexit:  House of Commons Library documents

 

Brexit: UK agriculture policy
Gives an overview of the key issues facing agricultural policy-making post-Brexit

The policy framework for agriculture after the UK leaves the EU
Briefing prepared for a debate on this subject on 01/02/18

Current European Union Trade Agreements
House of Lords briefing summarising the EU’s trading relationships with OECD and BRICS countries, excluding EFTA states

Foreign Affairs Committee says Government must decide plans for post-Brexit relationships

Committee concludes that the Government must clarify what level of access to EU foreign, security and defence policy decision-making it aims to secure, and it must increase its diplomatic presence in the 27 EU capitals

European defence: where is it heading?
Examines possible developments related to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy post-Brexit

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: briefing for Lords stages
House of Lords Library briefing prepared for Second Reading of the Bill in the Lords

 

29/01/2018

Brexit: Council (Article 50) adopts negotiating directives on the transition periodThe Council, meeting in EU27 format, adopted supplementing negotiating directives for the Brexit negotiations, which detail the EU27 position regarding a transition period. These negotiating directives provide the Commission, as the EU negotiator, with a mandate to start discussions with the United Kingdom on this matter.

EU ministers have given a clear mandate to the Commission on what is the type of transition period that we envisage: full EU acquis to be applied in the UK and no participation in the EU institutions and decision-making. The 27 adopted the text speedily today and we hope an agreement on this with the UK can also be closed swiftly.

Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva

Duration of the transition period

The guidelines of the European Council (Article 50) of 15 December 2017 stated that transitional arrangements must be clearly defined and precisely limited in time. The proposed end date for the transition period in the negotiating directives is 31 December 2020.

Application of EU acquis

According to the EU position, during the transition period the whole of the EU acquis will continue to apply to the UK as if it were a member state. Changes to the acquis adopted by EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies during that period would also apply in the UK.

All existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will also apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Concerning the area of freedom, security and justice, where the UK has a right to opt in and opt out of individual pieces of legislation, the current rules will apply for acts adopted during the transition by which the UK is bound before its withdrawal. However the UK will no longer be allowed to opt into new measures in this area other than those amending, replacing or building upon the ones he is bound before its withdrawal.

Trade policy and international deals

During the transition period, the UK will remain bound by the obligations stemming from the agreements concluded by the EU, while it will no longer participate in any bodies set up by those agreements.

As the UK will continue to participate in the customs union and the single market (with all four freedoms) during the transition, it will have to continue to comply with EU trade policy, to apply EU customs tariff and collect EU customs duties and to ensure all EU checks are being performed on the border. This also implies that during that period the UK will not become bound by international agreements in its own capacity in fields of competence of EU law, unless authorised to do so by the EU.

EU institutions and bodies

The UK, as already a third country, will no longer participate in the institutions and the decision-making of the EU.

The UK will no longer attend meetings of Commission experts groups, committees or other similar entities where member states are represented. Exceptionally on a case-by-case basis, the UK could however be invited to attend one of these meetings without voting rights.

Specific consultations will be foreseen with regard to the fixing of fishing opportunities (total allowable catches) during the transition period, in full respect of the EU acquis.

 

19/01/2018

BREXIT: Agenda Highlights General Affairs Council (Art. 50) 29 January

EU27 ministers are expected to adopt a new set of negotiating directives for the Brexit negotiations, which will in particular give details on the EU27 position on the transition period.

Transition period

Some basic principles are:

  • the transition period will cover the whole of the EU acquis 
  • the UK will no longer participate in the institutions and the decision-making of the EU
  • the transitional arrangements must be clearly defined and precisely limited in time
  • all existing EU regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will also apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union

Negotiating directives

These negotiation directives will be based on and further develop the principles and conditions laid down in the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017 and of 15 December 2017. The text will build on the Commission recommendations of 20 December 2017.

The General Affairs Council (Article 50) adoption of the negotiation directives will give a mandate to the Commission, as the EU negotiator, to discuss with the UK the transitional arrangements to be included in the withdrawal agreement.

  • December 2017: the EU27 leaders decided that sufficient progress had been achieved in the Brexit negotiations to move to the second phase – transition and framework for the future relationship will be discussed
  • January 2018: the Council (Article 50) will adopt additional negotiating directives on transitional arrangements 
  • March 2018: the European Council (Article 50) will adopt additional guidelines on the framework for the future relationship

17/01/2018

BREXIT:  Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship: “Fisheries”

Origin: European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under
Article 50 TEU
Remarks: These slides are for presentational and information purposes only and were presented to the Council Working Party (Article
50) on 16 January 2018. The contents are without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship.
In December 2017, the European Council invited the Council (Art. 50) together with the Union negotiator to continue internal
preparatory discussions on the scope of the future EU-UK relationship. The slides support those discussions. They are based
on the April European Council guidelines which continue to apply in their entirety. View slides here

16/01/2018

BREXIT: Technical meetings Brussels, EU-UK Article 50 negotiations, 16-17 January 2018

 

EU and UK negotiators will convene this week at technical level to work on the issues below.

 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

14:00-17:30 TECHNICAL MEETING ON GOVERNANCE

 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

10:00-13:30 TECHNICAL MEETING ON OTHER SEPARATION ISSUES

12:00-14:00 TECHNICAL MEETING ON IRELAND/NORTHERN IRELAND

14:30-17:00 TECHNICAL MEETING ON OTHER SEPARATION ISSUES

15/01/2018

Brexit: Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for the future relationship: “Governance”

European Commission, Task Force for the Preparation and ,Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under  Article 50TEU

These slides are for presentational and information purposes only and were presented to the Council Working Party (Article

50) on 11 January 2018. The contents are without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship.

View slides here

15/01/2018

Brexit Literature Update 01/2018

Following a relevant request by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has been compiling, on a regular basis, academic and scholarly material related to the process of, and the negotiations on, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Since the June 2016 referendum in the UK, Brexit-related literature has grown significantly and it is probably going to expand further in the future.

Thus, this compilation is far from exhaustive; rather, it identifies some of the more useful articles, taking into account, in particular, the following elements: • Scholarly rather than a journalistic character of the publication • Originality and interest • Recent publication • Be of interest for the EU • Constitutional or institutional relevance. Read it here

12/01/2018

The Brexit process [What Think Tanks are thinking]

The EU’s Heads of State or Government gave the green light in December 2017 to the second phase of negotiations on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. They agreed that ‘sufficient progress’ had been made in talks on issues in the first phase. Those include the UK’s financial obligations on leaving the EU, the rights of EU citizens within the UK and of UK citizens within the EU, and how to deal with the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The next phase of talks will focus on transitional arrangements and the future EU-UK relationship, including in the field of trade. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks and other organisations on EU-UK negotiations and on the implications of Brexit more widely. More studies on these issues can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’ from October 2017.

Read Briefing here

10/01/2018

BREXIT: EU FUNDING RECEIVED BY THE UK

House of Commons Library briefing looks at the funding received by the UK from EU institutions and considers the implications of Brexit on the EU as a source of funding for regional development, agriculture support, research and innovation and other areas. Read briefing here

09/01/2018

BREXIT: Excerpts from Speech by Michel Barnier at the Trends Manager of the Year 2017 event

Today the UK is still an important partner for your country, representing 7 % of Belgian trade in goods.

But, at the same time, 68 % of your trade is with the other Member States of the European Union. Almost 10 times more!

What makes our European economies strong is the Single Market. The British know this well, since it was the main reason why they joined the EEC in 1972.

Our Single Market will still have 440 million consumers and 22 million businesses after the UK’s departure.

Beyond facilitating trade between us, it helps our businesses succeed in international competition, thanks to our collective negotiating power and our rules and standards, which are often adopted worldwide.

This is why, in these negotiations, one of my main concerns is to maintain the integrity of the Single Market, which is our common good – and is not, and will not be negotiable.

But naturally, alongside this home market, the UK will remain an important market for many of you, and I understand the concern which is expressed here and throughout Europe about the consequences of Brexit, which we did not want.

Since day one, I have asked – and I have asked myself – three questions. And it is in the answer to these three questions that we will see the form of our future relationship.

I – Does the UK want an orderly withdrawal or a disorderly withdrawal and is it ready to assume the immediate consequences of its decision to leave the European Union?

We have obtained a positive answer to this first question. On 8 December we reached an agreement with the UK that represents a significant step towards an orderly withdrawal.

In other words, the risk of a disorderly withdrawal has receded, even though we must remain prepared for all options.

This agreement addresses the three most urgent subjects of these negotiations:

1) Citizens’ rights, which is our priority and that of the European Parliament. There are 30 000 Belgians in the UK and 27 000 British citizens in Belgium. In all, 4.5 million people are involved. Our agreement guarantees their rights for their lifetime.

2) Ireland, whose unique situation calls for specific solutions to prevent the return of a hard border.

3) Finally, with regard to the financial settlement, all the commitments undertaken by the 28 will be honoured by the 28.

On the basis of our Joint Report, the European Council agreed that ‘sufficient progress’ had been made to begin discussions on a possible transition period and on the framework for our future relationship.

This is the subject of my second question.

II – What kind of future relationship does the UK want with the European Union?

We don’t yet have the answer to this question. However, we can proceed by deduction, based on the Union’s legal system and the UK’s red lines. By officially drawing these red lines, the UK is itself closing the doors, one by one.

The British government wants to end the free movement of persons, which is indivisible from the other three freedoms. It has therefore indicated its intention of leaving the Single Market.

The British government wants to recover its independence to negotiate international agreements. It has therefore confirmed its intention of leaving the Customs Union.

The UK no longer wishes to recognise the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which guarantees the application of our common rules.

It follows that the only model possible is a free trade agreement, which could obviate the need for trade barriers, such as customs duties, and could facilitate customs procedures and product certification.

This will of course be adapted to the specificities of the relationship between the EU and the UK, in the same way that our agreement with Canada is not identical to our agreements with Korea or Japan.

But one thing is clear: a free trade agreement, however ambitious, cannot include all the benefits of the Customs Union and the Single Market.

For example, with regard to financial services, a free trade agreement may include provisions on regulatory cooperation – as is the case with Japan. This regulatory cooperation may also take the form of a regular dialogue like the one we have with the United States.

But we have never given up our regulatory autonomy.

The regulatory framework we have constructed as a Union of 28, including the United Kingdom, learning from the financial crisis, is extremely precise. We have developed a single rulebook and more integrated European supervision, which guarantee financial stability, protection for investors, market integrity and a level playing field.

A country leaving this very precise framework and the accompanying supervision gains the ability to diverge from it but by the same token loses the benefits of the Internal Market. Its financial service providers can no longer enjoy the benefits of a passport to the Single Market nor those of a system of generalised equivalence of standards.

This is not a question of punishment or revenge; we simply want to remain in charge of our own rules and the way in which they are applied. As it seeks to regain its decision-making autonomy, the United Kingdom must respect ours.

Where allowed by our legislation, we will be able to consider some of the United Kingdom’s rules as equivalent using a proportionate and risk-based approach, in particular for financial stability, which will remain our main concern.

Let us not have short memories: the financial crisis was not that long ago. It cost us a lot and it destroyed value and millions of jobs, creating an unprecedented social crisis.

 

Full Speech available here

20/12/2017

15/12/2017

13/12/201

08/12/201

Brexit: European Commission recommends sufficient progress to the European Council (Article 50)

The European Commission has today recommended to the European Council (Article 50) to conclude that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom.

It is now for the European Council (Article 50) on 15 December 2017 to decide if sufficient progress has been made, allowing the negotiations to proceed to their second phase.

The Commission’s assessment is based on a Joint Report agreed by the negotiators of the Commission and the United Kingdom Government, which was today endorsed by Prime Minister Theresa May during a meeting with President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Commission is satisfied that sufficient progress has been achieved in each of the three priority areas of citizens’ rights, the dialogue on Ireland / Northern Ireland, and the financial settlement, as set out in the European Council Guidelines of 29 April 2017. The Commission’s negotiator has ensured that the life choices made by EU citizens living in the United Kingdom will be protected. The rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom and United Kingdom citizens in the EU27 will remain the same after the United Kingdom has left the EU. The Commission has also made sure that any administrative procedures will be cheap and simple for EU citizens in the United Kingdom.

As regards the financial settlement, the United Kingdom has agreed that commitments taken by the EU28 will be honoured by the EU28, including the United Kingdom.

With regard to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom acknowledges the unique situation on the island of Ireland and has made significant commitments to avoid a hard border.

Full details of the Commission’s assessment are available in the Commission’s Communication on the State of Progress of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, said: “This is a difficult negotiation but we have now made a first breakthrough. I am satisfied with the fair deal we have reached with the United Kingdom. If the 27 Member States agree with our assessment, the European Commission and our Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier stand ready to begin work on the second phase of the negotiations immediately. I will continue to keep the European Parliament very closely involved throughout the process, as the European Parliament will have to ratify the final Withdrawal Agreement.”

Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, said: “The Commission’s assessment is based on the real, genuine progress made in each of our three priority areas. By agreeing on these issues, and settling the past, we can now move forward and discuss our future relationship on the basis of trust and confidence.”

Next Steps: If the European Council (Article 50) considers that sufficient progress has been made, the negotiators of the European Commission and of the United Kingdom Government will begin drafting a Withdrawal Agreement based on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union on the basis of the Joint Report and the outcome of the negotiations on other withdrawal issues. In line with the Guidelines of 29 April 2017, and once the Member States agree with the Commission’s assessment, the Commission stands ready to begin work immediately on any possible transitional arrangements and to start exploratory discussions on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Background

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union in accordance with Article 50 TEU. On 29 April 2017, the European Council (Article 50) adopted a set of political Guidelines. On 22 May 2017, the General Affairs Council (Article 50) authorised the European Commission to open negotiations with the United Kingdom and adopted directives for the negotiation (the negotiating directives).

Negotiations should be completed by autumn 2018 to allow good time for the Withdrawal Agreement to be concluded by the Council after obtaining consent of the European Parliament, and to be approved by the United Kingdom in accordance with its own procedures before 29 March 2019.

For More Information

Communication from the Commission to the European Council (Article 50)

Joint Report from the Negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government

Joint EU/United Kingdom Technical Table on Citizens’ Rights

European Council Guidelines, 29 April 2017

Council negotiating directives, 22 May 2017

European Council conclusions, 20 October 2017

22/11/201

BREXIT: Excerpt from Speech by Michel Barnier at the Berlin Security Conference

Ladies and gentlemen,

The negotiations on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal are a complex task that we carry out with reason and determination, without aggression or naivety: ‘there is no place for Schadenfreude in Brexit’. There is neither revenge nor punishment in our mission.

My mandate comes under a framework laid down by the Heads of State or Government and by the resolutions of the European Parliament, all of whom wish for an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom.

We are awaiting sufficient progress from London on the following three points:

  • the rights of European citizens in the United Kingdom and of British citizens in the EU;
  • issues relating to the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland;
  • fulfilment of the financial obligations entered into during the United Kingdom’s membership of the Union.

We are not there yet. The work on the three main subjects continues this week in a constructive spirit with the UK. The next European Council will take place in 15 days’ time. If real ‘sufficient progress’ is actually made, the European Council will be able to open the discussion a possible transitional period. Then the Member States will define in 2018 the framework of this new partnership with the UK.

We hope that this future relationship will be an ambitious one ! And we want security, defence and foreign policy as key components of it.

In April of this year, the Heads of State or Government stated their desire to establish a security and defence partnership.

After its exit from the Union, the United Kingdom will lose its decision-making powers at the European level and some levers for wielding influence.

It will, however, remain a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a member of NATO. It will remain a diplomatic, nuclear and military power.

We are linked by shared values and a common destiny, and we will remain so for the long term.

In the past, it is true to say that the United Kingdom has not been the spearhead of European defence. This is no secret to anyone.

  • The British contribution to EU–led military operations is limited – barely 5% of the personnel deployed.
  • The British have never wanted to turn the Union into a military power.
  • The British have always resisted setting up a European Headquarters, although such a Headquarters would never compete with NATO.

But our future partnership must be conceived to fit the geopolitical situation of tomorrow, not the policy and differences of the past.

According to studies by the UK Ministry of Defence, by 2045 the major world powers will have doubled their defence budget. Some of them, such as China and India, may even have increased it fivefold.

Let’s consider the title of your conference, ‘Security and defence in unpredictable times’ – who can say for certain that Europe will still be a haven of stability in 10 or 20 years?

It is for us, Europeans, to maintain this stability and to promote our values around the world. Nobody is going to do it for us. And to me it seems obvious that we will be stronger if we cooperate to meet these challenges. Speech in full here

22/11/201

BREXIT AND IRELAND – Legal, Political and Economic Consideration

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament‘s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee, describes the legal, political and economic relations of the two parts of Ireland and the United Kingdom, and possible arrangements for dealing with “Brexit”. The paper discusses several specific issues, in particular the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the consequences of an “invisible” border between the two parts of Ireland, and trade in agricultural products.  Read Study in full

UK Withdrawal (‘Brexit’) and the Good Friday Agreement

Upon request by the AFCO Committee, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned this study on UK withdrawal and the Good Friday Agreement (the ‘Agreement’). It provides an overview of the Agreement and an assessment of the potential challenges posed to its implementation by ‘Brexit’. In particular, it examines ways in which – through differentiation and ‘flexible and imaginative solutions’ – the Agreement can be upheld and the context for its effective implementation maintained.   Read the Study in full here

20/11/201

BREXIT: General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 20/11/2017

Main results

Brexit

The Council, in EU27 format, was informed by the EU Brexit Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, of the progress reached so far in the negotiations with the UK after six rounds of talks. Ministers then started the preparations for the European Council (Article 50) in December 2017 by examining the annotated draft agenda.

20/11/201

BREXIT: Excerpt from Speech by Michel Barnier at the Centre for European Reform on ‘The Future of the EU’

Ladies and gentlemen,

There are three keys to building a strong partnership with the UK.

First, we need to agree on the terms for the UK’s orderly withdrawal.

The 27 Member States and the European Parliament have been always very clear on what this means.

And we have been consistent:

  • on citizens’ rights;
  • on settling the accounts accurately; we owe this to taxpayers as well as to all those benefiting from EU-funded projects, in the UK and the EU;
  • on Ireland.

Let me say a few words on Ireland specifically.

We need to preserve stability and dialogue on the island of Ireland.

We need to avoid a hard border.

I know that this point is politically sensitive in the UK.

It is not less sensitive in Ireland.

Some in the UK say that specific rules for Northern Ireland would “endanger the integrity of the UK single market”.

But Northern Ireland already has specific rules in many areas that are different to the rest of the UK.

Think of the “all-Island” electricity market, or of the specific regulations for plant health for the whole island of Ireland.

Think of rules that prevent and handle animal disease, which I know well as a former Minister for Agriculture.

There are over one hundred areas of cross-border cooperation on the island of Ireland.

Such cooperation depends in many cases on the application of common rules and common regulatory space.

We have nearly finished our common reading of the Good Friday Agreement. We have agreed on the principles for the Common Travel Area.

The UK and the EU have recognised that Ireland poses specific challenges. And that the unique circumstances there require a specific solution.

On the EU side, we must preserve the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union at 27. The rules for this are clear.

The UK said it would continue to apply some EU rules on its territory. But not all rules.

What is therefore unclear is what rules will apply in Northern Ireland after Brexit. And what the UK is willing to commit to, in order to avoid a hard border.

I expect the UK, as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to come forward with proposals.

The island of Ireland is now faced with many challenges.

Those who wanted Brexit must offer solutions.

 

Speech in full here

17/11/201

BREXIT: Information about the Withdrawal Bill

Documents

Bill Overview

PDF, 147KB, 3 pages

 

Converting and preserving law

PDF, 182KB, 3 pages

 

The correcting power

PDF, 139KB, 3 pages

 

Power to implement the withdrawal agreement

PDF, 137KB, 2 pages

 

Devolution

PDF, 224KB, 4 pages

 

Charter of Fundamental Rights

PDF, 171KB, 3 pages

 

Workers’ rights

PDF, 166KB, 4 pages

 

Environmental protections

PDF, 216KB, 3 pages

 

Consumer protections

PDF, 138KB, 3 pages

 

Treaty Rights

PDF, 205KB, 4 pages

 

Glossary

PDF, 172KB, 5 pages

 

Impact Assessment

PDF, 156KB, 10 pages

 

Regulatory Policy Committee opinion

PDF, 256KB, 6 pages

 

Equality Analysis

PDF, 204KB, 14 pages

 

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) memorandum

PDF, 232KB, 20 pages

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email stakeholder.engagement@dexeu.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Details

The Bill is designed to ensure that the UK exits the EU with maximum certainty, continuity and control. As far as possible, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. This will allow the UK to leave the EU while ensuring that our future laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.

For businesses, workers and consumers across the UK that means they can have confidence that they will not be subject to unexpected changes on the day we leave the EU. It also delivers on our promise to end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

Relevant links to the Bill

To view the White Paper click here, whilst the Bill can be found here

The Delegated Powers Memorandum has been prepared for the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee to assist with its scrutiny of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. This memorandum identifies the provisions of the Bill that confer powers to make delegated legislation.

 

15/11/201

BREXIT: General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 20/11/2017

Agenda highlights

Brexit

The Council, in an EU27 format, will discuss the state of play of the Brexit negotiations. The Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, is expected to inform ministers on the progress made so far.

European Council

Ministers will also start preparations of the European Council (Article 50) of December, by examining the annotated draft agenda for the summit.

Relocation of the two EU agencies

In the margins of the General Affairs Council (Article 50), EU27 ministers will vote on the relocation of the two EU agencies currently located in the UK: the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority.

The two agencies will need to be relocated in the context of the UK withdrawal from the EU. The future location is to be decided through a specific procedure endorsed by the EU27 leaders on 22 June 2017.

Preparatory documents

10/11/201

BREXIT:

Speeches by Michel Barnier and David Davies following the sixth round of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom 09-10 November.  Full details here

 

09/11/201

BREXIT: Ad hoc Working Party on Article 50

Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland
• At the last round, agreement was reached in principle on joint principles on the Common Travel Area which aim to recognise an existing bilateral arrangement between the UK and Ireland (currently done in Protocol 20 of the Treaty). These recall the background and context of the Common Travel Area Arrangements and take the new situation after withdrawal into account by stating that

o the United Kingdom and Ireland may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories (“the Common Travel Area”), while fully respecting the rights of natural persons conferred by Union law.

o the United Kingdom has provided a clear reassurance that the Common Travel Area and associated rights and privileges can continue to operate without affecting Ireland’s obligations under Union law, in particular with respect to free movement for EU citizens.

• Since the last round, intensive work has been carried out with the objective of mapping the potential impact of UK withdrawal on ongoing North South cooperation on the island of Ireland. North South cooperation is a central part of the Good Friday Agreement. Both sides agree that such cooperation should be protected across all the relevant sectors, and that to arrive at a common understanding of the potential risks resulting from UK withdrawal for this cooperation, this joint exercise has been useful.

• In the context of this mapping exercise, the six North-South Implementation Bodies, the six areas for cooperation and implementation agreed by the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) as well as a first set of the seven priority areas agreed by the NSMC at its last meeting in November 2016 are under continuing examination. (These include environment, health, agriculture, transport, education/higher education, tourism, energy, telecommunications/broadcasting, inland fisheries, justice and security, and sport.)

• Conclusions and recommendations from this exercise will be elaborated and shared once we have worked through all policy areas. Already prior to undertaking this exercise, the EU’s guiding principles underlined that an important part of political, economic, security, societal and agricultural activity on the island of Ireland currently operates on a cross-border basis, underpinned by joint EU membership of the UK and Ireland.

• The EU and the UK have committed to protecting and supporting the continuation and development of this cooperation and of the functioning of the institutions established by the Good Friday Agreement in the context of the Withdrawal Agreement. Achieving this must be done in a way that respects the integrity of the internal market and the Customs Union of which Ireland will remain a full member.

• It consequently seems essential for the UK to commit to ensuring that a hard border on the island of Ireland is avoided, including by ensuring no emergence of regulatory divergence from those rules of the internal market and the Customs Union which are (or may be in the future) necessary for meaningful North South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.

 

09/11/201

BREXIT:  European Parliament Agriculture Committee 09 November

📄Miscellaneous – Study_EU-UK_AgricultureTrade

– BREXIT Workshop: EU – UK agricultural trade: state of play and possible impacts of Brexit

📄Miscellaneous – Study_EU-UK_Institutional Issues

– BREXIT Workshop: Possible transitional arrangements related to agriculture in the light of the future EU – UK relationship: institutional issues

📄Miscellaneous – Study_EU-UK_CAP_ Funding

– BREXIT Workshop: Possible impact of Brexit on the EU budget and, in particular, CAP funding

📄Miscellaneous – PPT_EU-UK Trade

– BREXIT Workshop – PowerPoint Presentation – EU – UK Agricultural Trade

View all documents here

09/11/201

BREXIT:  European Parliament Agriculture Committee 09 November

📄Miscellaneous – Study_EU-UK_AgricultureTrade

– BREXIT Workshop: EU – UK agricultural trade: state of play and possible impacts of Brexit

📄Miscellaneous – Study_EU-UK_Institutional Issues

– BREXIT Workshop: Possible transitional arrangements related to agriculture in the light of the future EU – UK relationship: institutional issues

📄Miscellaneous – Study_EU-UK_CAP_ Funding

– BREXIT Workshop: Possible impact of Brexit on the EU budget and, in particular, CAP funding

📄Miscellaneous – PPT_EU-UK Trade

– BREXIT Workshop – PowerPoint Presentation – EU – UK Agricultural Trade

View all documents here

08/11/201

BREXIT:  EP outlines its red lines on latest UK citizens’ rights proposals

Major issues still need to be addressed to secure equal and fair treatment for EU citizens in the UK after Brexit, stresses EP steering group.

The European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, chaired by Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE), met today and issued the following statement:

 

“We don’t recognise reports suggesting that a deal on citizens’ rights is almost finalised. There are still major issues that have to be resolved.

Our most important concern is the UK proposals for settled status for EU citizens in the UK, including the administrative procedures as set out in a technical note published by the UK Government yesterday. It is our firm view that acquiring settled status:

 

  • must be an automatic process in the form of a simple declaration, not an application which introduces any kind of conditionality (for example a pro-active ‘criminality check’);
  • must enable families to make one joint declaration, not separate declarations for each individual family member;
  • must place the burden of proof on the UK authorities to challenge the declaration and this only on a case-by-case basis and in line with EU law;
  • must be cost-free;
  • is a system that can only enter into force after any transition period, if requested and agreed, has concluded. Before that, the freedom of movement applies.

 

On family reunification, Parliament will not accept any weakening of existing rights that EU citizens currently enjoy with respect to family reunification, including both direct descendants and relatives of direct dependence in ascending line.

On the export of benefits, we insist that this cannot be limited to pensions only, but should include all benefits defined in EU legislation.

We insist that UK citizens currently living in the European Union continue to benefit from the freedom of movement after Brexit.”

 

Background

For the European Parliament to approve the withdrawal agreement, the key principles and conditions in the resolution of 5 April, 2017 must be met. These principles were reiterated in another resolution, on the state of play of negotiations, voted on 3 October 2017. Any withdrawal agreement at the end of the UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.

08/11/201

02/11/2017

BREXIT:  EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT STUDY

    • Possible transitional arrangements related to agriculture in the light of the future EU – UK relationship: institutional issues

30/10/2017

BREXIT:  Study – Research for AGRI Committee – Possible impact of Brexit on the EU budget and, in particular, CAP funding

This European Parliament note assesses possible consequences of Brexit for the EU budget and the Common Agricultural Policy. It discusses the importance of the ‘Brexit bill’ and the loss of the British net contribution. Furthermore, it describes how the EU budget and spending on the Common Agricultural Policy can be adjusted to the new situation and estimates how the different options would affect EU Member States and their net balances.  Read study here

25/10/2017

BREXIT:  NEW REPORT SHOWS WHAT IS AT STAKE FOR AGRI-FOOD IN BREXIT

A new European Parliament report shows clearly what is at stake for Ireland’s agri-food sector in the Brexit negotiations. The report says Ireland is likely to be the most negatively impacted country within the EU and deserves particular attention during the Brexit process.

IFA President Joe Healy said the report demonstrates why our Government’s objective must be the maintenance of the closest possible trading arrangements with the United Kingdom.

“As the EU Parliament report demonstrates, Ireland’s agri-food sector and economy are uniquely exposed if a solution is not found during Brexit negotiations to avoid the introduction of WTO tariffs.

“That is why Ireland must have as its top priority no such disruption to our trade flows with the UK and why we must urge negotiators to pursue the retention of the UK in the Customs Union, or a trading arrangement that would a have similar effect.

“While recognising the sequencing of the discussions, there is a need for progress on discussing the future trading relationship and transitional arrangements.”

In addition, Joe Healy pointed out, Irish and EU agri-food exports cannot be undermined by an increase in low-cost food imports into the UK market, or by imports that do not meet the high food safety, animal welfare, health and environmental standards that are required of EU producers.

23/10/2017

BREXIT:  THERESA MAY presented a statement to the House of Commons on the October meeting of the European Council

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a Statement on last week’s European Council.

Long after we have left the European Union, the UK will continue to be a strong and committed partner, standing alongside our neighbours and working together to advance our shared values and interests.

This Council provided a further opportunity to demonstrate that ongoing commitment, through discussions that included migration, the digital single market, North Korea and Iran.

And it made important progress in moving towards the new, deep and special partnership with the European Union that we want to see.

Migration

First on migration, the UK is playing its full part.

The Royal Navy has intercepted 172 smuggling boats and saved over 12,000 lives since Operation Sophia began.

While our National Crime Agency is working with Libyan law enforcement, enhancing their capability to tackle the people smuggling and trafficking networks.

At the Council we welcomed the reduction in migrant crossings and the renewed momentum behind the Libyan political process.

But we must also continue to address the root causes driving people across the Sahara and the Mediterranean.

So the UK is also continuing to invest for the long term in education, jobs and services both in countries of origin and transit.

WHAT THERESA MAY HAD TO SAY ON: EXIT FROM THE EU

Digital single market

On the digital single market, it is right to keep up the pressure on completing its implementation by the end of 2018.

This will bring new opportunities to British businesses and consumers, contributing to growth and jobs.

At this Council, I also argued that the free flow of data is key to unlocking the potential of Europe’s digital trade and we secured conclusions which recognised this.

As the Government set out in a paper over the summer, such arrangements will be an important part of the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

North Korea and Iran

On North Korea, we welcomed the EU sanctions adopted last week and reaffirmed our clear condemnation of North Korea’s aggressive and illegal missile and nuclear tests.

We urged all states, including China, to play their part in changing the course Pyongyang is taking.

And on Iran, the Council built on the joint statement made by Chancellor Merkel, President Macron and myself last week, reiterating its firm commitment to the nuclear deal.

This was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. That is vitally important for our shared security.

Exit from the EU

Mr Speaker, turning to our negotiations to leave the European Union, I shared the vision I had set out in Florence for a creative and pragmatic approach to a new, deep and special partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

A partnership based on the fundamental beliefs we share – in democracy and the rule of law, but also in free trade, rigorous and fair competition, strong consumer rights, and high regulatory standards.

Both sides have approached these talks with professionalism and a constructive spirit – and we should recognise what has been achieved to date.

Citizens’ rights

On citizens’ rights, both sides share the same objective of safeguarding the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU.

This has been my first priority from the very beginning of the negotiations – and it remains so.

The negotiations are complicated and deeply technical but in the end they are about people – and I am determined that we will put people first.

EU citizens make an extraordinary contribution to our national life, enriching the economic, social and cultural fabric of our country – and we want them to stay.

I know that EU Member States also value the UK nationals living in their communities and I want them to have their rights protected too.

We are united on the key principles, and while there are a small number of issues that remain outstanding, we are in touching distance of a deal.

This agreement will provide certainty about residence, healthcare, pensions and other benefits.

It will mean that EU citizens who have paid into the UK system – and UK nationals who have paid into the system of an EU27 country – can benefit from what they have put in.

It will enable families who have built their lives together to stay together.

And it will provide guarantees that the rights of those UK nationals currently living in the EU, and EU citizens currently living in the UK, will not diverge over time.

We will also ensure that the implementation of the agreement we reach does not create complicated and bureaucratic hurdles.

So we are developing a streamlined digital process for those applying for settled status in the UK in the future.

This will cost no more than a UK passport. People applying will not have to account for every trip they have taken in and out of the UK and they will no longer have to demonstrate Comprehensive Sickness Insurance.

And there will be a simple process for any EU citizen who holds permanent residence under the old scheme to swap their current status for UK settled status.

To support this, we are setting up a User Group that will include representatives of EU citizens in the UK as well as digital, technical and legal experts.

And we will do everything possible to work closely with EU Member States to ensure their processes are equally streamlined for British nationals living in their countries.

Northern Ireland

We have also made significant progress on Northern Ireland, where it is absolutely imperative that joint work on the peace process is not affected in any way.

The Belfast agreement must be at the heart of our approach and we have clearly agreed that the unique circumstances across the whole of the island of Ireland will require specific solutions.

There will not be any physical infrastructure at the border and we have also developed joint principles to ensure the continuation of the Common Travel Area.

These principles will fully preserve the rights of UK and Irish nationals to live, work and study across these islands – and protect the associated rights to public services and social security.

No UK or Irish national will need to apply for settled status anywhere in the Common Travel Area at any stage in order to protect their entitlements.

And to provide legal certainty, the joint principles we have developed recognise that the Withdrawal Agreement should formally acknowledge that the UK and Ireland will continue to be able to uphold and develop these bi-lateral arrangements.

Moving forwards

Mr Speaker, this Council provided an opportunity to assess and reflect on how to make further progress in the negotiations.

My speech in Florence made two important steps which have added a new impetus.

First, I gave two firm commitments on the financial settlement: that the UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership and that none of our EU partners should fear they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave.

As the House would expect, we are going through our potential commitments line by line and that detailed work continues.

And second, I proposed a time-limited implementation period based on current terms, which is in the interest of both the UK and the EU.

At this Council the 27 Member States responded by agreeing to start their preparations for moving negotiations onto trade and the future relationship we want to see.

The Council conclusions call for work to continue with a view to – and I quote – “consolidating the convergence achieved and pursuing negotiations in order to be able to move to the second phase of the negotiations as soon as possible.”

And President Tusk, in his press conference ,was clear that the EU’s internal work “will take account of proposals” presented in the Florence speech.

And indeed that this agreement to start preparatory discussions would not be possible without the new momentum given by that speech.

Conclusion

So Mr Speaker, I am ambitious and positive about Britain’s future and these negotiations.

If we are going to take a step forward together it must be on the basis of joint effort and endeavour between the UK and the EU.

But I believe that by approaching these negotiations in a constructive way – in a spirit of friendship and co-operation – we can and will deliver the best possible outcome that works for all our people.

As Chancellor Merkel said: “We haven’t reached a final agreement, but it’s going to happen.”

Mr Speaker, Chancellor Merkel is right.

We are going to leave the European Union in March 2019, delivering on the democratic will of the British people.

But while we must and will prepare for every eventuality, I am confident that we will do so in a smooth and orderly way and that we will be able to negotiate a new, deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and our friends in the European Union.

That is my mission.

That is this Government’s mission.

And I commend this Statement to the House.

20/10/2017

BREXIT: European Council (Article 50)

On 20 October, the European Council (Article 50), in an EU 27 format, agreed to start internal preparations for the 2nd phase of the Brexit talks.

27 EU leaders called for more progress in the following three areas:

  • citizens’ rights
  • Ireland
  • financial obligations

They also said that at their summit in December they would reassess the state of progress to determine whether “sufficient progress” has been achieved on each of the three above issues. The European Council invited the Council (Art. 50) together with the Union negotiator to start internal preparatory discussions in relation to the framework for the future relationship and to possible transitional arrangements.

20/10/2017

BREXIT:  THERESA MAY’s European Council press statement: 20 October 2017

 

Theresa May addressed the press while in Brussels for a European Council summit

The United Kingdom will take its seat at the European Council table for another year and a half, and we have important work to achieve together in this time.

But cooperation with our European friends will not stop in March 2019.

The UK will stand alongside the EU, as a strong and committed partner, working to promote our shared interests and values.

Nowhere is this more important than in our approach to the global challenges we face.

Whether security and defence, migration or foreign policy issues – we face common opportunities and risks, and we must continue to address them together.

As I’ve said before, the UK is unconditionally committed to the security and defence of Europe. We share the vision of a strong, secure and successful EU, with global reach and influence. An EU capable of countering shared threats to our continent, working alongside a confident, outward-looking UK.

Yesterday we discussed a range of subjects including migration, the digital economy and some of the most pressing foreign policy issues, such as North Korea and Iran.

We stand united in our clear condemnation of North Korea’s aggressive and illegal missile and nuclear tests and urge all states, including China, to play their part in changing the course Pyongyang is taking.

On Iran, we have reiterated our firm commitment to the nuclear deal, which we believe is vitally important for our shared security.

THERESA MAY'S COMMENTS ON EXIT FROM THE EU

Exit from the EU

And last night at dinner, I spoke to my fellow leaders about my vision for a new, deep and special partnership between the UK and the European Union after Brexit.

A partnership based on the same set of fundamental beliefs – in not just democracy and rule of law, but also free trade, rigorous and fair competition, strong consumer rights, and high regulatory standards.

I am ambitious and positive for Britain’s future and for these negotiations. But I know we still have some way to go.

Both sides have approached these talks with professionalism and a constructive spirit. We should recognise what has been achieved to date.

The UK and the EU share the same objective of safeguarding the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU.

EU citizens have made a huge contribution to our country and let me be clear that – whatever happens – we want them and their families to stay.

While there are a small number of issues that remain outstanding on citizens’ rights, I am confident that we are in touching distance of a deal.

On Northern Ireland, we have agreed that the Belfast agreement must be at the heart of our approach and that Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances demand specific solutions. It is vital that joint work on the peace process is not affected in any way – it is too important for that.

Both sides agree that there cannot be any physical infrastructure at the border and that the Common travel area must continue.

We have both committed to delivering a flexible and imaginative approach on this vital issue.

This Council is an important moment. It is a point at which to assess and reflect on how to make further progress.

My speech in Florence made two important steps, which have added a new impetus to the negotiations. I gave a firm commitment on the financial settlement and I proposed a time-limited implementation period based on current terms, which is in the interest of both the UK and the EU.

Both sides agree that subsequent rounds have been conducted in a new spirit. My fellow leaders have been discussing that this morning and I believe that it is in the interests of the UK that the EU 27 continues to take a united approach.

But if we are going to take a step forward together it must be on the basis of joint effort and endeavour.

We must work together to get to an outcome that we can stand behind and that works for all our people.

 

20/10/2017

BREXIT: European Council (Art. 50) conclusions

  1. In the light of the first five rounds of negotiations, taking into account the assessment presented by the Union negotiator and reaffirming its guidelines of 29 April 2017, the European Council:
  • welcomes the progress made regarding citizens’ rights and invites the negotiator to build on the convergence achieved so as to provide the necessary legal certainty and guarantees to all concerned citizens and their family members who shall be able to exercise directly their rights derived from EU law and protected by the withdrawal agreement, including through smooth and simple administrative procedures and the role of the Court of justice of the European Union;
  • acknowledges that, as regards Ireland, there has been some progress on convergence on principles and objectives regarding protection of the Good Friday Agreement and maintenance of the Common Travel Area, and invites the Union negotiator to pursue further refinement of these principles, taking into account the major challenge that the UK’s withdrawal represents, including as regards avoidance of a hard border, and therefore expecting the UK to present and commit to flexible and imaginative solutions called for by the unique situation of Ireland;
  • notes that, while the UK has stated that it will honour its financial obligations taken during its membership, this has not yet been translated into a firm and concrete commitment from the UK to settle all of these obligations.
  1. Building on this progress, the European Council calls for work to continue with a view to consolidating the convergence achieved and pursuing negotiations in order to be able to move to the second phase of the negotiations as soon as possible.

3. At its next session in December, the European Council will reassess the state of progress in the negotiations with a view to determining whether sufficient progress has been achieved on each of the three above issues. If so, it will adopt additional guidelines in relation to the framework for the future relationship and on possible transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and comply with the conditions and core principles of the guidelines of 29 April 2017. Against this background, the European Council invites the Council (Art. 50) together with the Union negotiator to start internal preparatory discussions.

Read Conclusions in full here

16/10/2017

BREXIT:  Research for European Parliament AGRI Committee : EU-UK agricultural trade: state of play and possible impacts of Brexit

This report analyzes current UK-EU27 agri-food trade, and quantifies the impacts of a return to WTO rules after Brexit. Agri-food trade is likely to decrease steeply, especially for meat and dairy sectors. However, there might be an opportunity for an increase in production in a reduced number of European sectors, such as red meat, cattle or wheat, to replace imports from the UK. More generally, Ireland is likely to be the most negatively impacted country and deserves particular attention during the Brexit process.

Read the Study in full here

11/10/2017

BREXIT:  Joint letter from the EU and the UK Permanent Representatives to the WTO

European Union and United Kingdom engage with World Trade Organization members on certain issues arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

The European Union and the United Kingdom today sent a joint letter to all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), setting out their intended approach to certain WTO issues arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  This letter is the result of a constructive dialogue that the EU has been engaging in with the UK over the past months, covering WTO issues such as trade in goods, services and government procurement. The dialogue, which is outlined in European Council guidelines and the Council’s negotiating directives, aims at ensuring that the UK honours its share of the international commitments it has contracted into in the WTO during its EU membership, and at organising an orderly withdrawal in this respect.  Today’s joint letter marks the start of a cooperative and transparent engagement by the EU and the UK with all members of the WTO. When the UK leaves the EU, it will have its own separate schedules of commitments. Among other things, these schedules indicate the maximum tariff rates that can be applied to each specific type of imported product and the quantities of each product that can be imported duty-free or with a duty discount, known as tariff-rate quotas (TRQs). It is therefore necessary to address both the EU’s and the UK’s commitments regarding these quotas.  Today’s joint letter states that both sides intend to follow a common approach regarding existing EU TRQs and intend to apportion these quotas to reflect current trade flows in order to ensure that, after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, WTO members maintain exactly the same level of access as they enjoy now. The EU and UK will also follow a common approach regarding the ceilings on domestic subsidies for agriculture. This is without prejudice to the position the EU might take on other trade-related matters.

10/10/2017

BREXIT: General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 17/10/2017

Agenda highlights

Brexit negotiations

The Council, in an EU 27 format, will discuss the state of play of Brexit negotiations after five rounds of talks with the UK. Michel Barnier, the EU Chief Negotiator, will brief the ministers on the progress made so far.  This discussion will serve as preparation for the meeting of the EU27 heads of state or government at the European Council (Article 50) on 20 October 2017

Relocation of the two EU agencies

In the margins of the General Affairs Council (Article 50), EU27 ministers are also expected to hold a political discussion regarding the relocation of the two EU agencies currently located in the UK:

  •  European Medicines Agency
  •  European Banking Authority

The future location needs to be decided through a specific procedure endorsed by the EU27 leaders on 22 June 2017.

 

09/10/2017

BREXIT: 5TH ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS 09-12 OCTOBER

Programme: 5th round of EU-UK Article 50 negotiations Brussels, 9-12 October 2017

 9 October 2017

  •  Technical working groups 

10 October 2017

  •  Coordinators’ Session 

12 October 2017

  •  Principals’ meeting
  • Press briefing (to be confirmed)

Note:

There are three technical working groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. Horizontal issues, including governance, will be addressed by the Coordinators. Additional technical working groups may be scheduled during the week.

09/10/2017

Brexit: White Papers

Customs Bill: legislating for the UK’s future customs, VAT and excise regimes

Preparing for our future UK trade policy

This paper has 2 parts:

  1.   the first part outlines the world in which the UK trades and the role of trade in an economy that works for everyone
  2.   the second part outlines the basic principles that will shape our future trading framework, and our developing approach to a future trade policy

The latter includes 5 important components, and some specific areas where we are preparing the necessary legal powers now to ensure we are ready to operate independently as we exit the EU.

The paper welcomes views both on the specific legal powers we are seeking in this first step and on our broader developing approach. Read Paper in full

 

MORE ON THERESA MAY'S SPEECH

Economic partnership

Mr Speaker, I have been clear that when we leave the European Union we will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union.

The British people voted for control of their borders, their laws and their money. And that is what this government is going to deliver.

At the same time we want to find a creative solution to a new economic relationship that can support prosperity for all our peoples.

We do not want to settle for adopting a model enjoyed by other countries.

So we have rejected the idea of something based on European Economic Area membership. For this would mean having to adopt – automatically and in their entirety – new EU rules over which, in future, we will have little influence and no vote.

Neither are we seeking a Canadian-style free trade agreement. For compared with what exists today, this would represent such a restriction on our mutual market access that it would benefit none of our economies.

Instead I am proposing a unique and ambitious economic partnership. It will reflect our unprecedented position of starting with the same rules and regulations. We will maintain our unequivocal commitment to free trade and high standards. And we will need a framework to manage where we continue to align and where we choose to differ.

There will be areas of policy and regulation which are outside the scope of our trade and economic relations where this should be straightforward.

There will be areas which do affect our economic relations where we and our European friends may have different goals; or where we share the same goals but want to achieve them through different means.

And there will be areas where we want to achieve the same goals in the same ways, because it makes sense for our economies.

And because rights and obligations must be held in balance, the decisions we both take will have consequences for the UK’s access to the EU market – and EU access to our market.

But this dynamic, creative and unique economic partnership will enable the UK and the EU to work side by side in bringing shared prosperity to our peoples.

Security relationship

Let me turn to the new security relationship.

As I said when I visited our troops serving on the NATO mission in Estonia last month, the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.

And we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or manmade disasters.

So we are proposing a bold new strategic agreement that provides a comprehensive framework for future security, law enforcement and criminal justice co-operation: a treaty between the UK and the EU.

We are also proposing a far reaching partnership on how together we protect Europe from the threats we face in the world today.

So this partnership will be unprecedented in its breadth and depth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence and security, and development.

Implementation

Let me turn to how we build a bridge from where we are now to the new relationship that we want to see.

When we leave the European Union on 29th March 2019 neither the UK, nor the EU and its Members States, will be in a position to implement smoothly many of the detailed arrangements that will underpin this new relationship we seek.

Businesses will need time to adjust and governments will need to put new systems in place. And businesses want certainty about the position in the interim.

That is why I suggested in my speech at Lancaster House there should be a period of implementation – and why I proposed such a period in my speech in Florence last month.

During this strictly time-limited period, we will have left the EU and its institutions, but we are proposing that for this period access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and Britain also should continue to take part in existing security measures.

The framework for this period, which can be agreed under Article 50, would be the existing structure of EU rules and regulations.

Now I know some people may have some concerns about this. But there are two reasons why it makes sense.

First, we want our departure from the EU to be as smooth as possible – it wouldn’t make sense to make people and businesses plan for two sets of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU.

Second, we should concentrate our negotiating time and capital on what really matters – the future long-term relationship we will have with the EU after this temporary period ends.

During the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK; but there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new immigration system required to re-take control of our borders.

And our intention is that new arrivals would be subject to new rules for EU citizens on long term settlement.

We will also push forward on our future independent trade policy, talking to trading partners across the globe and preparing to introduce those deals once this period is over.

How long the period is should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new systems we need.

As of today, these considerations point to an implementation period of around two years.

And as I said in Florence – because I don’t believe that either the EU or the British people will want us to stay longer in the existing structures than necessary, we could also agree to bring forward aspects of that future framework, such as new dispute resolution mechanisms, more quickly if this can be done smoothly.

At the heart of these arrangements, there should be a clear double lock: guaranteeing a period of implementation giving businesses and people the certainty they will be able to prepare for the change; and guaranteeing this implementation period will be time-limited, giving everyone the certainty this will not go on forever.

Negotiations

Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Florence speech was to move the negotiations forward and that is exactly what has happened.

As Michel Barnier said after the last round, there is a “new dynamic” in the negotiations. And I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for all he has done to drive through real and tangible progress on a number of vital areas.

On citizens’ rights, as I have said many times this government greatly values the contributions of all EU citizens who have made their lives in our country. We want them to stay.

In Florence, I gave further commitments that the rights of EU citizens in the UK – and UK citizens in the EU – will not diverge over time, committing to incorporate our agreement on citizens’ rights fully into UK law and making sure the UK courts can refer directly to it.

Since Florence there has been more progress including reaching agreement on reciprocal healthcare and pensions, and encouraging further alignment on a range of important social security rights.

So I hope our negotiating teams can now reach full agreement quickly.

On Northern Ireland, we have now begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area and associated rights. And we have both stated explicitly we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border.

We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland – and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland – to get this right.

Then there is the question of the EU budget.

As I have said, this can only be resolved as part of the settlement of all the issues that we are working through.

Still I do not want our partners to fear that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership.

And as we move forwards, we will also want to continue working together in ways that promote the long-term economic development of our continent.

This includes continuing to take part in those specific policies and programmes which are greatly to our joint advantage, such as those that promote science, education and culture – and those that promote our mutual security.

And as I set out in my speech at Lancaster House, in doing so, we would want to make a contribution to cover our fair share of the costs involved.

Mr Speaker, I continued discussions on many of these issues when I met with European leaders in Tallinn at the end of last month.

And in the bi-lateral discussions I have had with Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Szydlo, President Tusk and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, they welcomed the tone set in Florence and the impact this was having on moving the negotiations forwards.

Legislation

Mr Speaker, preparing for life outside the EU is also about the legislative steps we take.

Our EU Withdrawal Bill will shortly enter Committee Stage, carrying over EU rules and regulations into our domestic law from the moment we leave the EU.

And today we are publishing two White Papers on trade and customs. These pave the way for legislation to allow the UK to operate as an independent trading nation and to create an innovative customs system that will help us achieve the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade as we leave the EU.

And while I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality. So that is exactly what we are doing.

These White Papers also support that work, including setting out steps to minimise disruption for businesses and travellers.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, a new, deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and a strong and successful European Union is our ambition and our offer to our European friends.

Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU.

And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic it will receive a positive response.

Because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us – but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our European friends too.

So while, of course, progress will not always be smooth; by approaching these negotiations in a constructive way – in a spirit of friendship and co-operation and with our sights firmly set on the future – I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong.

And I believe we can seize the opportunities of this defining moment in the history of our nation.

Mr Speaker, a lot of the day to day coverage is about process. But this, on the other hand, is vitally important.

I am determined to deliver what the British people voted for and to get it right.

That is my duty as Prime Minister.

It is our duty as a Government.

And it is what we will do.

And I commend this Statement to the House.

09/10/2017

Brexit: Statement by Theresa May, Prime Minister, to Parliament after her Florence speech on the Brexit negotiations.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on our plans for leaving the European Union.

Today the fifth round of negotiations begins in Brussels and this government is getting on with the job of delivering the democratic will of the British people.

As I set out in my speech in Florence we want to take a creative and pragmatic approach to securing a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union which spans both a new economic relationship and a new security relationship.

So let me set out what each of these relationships could look like – before turning to how we get there.

MORE ON THERESA MAY'S SPEECH

Economic partnership

Mr Speaker, I have been clear that when we leave the European Union we will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union.

The British people voted for control of their borders, their laws and their money. And that is what this government is going to deliver.

At the same time we want to find a creative solution to a new economic relationship that can support prosperity for all our peoples.

We do not want to settle for adopting a model enjoyed by other countries.

So we have rejected the idea of something based on European Economic Area membership. For this would mean having to adopt – automatically and in their entirety – new EU rules over which, in future, we will have little influence and no vote.

Neither are we seeking a Canadian-style free trade agreement. For compared with what exists today, this would represent such a restriction on our mutual market access that it would benefit none of our economies.

Instead I am proposing a unique and ambitious economic partnership. It will reflect our unprecedented position of starting with the same rules and regulations. We will maintain our unequivocal commitment to free trade and high standards. And we will need a framework to manage where we continue to align and where we choose to differ.

There will be areas of policy and regulation which are outside the scope of our trade and economic relations where this should be straightforward.

There will be areas which do affect our economic relations where we and our European friends may have different goals; or where we share the same goals but want to achieve them through different means.

And there will be areas where we want to achieve the same goals in the same ways, because it makes sense for our economies.

And because rights and obligations must be held in balance, the decisions we both take will have consequences for the UK’s access to the EU market – and EU access to our market.

But this dynamic, creative and unique economic partnership will enable the UK and the EU to work side by side in bringing shared prosperity to our peoples.

Security relationship

Let me turn to the new security relationship.

As I said when I visited our troops serving on the NATO mission in Estonia last month, the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.

And we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or manmade disasters.

So we are proposing a bold new strategic agreement that provides a comprehensive framework for future security, law enforcement and criminal justice co-operation: a treaty between the UK and the EU.

We are also proposing a far reaching partnership on how together we protect Europe from the threats we face in the world today.

So this partnership will be unprecedented in its breadth and depth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence and security, and development.

Implementation

Let me turn to how we build a bridge from where we are now to the new relationship that we want to see.

When we leave the European Union on 29th March 2019 neither the UK, nor the EU and its Members States, will be in a position to implement smoothly many of the detailed arrangements that will underpin this new relationship we seek.

Businesses will need time to adjust and governments will need to put new systems in place. And businesses want certainty about the position in the interim.

That is why I suggested in my speech at Lancaster House there should be a period of implementation – and why I proposed such a period in my speech in Florence last month.

During this strictly time-limited period, we will have left the EU and its institutions, but we are proposing that for this period access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms and Britain also should continue to take part in existing security measures.

The framework for this period, which can be agreed under Article 50, would be the existing structure of EU rules and regulations.

Now I know some people may have some concerns about this. But there are two reasons why it makes sense.

First, we want our departure from the EU to be as smooth as possible – it wouldn’t make sense to make people and businesses plan for two sets of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU.

Second, we should concentrate our negotiating time and capital on what really matters – the future long-term relationship we will have with the EU after this temporary period ends.

During the implementation period, people will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK; but there will be a registration system – an essential preparation for the new immigration system required to re-take control of our borders.

And our intention is that new arrivals would be subject to new rules for EU citizens on long term settlement.

We will also push forward on our future independent trade policy, talking to trading partners across the globe and preparing to introduce those deals once this period is over.

How long the period is should be determined simply by how long it will take to prepare and implement the new systems we need.

As of today, these considerations point to an implementation period of around two years.

And as I said in Florence – because I don’t believe that either the EU or the British people will want us to stay longer in the existing structures than necessary, we could also agree to bring forward aspects of that future framework, such as new dispute resolution mechanisms, more quickly if this can be done smoothly.

At the heart of these arrangements, there should be a clear double lock: guaranteeing a period of implementation giving businesses and people the certainty they will be able to prepare for the change; and guaranteeing this implementation period will be time-limited, giving everyone the certainty this will not go on forever.

Negotiations

Mr Speaker, the purpose of the Florence speech was to move the negotiations forward and that is exactly what has happened.

As Michel Barnier said after the last round, there is a “new dynamic” in the negotiations. And I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for all he has done to drive through real and tangible progress on a number of vital areas.

On citizens’ rights, as I have said many times this government greatly values the contributions of all EU citizens who have made their lives in our country. We want them to stay.

In Florence, I gave further commitments that the rights of EU citizens in the UK – and UK citizens in the EU – will not diverge over time, committing to incorporate our agreement on citizens’ rights fully into UK law and making sure the UK courts can refer directly to it.

Since Florence there has been more progress including reaching agreement on reciprocal healthcare and pensions, and encouraging further alignment on a range of important social security rights.

So I hope our negotiating teams can now reach full agreement quickly.

On Northern Ireland, we have now begun drafting joint principles on preserving the Common Travel Area and associated rights. And we have both stated explicitly we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border.

We owe it to the people of Northern Ireland – and indeed to everyone on the island of Ireland – to get this right.

Then there is the question of the EU budget.

As I have said, this can only be resolved as part of the settlement of all the issues that we are working through.

Still I do not want our partners to fear that they will need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave. The UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership.

And as we move forwards, we will also want to continue working together in ways that promote the long-term economic development of our continent.

This includes continuing to take part in those specific policies and programmes which are greatly to our joint advantage, such as those that promote science, education and culture – and those that promote our mutual security.

And as I set out in my speech at Lancaster House, in doing so, we would want to make a contribution to cover our fair share of the costs involved.

Mr Speaker, I continued discussions on many of these issues when I met with European leaders in Tallinn at the end of last month.

And in the bi-lateral discussions I have had with Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Szydlo, President Tusk and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, they welcomed the tone set in Florence and the impact this was having on moving the negotiations forwards.

Legislation

Mr Speaker, preparing for life outside the EU is also about the legislative steps we take.

Our EU Withdrawal Bill will shortly enter Committee Stage, carrying over EU rules and regulations into our domestic law from the moment we leave the EU.

And today we are publishing two White Papers on trade and customs. These pave the way for legislation to allow the UK to operate as an independent trading nation and to create an innovative customs system that will help us achieve the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade as we leave the EU.

And while I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality. So that is exactly what we are doing.

These White Papers also support that work, including setting out steps to minimise disruption for businesses and travellers.

Conclusion

Mr Speaker, a new, deep and special partnership between a sovereign United Kingdom and a strong and successful European Union is our ambition and our offer to our European friends.

Achieving that partnership will require leadership and flexibility, not just from us but from our friends, the 27 nations of the EU.

And as we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic it will receive a positive response.

Because what we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us – but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our European friends too.

So while, of course, progress will not always be smooth; by approaching these negotiations in a constructive way – in a spirit of friendship and co-operation and with our sights firmly set on the future – I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong.

And I believe we can seize the opportunities of this defining moment in the history of our nation.

Mr Speaker, a lot of the day to day coverage is about process. But this, on the other hand, is vitally important.

I am determined to deliver what the British people voted for and to get it right.

That is my duty as Prime Minister.

It is our duty as a Government.

And it is what we will do.

And I commend this Statement to the House.

16/07/2018

IFA National Beef Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Livestock Civil Dialogue Angus Woods and COPA Chairman of the Horse Committee James Murphy attending a COPA Committee meeting discussing Strategic Communication Plan for the EU Livestock Sector

16/07/2018

Angus Woods and Liam MacHale met in Brussels today with Jean-Marc Trarieux DG AGRI and Peter Power Head of Cabinet Commissioner Hogan regarding Mercosur

12/07/2018

IFA President Joe Healy and Irish Farmers Journal Chairman Matt Dempsey presenting Commissioner Phil Hogan with the Save Our Sucklers petition which has over 44.000 signatures to save the Irish Suckler herd

11/07/2018

IFA Economist Dr. Edel Kelly attending the COPA CAP Working Party in Brussels this morning

10/07/2018

Liam MacHale with Paolo De Castro MEP and Rapporteur on Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Chain following discussion on UTPs in the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament today

09/07/2018

Elaine Farrell attending the COPA Brexit Task Force meeting in Brussels today

05/07/2018

IFA Discussing CAP Pillar II issues with DG Agri’s Christiane Kirketerp de Viron at IFA’s office in Brussels

05/07/2018

IFA meeting with Maria Antonia Luetteken DG AGRI Rural Development regarding ANCs.

.

 

 

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Gerry Gunning, Flor Mc Carthy and Joe Healy presenting IFA’s CAP campaign document to Maria Antonia Luetteken

05/07/2018

IFA President with DG AGRI’s, Kai Uwe Sprenger and Jens Schaps meeting on new CAP

05/07/2018

IFA with DG Agri’s Jens Schaps, Kai Uwe Sprenger and Carlos Martin Ovila discussing CMO issues in the new CAP Legislative Proposal in Brussels today

05/07/2018

IFA President Joe Healy and IFA Economist Edel Kelly presenting IF campaign  on the CAP document to Tom Tynan Cabinet Hogan

05/07/2018

IFA meetng with Members of Commissioner >Hogan’s Cabinet in Brussels today to discuss CAP, climate change and environmental measures

05/07/2018

IFA President Joe Healy met with Pierre Bascour Director DG AGRI in Brussels today

05/07/2018

IFA CAP GROUP discussing simplification and new conditionality in the new CAP Legislative Proposal with Pierre Bascou Director DG AGRI in Brussels this morning

05/07/2018

President Joe Healy leads an IFA delegation to meet with the European Commission DG AGRI and Cabinet on CAP post 2020 in Brussels today

25/06/2018

The IFA Dairy Team met with Tom Tynan, Cabinet of Commission Hogan, to discuss dairy market management and CAP reform.

21/06/2018

Our Grain Chairman Mark Browne attended COPACOGECA meeting on Cereals in Brussels today which discussed the Irish perspective on the EU commission’s proposal on Future of CAP

14/06/2018

IFA President Joe Healy with Commissioner Hogan at the COPA Praesidium in Brussels today.

14/06/2018

Commissioner Hogan will address the COPA Praesidium now on the new CAP Legislative Proposals

14/06/2018

IFA President Joe Healy  highlighted that ‘CAP benefits all’ is his request to Commissioner Hogan for a strong Agriculture budget

14/06/2018

Joe Healy Vice President of COPA attending the meeting of the COPA Presidency in Brussels today.

08/06/2018

Caroline Farrell National Chair of Farm Family Committee attending discussion on gender equality in new CAP at COPA Women’s Committee meeting today

08/06/2018

Caroline Farrell National Chair of Farm Family Committee attending discussion on gender equality in new CAP at COPA Women’s Committee meeting today

28/05/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale attending the World Farmer’s Organsation General Assembly meeting in Moscow

23/05/2018

IFA President Joe Healy re-elected Chairman of the COPA Food Chain Working Group today in Brussels pictured here with Paulo Gouveia, COPA, Kevin Keary Cabinet of Commission Hogan and Liam MacHale

23/05/2018

IFA President Joe Healy re-elected Chairman of the COPA Food Chain Working Group today in Brussels pictured here with Paulo Gouveia, COPA, Kevin Keary Cabinet of Commission Hogan and Liam MacHale

23/05/2018

IFA President and Chairman of the COPA Working Group on Food Chain Joe Healy discussing EU Directive on UTPs with Oliver Sitar from DG Agri in Brussels today.

22/05/2018

IFA’s Pat Farrell asking that the EU not to allow additional costs related to Animal Health and Medicines to fall on Irish farmers as a result of Brexit at event in the European Parliament this evening

22/05/2018

Liam MacHale and Nigel Renaghan IFA National Organic Project Team Chair at the COPA/COGECA Working Group on Organic Products today in Brussels

18/05/2018

Andy Boylan IFA National Poultry Chairman participated in the EU Civil Dialogue Group meeting on Eggs & Poultry in Brussels today

17/05/2018

IFA’s Robert Malone and Andy Boylan IFA National Poultry Committee Chairman attending the COPA Working Group on Eggs and Poultry today in Brussels

26/04/2018

IFA President Joe Healy in discussion with Minette Batters, NFU President, on Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in Brussels today

26/04/2018

On Brexit: “We are trying to be ready and prepared for whatever the outcome but we are flexible” – Bence Toth, Brexit Task Force 50 member addressing audience at event attended by IFA President Joe Healy

23/04/2018

IFA’s Angus Woods and Kevin Kinsella met with Commissioner Phil Hogan at the launch of the EU Code of Conduct on Ag Date Sharing in Brussels today

23/04/2018

 

IFA’s National Beef Chairman & Chairman of Beef Civil Dialogue Group Angus Woods and Kevin Kinsella met with Raluca Rusu, DG Agri today in Brussels in preparation for the CDG meeting.

19/04/2018

IFA’s Gerry Gunning is attending COPA meeting on CAP today in Brussels and emphasised the importance of Member States Farming Associations ‘playing their part’ in the political debate for the MFF

18/04/2018

IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy and Pekka Pesonen  COPA/COGECA led delegation to meet Maria Åsenius, Head of Cabinet Commissioner Malmström on the removal of Anti Dumping measures for Ammonium Nitrate

18/04/2018

IFA in Brussels today arguing for the removal of anti dumping measures on fertiliser at a hearing with DG Trade – the removal would mean huge savings on fertiliser costs for EU farmers

12/04/2018

IFA President Joe Healy and Elaine Farrell discussing UTP proposals with Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels

12/04/2018

Discussion with Mairead McGuinness MEP on  the UTP proposals outlined this morning by Commission Phil Hogan at the European Parliament Agriculture Committee

 

12/04/2018

Joe Healy in discussion with Joost Korte DG Employment in the European Parliament  following the proposals  on UTPs this morning in the European Parliament

 

14/04/2018

IFA’s Niamh Brennan with the Copa-Cogeca’s WP Chairman of Pigmeat, Mr Antonio Tavares at a meeting in Brussels today

 

 

 

09/04/2018

IFA’s Joe Brady National Committee Chairman for Rural Development is attending the COPA workshop on ANC’s in Brussels today

 

05/04/2018

IFA’s Gerry Gunning outlines IFA’s support for a 1.2% of GNI contribution to the EU budget for a strong CAP at today’s COPA Working group on CAP

29/03/2018

Liam MacHale IFA Brussels asked for French Minister for Agriculture Stéphane Travert’s support for the sensitive beef sector in ongoing Mercosur negotiations

 

 

 

 

28/03/2018

IFA President Joe Healy met with Mairead McGuinness, MEP,  on CAP budget, Brexit, farm incomes and farmers share from market place in Brussels today

 

 

 

 

28/03/201

 

Liam MacHale at the FNSEA Congress in Tours, France, with Joseph Ponthier, President FWA Belgium, Henri Brichart Vice President, FNSEA, and Simon SCHLÜTER,  DBV Brussels Office

 

 

 

 

27/03/2018

 

IFA President Joe Healy and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture in Brussels

 

 

 

 

27/03/2018

 

IFA President Joe Healy asked for a strong CAP budget supporting active farmers and pointed out the unfair margin returned to farmers and supported Commissioner Hogan ‘stamping out Unfair Trading Practices’

 

 

 

 

27/03/2018

 

IFA President Joe Healy discussed current Mercosur negotiations on beef with representatives of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the Mission to Brussels.

 

 

 

27/03/2018

 

IFA President Joe Healy discussed current Mercosur negotiations on beef with representatives of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and the Mission to Brussels.

 

 

 

27/03/2018

 

IFA President Joe Healy with former Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler at Forum for Future of Agriculture in Brussels today

 

23/03/2018

 

Pat Farrell IFA Animal Health Chair and Tomas Bourke discuss Veterinary Medicine Regulation issues which affect Irish farmers with Katie Power Assistant to Mairead McGuinness MEP

 

 

 

23/03/2018

 

IFA’s Tomas Bourke with National Chairman for Animal Health Pat Farrell attending the COPA Working group for Animal Health & Welfare in Brussels today

 

 

 

 

22/03/2018

IFA President Joe Healy at the COPA-COGECA Presidency meeting with Henri Brichart, French Farming Association, FNSEA in Brussels today

 

 

 

22/03/2018

IFA President Joe Healy met with Mairead McGuinness, MEP, in the European Parliameent today to discuss upcoming legislative proposal on Unfair Trading Practices

 

 

 

19/03/2018

IFA Brussels Director, Liam MacHale underlined the need for strong support for the EU Agriculture Budget with Minister Helen McEntee in Brussels this evening

 

 

 

14/03/2018

An IFA delegation met with Tom Tynan of Commissioner Hogan’s Cabinet and DG Agri officials today on the investigation into anti-dumping measures for ammonium nitrate

 

 

 

14/03/2018

IFA with representatives from COPA-COGECA and AGPB France, met with Jens Schaps, DG Agri on antidumping measures on ammonium nitrate today in Brussels

 

 

 

09/03/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale and Ethan Cleary with Tom Kelly, Teagasc at the Commission event on role of Thematic Networks in Agriculture Innovation in Brussels

 

 

 

09/03/2018

IFA’s Ethan Cleary attending Commission presentation in Brussels on Thematic Network’s – ‘How to interact better with farmers and speed up innovation’

 

 

 

08/03/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale and Christian Staat, Cabinet of Budget Commissioner Gűnther Oettinger addressed a group of Bavarian Young Farmers in Brussels this evening

 

08/03/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale and Jean Pierre Fleury of French Beef Association met DG Sante’s Michael Scannell and Cristina Lado re Chief Vets follow up visit to Brazil meat plants

 

 

 

07/03/2018

Liam MacHale addressed a group of FG Councillors along with ICOS led by Deirdre Clune MEP in the European Parliament today

 

 

 

28/02/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale today spoke on Research & Innovation in Agrifood at an event in organised by UCD Dublin in the European Parliament

 

 

 

26/02/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale took part in a discussion on Brexit with a Finna Faily Party a delegation in the European Parliament

 

 

 

23/02/2018

IFA President Joe Healy is chairman of today’s COPA Praesidium meeting of EU Farming Association Presidents in Brussels

 

 

 

22/02/2018

IFA told Commissioner Andriukaitis that accepting lower SPS standards or non enforced standards in a Mercosur agreement would affect Europe’s beef farmers most.

 

 

 

22/02/2018

Liam MacHale participating in discussion with Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis  Andriukaitis at the COPA Praesidium today

 

 

 

19/02/2018

The IFA Dairy Team is in Brussels today to discuss dairy markets, milk price outlook, and what to do to reduce SMP stock without damaging the market.

 

 

 

16/02/2018

IFA’s Maura Canning and National Farm Family Chair Caroline Farrell with Sweden’s Lotta Folkesson, Chair of COPA Women’s Committee In Brussels today

 

 

 

12/02/2018

Liam MacHale discussed CAP and Brexit issues along with IBEC’s Doreen Burke with group of Cork Institute of Technology Business Students in Louvain yesterday

 

 

07/02/2018

IFA President Joe Healy met with Commissioner Phil Hogan today in Brussels and presented him with a copy of the IFA 2017 Annual Report

 

07/02/2018

Kevin Keary from Commissioner Hogan’s Cabinet outlining to the COPA-COGECA Food Chain Meeting, chaired by Joe Healy IFA President, the process and timing for EU Legislation on the Fair Food Chain

 

 

07/02/2018

Joe Healy chairing the COPA-COGECA Food Chain Meeting in Brussels this morning discussing what’s needed in EU legislation to curb unfair trading practices

 

 

05/02/2018

IFA National Grain Chairman Mark Browne reporting on the challenges of the Irish tillage sector to the working party on Cereals at COPA Working Party in Brussels today

 

 

31/01/2018

Angus Woods with Fiona Simson, President of Australian National Farmers’ Federation following roundtable discussions in Brussels today

 

 

31/01/2018

Angus Woods highlighting the joint threats of Brexit, CAP reform and  Mercosur in discussions with Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation in Brussels

 

 

31/01/2018

IFA’s Liam MacHale meeting with Béla Kocsy Director of the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture to discuss issues in the beef sector today

 

 

29/01/2018

Joe Healy highlighted risk to sensitive European beef sector in any Mercosur deal at meeting with Rumen Porozhanov Agriculture Council President in Brussels today

 

 

29/01/2018

IFA President Joe Healy and Livestock Chair Angus Woods  in Brussels on way to defend Irish agriculture in a meeting with Sandra Gallina, DG Trade, Chief EU Negotiator on Mercosur

 

29/01/2018

Joe Healy being interviewed by European TV outside of the EU Council on Mercosur

 

27/01/2018

IFA President Joe Healy met with Minister Doyle on Sunday evening to discuss upcoming Mercosur negotiations in Brussels

 

 

23/01/2018

IFA’s Thomas Ryan and Shane Cogan presenting IFA guide on Smart farming to DG Clima / DG Environment and JRC in Brussels

 

17/01/2018

IFA CAP team meeting with Tassos Haniotis, Director of Economic Analysis DG Agri to discuss CAP issues this morning

 

11/01/2018

Elaine Farrell participated in Brexit Phase 2 discussions at the COPA Brexit task force meeting today in Brussels

 

11/01/2018

Liam MacHale with Macra na Feirme President James Healy attending European Young Farmer’s Association CEJA meeting in Brussels.

 

11/01/2018

Richie Flynn meeting Chairman Carlos Iturgaiz  at the Sustainable Agriculture hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels

03/01/2018

Preparatory documents

Agenda highlights

The Austrian presidency will present to the Council its priorities and work programme for the second half of 2018 in the field of agriculture and fisheries.

Ministers will then discuss the post 2020 CAP reform package, focusing in particular on simplification and subsidiarity.  There are three legislative proposals on the table:

  • a regulation on the CAP strategic plans
  • a regulation single common market organisation (CMO)
  • a horizontal regulation on financing, managing and monitoring the CAP

These proposals give shape to the ideas for the future of the CAP, as outlined in the Communication on the Future of Food and Farming.

The Council will also be informed about drought in Poland.

The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 and begin to chart a new course in the world. The Government will have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum – the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history. And it will have reached a key milestone in its principal mission – to build a country that works for everyone. A country that is stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking.

The UK Government is advancing a detailed proposal for a principled and practical Brexit. This proposal underpins the vision set out by the Prime Minister at Lancaster House, in Florence, at Mansion House and in Munich, and in doing so addresses questions raised by the EU in the intervening months – explaining how the relationship would work, what benefits it would deliver for both sides, and why it would respect the sovereignty of the UK as well as the autonomy of the EU.  Read all about it here

More information can be found on Brexit here


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