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Main Results General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 25/09/2017

The Council, in an EU 27 format, took stock of progress in the Brexit negotiations, with the fourth round of talks with the UK being launched the same day  (see agenda here). The Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier updated the Council on developments, and the EU27 ministers had an opportunity to exchange views on the ongoing talks.

“The mandate we adopted four months ago remains fully valid, and ministers have again shown their full support for the EU negotiator. The EU 27 remain united and we have a single channel of negotiations. Following Prime Minister May’s constructive speech we hope the round which starts today will be productive, since time is of the essence.”

Matti Maasikas, Deputy Minister for European Affairs of Estonia and chair of the Council meeting

Ministers also began preparations for the European Council (Article 50) of October 2017 by examining an annotated draft agenda for the summit.

Outcome documents

MAIN NEWS

Moving forward on the European Pillar of Social Rights: Commission continues work on fair and predictable employment contracts

The European Commission has entered into further discussions with trade unions and employers’ organisations at EU level on how to modernise the rules on employment contracts, in order to make these contracts fairer and more predictable for all types of workers. With this initiative, the Commission continues to roll out the European Pillar of Social Rights, aiming to create convergence between Member States towards better working and living conditions. Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for the Euro, Social Dialogue, Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “The role of the social partners is central for moving forward with the European Pillar of Social Rights. This is particularly the case when it comes to addressing challenges related to new forms of employment and providing adequate working conditions in atypical forms of employments. (…) The Commission is mindful of the need to balance essential protection for workers with companies’ scope for job creation and labour market innovation. That is what our proposal is about”. Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, added: “Workers have the right to be informed in writing at the start of employment about their rights and obligations. But millions of Europeans working in non-standard contracts are uncertain about their rights. (…) Ensuring fairer and more predictable employment contracts is a basis for fair working conditions across the EU. This is what we strive for with the European Pillar of Social Rights, which I hope will be proclaimed at the highest political level during the Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg on 17 November.” The Commission wants to broaden the scope of the current Directive on employment contracts (the so-called Written Statement Directive), extending it to new forms of employment, such as on-demand workers, voucher-based workers and platform workers, so that no one is left behind. The current rules should also be modernised, taking account of developments on the labour market in the past decades. By improving the information that is given at the start of an employment contract, workers will be better aware of their rights, and therefore more able to enforce these rights. For employers, bringing the rules up to date will bring more legal clarity and certainty and will avoid unfair competition. Social partners will be able to share their views on the envisaged updates of EU legislation on employment contracts until 3 November 2017. The Commission aims to present a legislative proposal before the end of the year. A full press release and a Q&A are available online.

Commission welcomes Council decision to close Excessive Deficit Procedure for Greece

The Commission welcomes the Council decision to close the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) for Greece adopted at today’s meeting of the General Affairs Council. This decision follows the Commission’s recommendation to close the EDP in July. The Commission made this recommendation on the basis of the substantial efforts undertaken by Greece to consolidate its public finances coupled with the progress made in the implementation of its ESM stability support programme. The general government balance has improved from a deficit of 15.1% in 2009 to a surplus of 0.7% in 2016. This is well below the 3% threshold set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. According to the Spring 2017 Economic Forecast, the positive fiscal performance of Greece is expected to be durable, with the deficit projected to remain below 3% over the forecast horizon. This progress is in addition to the substantial and wide-ranging structural reform packages that Greece has adopted as part of its commitments under the Greek stability support programme, reforms that are being implemented. Following today’s Council decision, only three Member States now remain under the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (France, Spain and the United Kingdom), down from 24 countries during the financial crisis in 2011. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Today’s decision by the Council is a recognition of the tremendous efforts and sacrifices the Greek people have made to restore stability to their country’s public finances. The turnaround since 2009 has no parallels in Europe. We now need to ensure there is constructive cooperation between all institutions and the Greek authorities to ensure a smooth and swift conclusion of the third review. That will pave the way for a successful conclusion of the programme next summer and for the opening of a new and optimistic chapter for Greece and for the euro area as a whole.”

 

Better access to clean drinking water in Bulgaria thanks to Cohesion Policy investments

€35 million from the Cohesion Fund is invested in the drinking and waste water network of the city of Vratsa, in North-West Bulgaria. With this investment, the urban area’s 111,600 inhabitants will be connected to a modern water distribution system while the upgrading works will result in a considerable decrease in water losses. The project also involves the renovation of a wastewater treatment plant. Commissioner for Regional policy Corina Creţu said: “In some of our regions, easy access to clean drinking water is not a given. The EU invests to improve the everyday lives of all our citizens, to protect their health and preserve their environment. This is EU solidarity at work.” More information on EU funds in Bulgaria is available on the Open Data Platform.

 

Circular Economy: Commission hosts stakeholder conference on ‘Reinventing Plastics’

The Commission will host tomorrow, 26 September, a fully-booked stakeholder conference addressing the challenges and opportunities of plastics. Input from civil society and industry will be an essential contribution in the development of the Commission’s Plastics Strategy, an integral part of the new Industrial Policy Strategy announced by the Juncker Commission to modernise and make industry stronger and more competitive. First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioners Bieńkowska and Vella will speak at the conference and listen to stakeholders’ views on how the plastics industry can evolve to reduce its environmental impact and further boost its economic contribution in Europe. More than 1.4 million people work in the European plastics industry, which is worth over €350 billion each year. However, opportunities for further growth are being missed because of low recycling rates and a high reliance on raw materials. As part of the push to improve the Circular Economy, the Commission’s upcoming Plastics Strategy will aim to improve the conditions for investment and innovation, help the industry become more circular, competitive and resource-efficient, create more jobs and further boost growth. Theconference is expected to discuss designing products for durability and recyclability, elimination of hazardous substances, sorting, traceability, incorporating recycled content, alternative feedstocks and biodegradability. The conference will also explore the issue of marine litter, including microplastics and protection of the health of EU citizens, and will look ahead to the discussions on this topic at the Our Ocean conference in Valletta, Malta on 5-6 October. Tomorrow’s stakeholder conference will be webstreamed live here. The full programme can be found online.

  

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Miller Homes by Bridgepoint

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Miller Homes Holdings Limited by Bridgepoint Group Limited, both of the UK. Miller Homes is mainly active in residential real estate development across the UK. Bridgepoint is a private equity group. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies are not active in the same or related markets. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8619.

 

Mergers: Commission approves the acquisition of Fujitsu Ten by DENSO

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of sole control over Fujitsu Ten Limited by DENSO Corporation, both of Japan. Both DENSO and Fujitsu Ten are suppliers of advanced automotive technology, systems and components. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given the limited overlap between the companies’ activities in Europe.The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8625.

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Prénatal Retail Group by Artsana

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of sole control of Prénatal Retail Group by Artsana, both of Italy. Prénatal Retail Group is active in the retail sale of baby care products and toys through its specialised stores Prénatal, Bimbo Store, Toys Centerand King Jouet. Artsana is active in the manufacture and supply of baby care products, including the brand Chicco, and health care products, as well as in the retail sale of baby care products through specialised stores. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because Artsana already controlled Prénatal Retail Group (jointly with Giochi Preziosi) before the transaction, and the change from joint control to sole control by Artsana will not result in a significant change in competitive conditions. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8600.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vice-President Ansip, Commissioners Thyssen and Moedas participate in the G7 ministerial meetings in Turin, Italy 

Several Commissioners participate in the G7 innovation week dedicated to Industry and ICT, Science and Labour taking place in Turin, Italy (programme). Tonight and tomorrow Vice-President Andrus Ansip will take part in the ministerial meetings dedicated to industry and ICT, which will focus on the competitiveness of SMEs in the next production revolution; the free flow of information, digital infrastructure, standards and artificial intelligence; and cybersecurity and intellectual property rights. This will be the occasion for the Vice-President to present the recent proposals of the Commission on the free flow of non-personal data (press release) and cybersecurity (press release).A press conference will take place on Tuesday at 12:30 CET. In the margins of the event, the Vice-President will meet Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains. He will also meet Japan’s State Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Shinsuke Okuno and Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Daisaku Hiraki. Commissioner Carlos Moedas will travel to Turin on Wednesday 27 September and participates in the G7 Science Ministerial Meeting until Thursday 28 September. The objective of the thematic discussion he will attend is to analyse how researchers could better contribute to the economic growth. A press conference will take place on Thursday at 17.30 CET. Commissioner Marianne Thyssen will represent the EU in the meeting of the G7 labour and employment ministers on 29 and 30 September. More info on her visit will be published later in the week. 

 

Vice-President Katainen and Commissioners Moedas and Navracsics at the “EU for facts: evidence for policy in a post-fact world” conference

On 26 September the Commission’s science and knowledge service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) is organising its annual conference on “EU for facts: evidence for policy in a post-fact world”. Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the JRC, said ahead of the conference: “Just like Gutenberg’s printing press, social media has enabled a paradigm shift in communication, wresting control from traditional information ‘gatekeepers’. In policymaking, values and emotions have always had an important place alongside evidence and facts, but the lines have become increasingly blurred. The JRC is working with scientists, politicians, the media and citizens to develop new thinking and new narratives, finding a better balance between facts and values in the political discourse.” Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, will deliver a key-note speech and Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, will give opening remarks in a session dedicated to the question of trust in science. Other speakers will include Pascal Lamy, former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Sir Peter Gluckman, Chair of the International Network for Science Advice to Governments, Rush Holt, Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Professor Steven Sloman of Brown University’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, & Psychological Sciences. Leading experts from the fields of science, policy and media will discuss, among others, issues of trust in science, and the need to re-design policymaking using behavioral and decision science. The conference is the highlight of JRC‘s 60th Anniversary celebrations. The conference will be webstreamed. More information can be found here.

 

European Researchers’ Night 2017 going to 12th round this Friday

The 12th edition of European Researchers’ Night takes place this week on Friday giving people across Europe the chance to discover science in a fun way in more than 340 cities in the EU and neighbouring countries. All the events are supported by the European Commission as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. A special event called “Science is Wonder-ful!” is being organised at the Parlamentarium in Brussels on 26 and 27 September. Visitors will have the possibility to take part in experiments by Marie Skłodowska-Curie researchers ranging from neuroscience to geology and psychology to multilingualism. The event will already begin this evening with a science contest showcasing the most promising scientific projects – the Falling Walls Lab-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – at the House of European History. During the Brussels event (26 September), Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, will take part in a special ceremony to mark the funding of the 100 000th MSCA fellow, featuring 30 exemplary researchers and their projects. Ahead of the award ceremony, Commissioner Navracsics said: “I am proud that the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions have funded more than 100,000 fellows so far. This is a great achievement for our programme which trains and supports the most promising researchers. As passionate scientists, every single one of them works towards a better future for us all. For a first-hand experience of research and science, come to the European Researchers’ Night events, one of the biggest science events in Europe.” The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, named after the double Nobel Prize-winning Polish-French scientist famed for her work on radioactivity, support excellent researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. More information can be found in this factsheet.

 

Commissioner Moedas meets Prime Minister Tsipras in Athens today

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, will meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras today in Athens. They will encounter in the Prime Minister residence, Maximos Mansion, from 15.30 (GMT+3, 16.30 CET), and discuss the importance of science and innovation, and the role of EU funding, in particular the programme Horizon 2020, in the economic recovery of the country. The Commissioner has participated this morning in the Conference on the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean area (PRIMA) and gave a keynote speech on the PRIMA initiative. He then met with the Alternate Minister for Research and Innovation Mr. Costas Fotakis with whom he discussed research infrastructures among other topics. Commissioner Moedas will have a discussion with Greek ERC Grantees in the early afternoon.

Programme: 4th round of EU-UK Article 50 negotiations, Brussels, 25-28 September 2017

 

Monday, 25 September 2017

  • Negotiating groups
  • 17:30: David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, meet at the Berlaymont (VIP corner).
  • Principals’ meeting

 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

  • Negotiating groups

 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

  • Negotiating groups
  • Coordinators’ meeting

 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

  • Plenary session with the Principals
  • Press briefing

 

Note:

There are three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland will be addressed by the Coordinators. The governance of the withdrawal agreement will be also discussed at technical level.

Public Consultation on the Initiative to improve the food supply chain 16 August 2017 – 17 November

Objective of the consultation

There are about 11 million farms in the European Union (EU) and 44 million people are employed in the entire EU food supply chain. Farmers are important strategic and economic players in the food supply chain.

The common agricultural policy (CAP) has over time become more market-oriented and less reliant on the management of markets.  In addition, European agriculture and the agri-food sector are increasingly integrated in global markets.

This has created important business opportunities, but also exposed farmers to greater market uncertainties and increased price volatility. Farmers often work independently of each other, and there is little in the way of collective bargaining power to help farmers defend their interests against other parts of the food chain, such as food processors and retailers. The Agricultural Markets Task Force (AMTF) set up by Commissioner Hogan proposed a number of concrete ways to strengthen the position of farmers in the food supply chain.

The European Commission will take forward this work, consulting the public regarding three areas relating to farmers’ position in the food supply chain:

  • unfair trading practices (UTPs)
  • market transparency and
  • producer cooperation.

The input received from this consultation will complement the work on the simplification and modernisation of the CAP.  The measures looked into under the initiative to improve the food supply chain would have, if adopted, relatively little impact on the EU budget as they would mainly relate to governance rules of the supply chain.

The consultation process will result in an impact assessment and complement the work on the future of the common agricultural policy. More information in the consultation strategy document.

 

HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR REPLY

Responses must be submitted via the online questionnaire. Please note that in order to ensure a fair and transparent consultation process only responses received through the online questionnaire will be taken into account and included in the report summarising the responses.

The questionnaire is currently available in English only, but will be available in all official EU languages by 25 August. Contributions may be submitted in any official EU language.

All contributions will be published on the website of the European Commission, subject to data protection rules and the restrictions applicable to organisations.

In the interest of transparency, the Commission asks organisations that wish to submit comments in the context of public consultations to provide the Commission and the public at large with information about whom and what they represent by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct . If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the Commission’s stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions (Consultation Standards, see COM (2002) 704 , and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see COM (2007) 127 of 21/03/2007 ).

If you are a registered organisation, please indicate your Register ID number in the Transparency Register when replying to the online questionnaire. Your contribution will then be considered as representative of the views of your organisation.

If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to REGISTER NOW. Then you can return to this page and submit your contribution as a registered organisation.

The questionnaire will be available until 17 November 2017.

View the questionnaire

Respond to the consultation

25/09/2017

BREXIT:  Main Results General Affairs Council (Art. 50), 25/09/2017

The Council, in an EU 27 format, took stock of progress in the Brexit negotiations, with the fourth round of talks with the UK being launched the same day  (see agenda here). The Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier updated the Council on developments, and the EU27 ministers had an opportunity to exchange views on the ongoing talks.

“The mandate we adopted four months ago remains fully valid, and ministers have again shown their full support for the EU negotiator. The EU 27 remain united and we have a single channel of negotiations. Following Prime Minister May’s constructive speech we hope the round which starts today will be productive, since time is of the essence.”

Matti Maasikas, Deputy Minister for European Affairs of Estonia and chair of the Council meeting

Ministers also began preparations for the European Council (Article 50) of October 2017 by examining an annotated draft agenda for the summit.

Outcome documents

25/09/2017

BREXIT:  Programme: 4th round of EU-UK Article 50 negotiations, Brussels, 25-28 September 2017

 

Monday, 25 September 2017

  • Negotiating groups
  • 17:30: David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, meet at the Berlaymont (VIP corner).
  • Principals’ meeting

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

  • Negotiating groups

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

  • Negotiating groups
  • Coordinators’ meeting

Thursday, 28 September 2017

  • Plenary session with the Principals
  • Press briefing

Note:

There are three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland will be addressed by the Coordinators. The governance of the withdrawal agreement will be also discussed at technical level.

25/09/2017

BREXIT:  Agenda highlights – General Affairs Council (Art. 50) – 25 September

Brexit negotiations: state of play

The Council, in an EU 27 format, will discuss the state of play of Brexit negotiations with the fourth round of talks with the UK being launched the same week. Michel Barnier, the EU Chief Negotiator, will brief the ministers on the progress in negotiations so far.

The framework for negotiations and the overall EU positions and principles for the talks are set out in the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017. The guidelines also set out a phased approach for the negotiations. The current first phase of the talks aims to provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible and to settle the disentanglement of the UK from the EU.

When the European Council, in an EU 27 format, deems sufficient progress has been achieved in the first phase, negotiations will proceed to the next phase, during which discussions on an overall understanding of the future relationship may start. Nevertheless, an agreement on a future relationship between the EU and the UK can only be concluded once the UK becomes a third country. 

October European Council (Art. 50)

Ministers will begin preparations for the European Council (Art.50) of October 2017 by discussing an annotated draft agenda.

22/09/2017

BREXIT: SPEECH BY MICHEL BARNIER

In her speech in Florence, Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed a constructive spirit which is also the spirit of the European Union during this unique negotiation.

The speech shows a willingness to move forward, as time is of the essence. We need to reach an agreement by autumn 2018 on the conditions of the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union. The UK will become a third country on 30 March 2019.

Our priority is to protect the rights of citizens. EU27 citizens in the United Kingdom must have the same rights as British citizens today in the European Union. These rights must be implemented effectively and safeguarded in the same way in the United Kingdom as in the European Union, as recalled by the European Council and European Parliament. Prime Minister May’s statements are a step forward but they must now be translated into a precise negotiating position of the UK government.

With regard to Ireland, the United Kingdom is the co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. Today’s speech does not clarify how the UK intends to honour its special responsibility for the consequences of its withdrawal for Ireland. Our objective is to preserve the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions, as well as the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union.

The United Kingdom recognises that no Member State will have to pay more or receive less because of Brexit. We stand ready to discuss the concrete implications of this pledge. We shall assess, on the basis of the commitments taken by the 28 Member States, whether this assurance covers all commitments made by the United Kingdom as a Member State of the European Union.

Today, for the first time, the United Kingdom government has requested to continue to benefit from access to the Single Market, on current terms, and to continue to benefit from existing cooperation in security. This is for a limited period of up to two years, beyond its withdrawal date, and therefore beyond its departure from the EU institutions.

If the European Union so wishes, this new request could be taken into account. It should be examined in light of the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017: “Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.”

The sooner we reach an agreement on the principles of the orderly withdrawal in the different areas – and on the conditions of a possible transition period requested by the United Kingdom – the sooner we will be ready to engage in a constructive discussion on our future relationship.

The EU shares the goal of establishing an ambitious partnership for the future. The fact that the government of the United Kingdom recognises that leaving the European Union means that it cannot keep all the benefits of membership with fewer obligations than the other Member States is welcome. In any case, the future relationship will need to be based on a balance of rights and obligations. It will need to respect the integrity of the Union’s legal order and the autonomy of its decision-making.

The EU will continue to insist on sufficient progress in the key areas of the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom before opening discussions on the future relationship. Agreeing on the essential principles in these areas will create the trust that is needed for us to build a future relationship together.

David Davis and I will meet in Brussels next Monday to begin the fourth round of the negotiations. As always, we are preparing the upcoming round with the 27 Member States and the European Parliament. On Monday I will have a discussion with the European Parliament in its Brexit Steering Group, as well as with all Member States in the General Affairs Council.

We look forward to the United Kingdom’s negotiators explaining the concrete implications of Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech. Our ambition is to find a rapid agreement on the conditions of the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal, as well as on a possible transition period

22/09/2017

BREXIT:  BREXIT SPEECH IS DISAPPOINTING & DOES NOT MOVE FORWARD THE NEGOTIATIONS ON TRADE AND THE BORDER – IFA PRESIDENT

IFA President Joe Healy said today’s speech by British Prime Minister Theresa May was disappointing and does not move forward the Brexit talks, nor does it address our concerns about the future trading relationship between the EU and the UK.

The UK’s negotiating position is unrealistic in seeking a new framework that would give the UK the full benefits of EU membership on trade, while staying outside the Single Market, the Customs Union and even the European Economic Area.

Joe Healy said, “The most straightforward means of keeping the current border arrangements, and minimising the disruption to trade between the EU and the UK, is to agree a trading relationship that does not require customs and regulatory checks. Despite Theresa May’s commitment to no physical infrastructure on the Irish border, she didn’t acknowledge the serious compromises that the UK will have to make on its trading ambitions with third countries for the EU to agree to this”.

The IFA President said that Ireland must have as its top priority the retention of the UK in the Customs Union, or a trading arrangement that would a have similar effect. “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.”

Joe Healy said the UK’s acceptance of Budget contributions during the implementation period, while it didn’t have specific figures, does mark a step forward. We are very concerned that overall progress in the negotiations is too slow.

The weakening of Sterling since the UK General Election has had major repercussions for Irish farmers. Beef farmers were losing up to €2m/week during August and early September because of the negative sentiment on the pound around the Brexit talks.

IFA is campaigning for the Government to seek direct support at EU level for farm level measures that counteract the price drops. In next month’s national Budget, we need to see practical Government support to improve competitiveness and support for farm incomes is required. “This includes making available further low cost bank financing to farmers, and increasing funding for the Areas of Natural Constraint and the Beef Data and Genomics Programmes.”

22/09/2017

BREXIT: THERESA MAY ON HOW UK WILL BE EU FRIEND AND PARTNER AFTER BREXIT

Prime Minister Theresa May set out how the UK will be the strongest friend and partner to the EU after we leave the EU.

It’s good to be here in this great city of Florence today at a critical time in the evolution of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

It was here, more than anywhere else, that the Renaissance began – a period of history that inspired centuries of creativity and critical thought across our continent and which in many ways defined what it meant to be European.

A period of history whose example shaped the modern world. A period of history that teaches us that when we come together in a spirit of ambition and innovation, we have it within ourselves to do great things.

That shows us that if we open our minds to new thinking and new possibilities, we can forge a better, brighter future for all our peoples.

And that is what I want to focus on today. For we are moving through a new and critical period in the history of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union.

The British people have decided to leave the EU; and to be a global, free-trading nation, able to chart our own way in the world.

For many, this is an exciting time, full of promise; for others it is a worrying one.

I look ahead with optimism, believing that if we use this moment to change not just our relationship with Europe, but also the way we do things at home, this will be a defining moment in the history of our nation.

And it is an exciting time for many in Europe too. The European Union is beginning a new chapter in the story of its development. Just last week, President Juncker set out his ambitions for the future of the European Union.

There is a vibrant debate going on about the shape of the EU’s institutions and the direction of the Union in the years ahead. We don’t want to stand in the way of that.

Indeed, we want to be your strongest friend and partner as the EU, and the UK thrive side by side.  Full speech here

21/09/2017

BREXIT: Ireland must not pay the price for Brexit, says Guy Verhofstadt

Guy VERHOFSTADT speech to Members of the Houses of Oireachtas – 21/09/2017

“Ireland is crucial to the Union”, said European Parliament coordinator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt on a fact-finding mission to Belfast, the border area and Dublin.

Mr Verhofstadt  (ALDE, BE) underlined on Thursday that the Irish border issue is one of the EU’s three key priorities for the Brexit negotiations, as stated in a European Parliament resolution voted on 5 April 2017.

“The Irish border and all related issues are a priority in the negotiations (…). Ireland must not pay the price for Brexit. (…)  Ireland must not be used as a bargaining chip in the negotiations, and nor must any other member. The Irish position is the European position. The European position is the Irish position”, he told a joint meeting of Houses of the Oireachtas joint committees on European Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence and the Joint Committee in relation to negotiations under Art.50 of the Treaty of the European Union.

Mr Verhofstadt said that there can be no return to hard borders in Europe and certainly not to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Borders, it seems to me, are best when they are just lines on maps. And reducing borders to lines on maps is in many ways what the European Union is all about. And this is certainly the case for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. This border created chaos, hate and violence. So to reduce this to a line on a map was a crucial achievement”, he said.

Over the last two days, Mr Verhofstadt has met political leaders in Northern Ireland, before visiting the Border area and meeting farming organisations, business and transport representatives and the community-based organisation, Border Communities against Brexit. In the Republic of Ireland, after meeting the Taoiseach, he spoke to Members of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

21/09/2017

BREXIT:  Speech by Michel Barnier in front of the Committees of Foreign Affairs and the Committees of European Affairs of the Italian Parliament

Presidents,

Members of Parliament,

I am happy to be here to give you an update on the ongoing negotiations.

At midnight on 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union and will become a third country. This is the UK’s sovereign decision. It must be respected.

The question facing us over the coming months is serious, but simple: will the United Kingdom leave in an orderly fashion with an agreement, or not?

From our side, I repeat once again that an agreement is the best outcome. It is in our common interest.

But if we want a deal, time is of the essence. The Treaty on European Union foresees a period of two years to negotiate withdrawal.

  • 6 months have gone by since Theresa May’s letter on 29 March 2017.
  • 6 months will be necessary to allow for ratification before 29 March 2019.

There is therefore only one year left:

  • To swiftly reach an agreement on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal and to provide certainty where Brexit has created uncertainty: for citizens, for beneficiaries of EU programmes, for the new borders, particularly in Ireland.
  • To subsequently define the length and precise conditions of a short transition period, if the British government requests one.
  • To begin scoping our future relationship, in parallel to the finalisation of the withdrawal agreement.

The sooner we make real “sufficient progress” on the conditions of the UK’s withdrawal, the sooner we can begin discussing our future partnership.

This was the approach set out unanimously by the European Council on 29 April in its guidelines. Above all, this approach is an essential condition for the success of these negotiations.

  • Putting things in the right order is the best way to deal with the uncertainty created by Brexit, and the best way to create the necessary trust between us for our ambitious future relationship.
  • If we didn’t do this, and allowed the uncertainty to continue, and pushed these difficult subjects to the end of the negotiations, then we would run the risk of failure in the absence of trust between us.

Read speech in full here

19/09/2017

BREXIT:  European Parliament Brexit coordinator to visit Northern Ireland and Ireland

In a fact-finding mission to Belfast, the border area and Dublin, EP coordinator for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt will meet with political leaders.

Mr Verhofstadt will meet with political leaders in Northern Ireland. In Republic of Ireland, after meeting with the Taoiseach, the Prime Minister of Ireland, he will speak to Members of the Houses of Oireachtas. The Irish border is one of the EU’s three priorities for the Brexit negotiations, as mentioned in EP’s resolution adopted on 5 April.

On Wednesday 20/09, he will meet with Northern Ireland’s political parties’ leaders and the Speaker of the Assembly, before visiting the Border area and meeting with community-based organisation, Border Communities against Brexit.

The EP Brexit Steering Group’s Chair will be received by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday morning. He will conclude his visit by participating in a joint meeting of Houses of the Oireachtas’ Joint Committees on European Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence and the Joint Committee in relation to negotiations under Art.50 of the Treaty of the European Union.

 

18/09/2017

BREXIT:  Britain seeks comprehensive security and law enforcement partnership with EU after Brexit

Latest future partnership paper stresses the need to build upon and enhance existing internal security cooperation

Britain will look to agree a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership with the EU after Brexit, to fight our shared threats from terrorism and organised crime, the UK Government said today.

In the latest future partnership paper, laying out the UK’s vision for a deep and special partnership with the EU, Britain stresses the need to build upon and enhance the internal security cooperation that already exists.

Leaving the EU will change the nature of that cooperation, but it will do little to change the threats we all face or reduce the value of the UK as a security partner.

That is why it is in both our interests to continue to work together as part of a deep and special partnership, to develop a new framework for preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting criminal and terrorist activity across our borders.

The paper calls for a comprehensive model for cooperation between the UK and EU on security, law enforcement and criminal justice — reflecting that Britain’s operational processes and data sharing systems are already uniquely aligned with the EU.

Our three core objectives for these new arrangements are:

  • Protecting the safety and security of our citizens and upholding justice in the UK and across the EU;
  • Maintaining the closest and most cooperative partnerships between Britain and the 27 EU member states; and
  • Continuing to cooperate on the basis of our shared democratic values and respect for the rule of law.

Read the future partnership paper on Security, law enforcement and criminal justice

MORE INFORMATION

The UK has been one of the leading contributors to the development of effective information sharing and law enforcement cooperation at an EU level – working through agencies such as Europol to bring criminals to justice and prevent crime taking place.

Britain will remain committed to the security of the European continent after Brexit, and our determination to protect the safety and security of EU citizens as well as UK citizens will not diminish.

The EU also recognises the importance of cooperation in this area and has stated it is committed to the fight against terrorism and international crime.

The paper says there should be a new security treaty between the UK and EU after Brexit to provide a legal basis for continued working — and in moving to any new agreement, it will be important to ensure that there are no operational gaps created by the transition from one set of arrangements to another.

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said:

With the shared threats facing us evolving faster than ever before, It’s vital that the UK and EU maintain and strengthen the close security collaboration we currently have.

Together with the EU we have developed some of the world’s most sophisticated systems in the fight against crime — because cross-border cooperation is absolutely crucial if we’re to keep our citizens safe and bring criminals to justice.

That is why we want to build a new partnership with the EU that goes beyond any existing relationship it has with non-member states, so we can continue countering these cross-border threats together.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

The recent terror attacks in London, Manchester and across other parts Europe have been stark reminders of the shared and evolving threat the UK and our EU partners face.

That is why it is crucial — for the security of the UK and the continent — that we continue and enhance our cooperation after we leave the EU.

This position paper is the first step towards reaching an agreement to ensure we continue to protect millions of people across Europe.

18/09/2017

BREXIT:  Britain seeks comprehensive security and law enforcement partnership with EU after Brexit

Latest future partnership paper stresses the need to build upon and enhance existing internal security cooperation

Britain will look to agree a comprehensive new security, law enforcement and criminal justice partnership with the EU after Brexit, to fight our shared threats from terrorism and organised crime, the UK Government said today.

In the latest future partnership paper, laying out the UK’s vision for a deep and special partnership with the EU, Britain stresses the need to build upon and enhance the internal security cooperation that already exists.

Leaving the EU will change the nature of that cooperation, but it will do little to change the threats we all face or reduce the value of the UK as a security partner.

That is why it is in both our interests to continue to work together as part of a deep and special partnership, to develop a new framework for preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting criminal and terrorist activity across our borders.

The paper calls for a comprehensive model for cooperation between the UK and EU on security, law enforcement and criminal justice — reflecting that Britain’s operational processes and data sharing systems are already uniquely aligned with the EU.

Our three core objectives for these new arrangements are:

  • Protecting the safety and security of our citizens and upholding justice in the UK and across the EU;
  • Maintaining the closest and most cooperative partnerships between Britain and the 27 EU member states; and
  • Continuing to cooperate on the basis of our shared democratic values and respect for the rule of law.

Read the future partnership paper on Security, law enforcement and criminal justice

MORE INFORMATION

The UK has been one of the leading contributors to the development of effective information sharing and law enforcement cooperation at an EU level – working through agencies such as Europol to bring criminals to justice and prevent crime taking place.

Britain will remain committed to the security of the European continent after Brexit, and our determination to protect the safety and security of EU citizens as well as UK citizens will not diminish.

The EU also recognises the importance of cooperation in this area and has stated it is committed to the fight against terrorism and international crime.

The paper says there should be a new security treaty between the UK and EU after Brexit to provide a legal basis for continued working — and in moving to any new agreement, it will be important to ensure that there are no operational gaps created by the transition from one set of arrangements to another.

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said:

With the shared threats facing us evolving faster than ever before, It’s vital that the UK and EU maintain and strengthen the close security collaboration we currently have.

Together with the EU we have developed some of the world’s most sophisticated systems in the fight against crime — because cross-border cooperation is absolutely crucial if we’re to keep our citizens safe and bring criminals to justice.

That is why we want to build a new partnership with the EU that goes beyond any existing relationship it has with non-member states, so we can continue countering these cross-border threats together.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

The recent terror attacks in London, Manchester and across other parts Europe have been stark reminders of the shared and evolving threat the UK and our EU partners face.

That is why it is crucial — for the security of the UK and the continent — that we continue and enhance our cooperation after we leave the EU.

This position paper is the first step towards reaching an agreement to ensure we continue to protect millions of people across Europe.

15/09/2017

BREXIT:  IFA MEETS MINISTER CREED ON BEEF, BREXIT AND BUDGET

An IFA livestock delegation led by the President Joe Healy met this week with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed in Dublin to highlight the severe income and price pressure on cattle farmers.

The delegation stressed the need for a strong Government response across a range of issues, including a Budget with a strong focus on beef.

Joe Healy said the Government has signalled that the Budget will be focused on dealing with the fallout from Brexit. He said “No sector has been hit harder by Brexit than cattle farmers who are losing €2m per week because of the sterling weakness. This must be addressed in the Budget.”

IFA has called for a €50 per head suckler cow payment bolt-on to the BDGP for animal welfare, as well as EU support for ongoing Brexit losses at farm level.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said Minister Creed agreed with the IFA position that there needs to be EU support for the Brexit losses at farm level. The Minister confirmed that he is seeking support at EU level to advance the case.

Angus Woods said Minister Creed reaffirmed his commitment to have AOs (Agricultural Officers) monitor trim and classification on a daily basis in the factories. He said IFA told the Minister that farmers are very frustrated over the delays in implementing this essential measure.

Angus Woods said IFA raised the need to increase the 30-month age limit. He said there was no longer justification for the 30-month rule and it was impacting farmers’ ability to sell harder. He said the Minister should resist this condition being applied in any veterinary certs or retail specifications.

The IFA Livestock Leader said Minister Creed accepted that there needs to be more transparency and competition in the beef sector. He said a strong live export trade is essential for the livestock sector. “Minister Creed made it clear he is very committed to supporting the live trade and every market opportunity will be fully pursued.” Support for Producer Organisations and how they can be advanced was also discussed at the meeting.

 IFA Brussels

15/09/2017

Brexit negotiations – Progress todate: European Parliament Think Tank

Since their official launch in June 2017, three rounds of negotiations on the United Kingdom’s (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU) have been held. So far, the EU and UK have discussed the priority issues of citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border, but disagreements and ambiguities persist. After the third round, ‘no decisive progress’ was reached, according to Michel Barnier, the EU chief negotiator, which is likely to impede any advance to the second phase of talks in October, on transitional arrangements and the future EU-UK partnership, including trade relations. Read all about the Progress todate

12/09/2017

BREXIT:  UK GOVERNMENT

Foreign policy, defence and development: a future partnership paper

From:   Department for Exiting the European Union

Part of: Article 50 and negotiations with the EU and Brexit

Read the document here

 IFA Brussels

12/09/2017

BREXIT:  Constitutional Relationship of the United Kingdom with the European Union

At each meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs there is an exchange of views on the constitutional relationship of the United Kingdom with the European Union: the consequences of the results of the referendum of 23 June 2016. During these exchange of views, the AFCO committee hears from various experts and policy makers.

Documents published by the European Parliament relevant to AFCO’s work on Brexit can be found here

08/09/2017

BREXIT: IFA DEMANDS URGENT ACTION FROM MINISTER CREED AS BREXIT CRISIS HITS

IFA President Joe Healy said there is rising anger among cattle farmers over the severe beef price cuts.

He said, “Farmers are being thrown overboard on cattle prices and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed is allowing a combination of the Brexit exchange rate crisis and opportunism by the factories to push all the price cuts down on top of farmers”.

Joe Healy said IFA will meet Minister Creed next week. Farmers will be expecting urgent action from him to halt the factory price slide and restore some confidence to the trade as we head into the peak autumn kill.

As part of IFA’s campaign, County Chairmen, Livestock Representatives along with feeders will be meeting with factory management at local level around the country to highlight the anger at the price cuts and demand that confidence be restored in the trade.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said based on the sterling depreciation, Irish beef farmers are losing close to €2m per week. Since April, the UK beef market is up 7%. As our most important market, this should be good news. The problem is that sterling is down 8% in the same time period. When the UK election was called, Sterling was at 85p:€1. It had been at, or close to that level, in previous months. Today it’s 92p:€1. The impact on the price of beef is about 15c/kg.

IFA will be demanding delivery from Minister Creed on the following issues to alleviate the income crisis at livestock farm level. The Minister must:

  • Call in the factories and insist that they stop the price cuts and restore confidence to the livestock trade;
  • Demand that the CAP Crisis Reserve fund and Market Support measures be used to provide direct support to farmers in response to the Brexit exchange rate crisis;
  • In Budget 2018, secure additional support for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme of €25m for a bolt on welfare element worth €50 per suckler cow;
  • Secure increased funding support to increase payments for the Areas of Natural Constraint to €230m;
  • Deliver low-cost loans, available to all sectors of farming, including the mushroom sector.
  • Ensure that there is competition in the beef trade through a combination of a strong live export trade and demand that the CCPC insist on a properly functioning market;
  • Prioritise the live export trade and secure further live export contracts for the autumn to Turkey and other markets;
  • Demand that beef be excluded from any EU market access offer on Mercosur; and
  • Honour the commitment made to appoint AOs (Agricultural Officers) to monitor carcase trim, classification and weights at meat plants on a daily basis.

 

07/09/2017

Brexit: European Commission publishes guiding principles on Ireland and Northern Ireland

The European Commission has today set out its principles for the political dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Brexit negotiations.

Today’s paper states that the Good Friday Agreement should continue to be protected and strengthened in all its parts after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The continuation of the Common Travel Area, which facilitates the interaction of people in Ireland and the UK, should also be recognised.

Key issues include ensuring that: the interlocking political institutions on the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, established by the Good Friday Agreement, continue to operate; cooperation (in particular, North-South cooperation between Ireland and Northern Ireland) is protected across all the relevant sectors; and that full account be taken of the birth right of the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves as British or Irish, or both. Given Ireland’s unique situation in the Brexit negotiations, a unique solution is required.

In the first phase of the Brexit negotiations, the EU wishes to reach a common understanding with the UK on the implications of its withdrawal for the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area. Once there is sufficient progress on the principles set out in today’s paper, discussions may move to the second phase of negotiations, which aim to find flexible and imaginative solutions to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. These solutions must respect the proper functioning of the internal market and the Customs Union, as well the integrity and effectiveness of the EU’s legal order. As it was the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it is the UK’s responsibility to propose solutions in this regard.

Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator said, “Today’s paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland is a concise and comprehensive text, which has been drafted in close cooperation with the Irish government. Our aim is to minimise the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU for the island of Ireland. But as it was the UK’s decision to leave the EU, it is the UK’s responsibility to come forward with solutions to overcome the challenges for the island of Ireland.”

Today’s paper builds on the European Council guidelines, agreed by the 27 Heads of State or Government on 29 April 2017, and the Council’s negotiating directives of 22 May 2017 – both texts acknowledging the “unique circumstances on the island of Ireland” and the need to find “flexible and imaginative solutions”, which respect the integrity of the European Union’s legal order. The European Parliament Resolution of April 2017 also recognises the unique position and special circumstances of the island of Ireland.

Background

On 20 April 2017, the European Council adopted a set of political guidelines, part of which state that:

“The Union has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, and continuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits and commitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramount importance. In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order. In this context, the Union should also recognise existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom and Ireland which are compatible with EU law.”

On 19 June 2017, the EU and UK negotiators agreed to establish a political dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland. The aim of this dialogue is to reach a political agreement with the UK in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts – of which the UK is a co-guarantor under international law – as well as preserving the Common Travel Area, which predates Ireland and the UK’s membership of the EU.

The negotiations will, at all times, be conducted in light of the European Council guidelines and in line with the Council’s negotiating directives and with due regard to the European Parliament’s resolution of 5 April 2017.  Read Press Release in full here

More Information

Text of the Guiding Principles for the Dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland

Information on the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area

07/09/2017

Excerpts from Statement by Michel Barnier on the publication of the Guiding Principles for the Dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland (statement in full here)

 

Good afternoon to all of you,

I am happy to see you again after only one week. I hope it is not too much for you.

I attach great importance to the sincerity and quality of our dialogue with the Member States, of which I am also the negotiator, and with the European Parliament. And so these few hours, barely a day that we need to inform them is extremely important.

For the rest, I am familiar with what is usually happens in the European institutions about these leaks, and that is why I have clearly wanted to practice transparency since the beginning of my mission, which I have said from  the beginning. I prefer transparency to leaks, so that you and I are on an equal footing.

 

Let me come back to the point of this press conference.

Today, we published our guiding principles for the dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

We also published four papers on issues that will need to be part of the withdrawal agreement.

IRELAND

Let me first focus on Ireland.

The European Council and the European Parliament have recognised the unique situation and the specific circumstances on the island of Ireland.

I see this specific situation as a special responsibility.

  • First, the responsibility to preserve the peace process and the gains of the Good Friday Agreement, in all its parts.
  • Secondly, the responsibility to maintain the Common Travel Area.
  • Thirdly, the responsibility to avoid the return of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

We need first to agree on political principles. Discussing technical solutions would be premature in the political context of Northern Ireland.

We are working hand in hand with the Irish government. And I want to thank the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, and their teams in Dublin and also in Brussels, for their commitment.

I also want to thank the other Member States and the European Parliament for their full support. We have seen in these negotiations that Ireland’s interest is the 27’s interest – and vice versa.

The UK said that it is ready to ensure that the Common Travel Area can continue to operate while respecting Ireland’s obligations as an EU Member State, including in relation to free movement.

On the Good Friday Agreement, the UK, as co-guarantor, will also need to put solutions forward.

In particular:

  • The interlocking political institutions created by the Good Friday Agreement will need to continue operating effectively.
  • We need to avoid the return of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland while respecting Ireland’s place in the Single Market.
  • North-South cooperation will need to be preserved in all policy areas.
  • Irish citizens residing in Northern Ireland must continue to enjoy their rights as EU citizens. It is the birth right of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish, or British, or both.
  • The European Union will honour its financial commitments in favour of programmes supporting the peace process such as PEACE and INTERREG. We expect the UK to do the same as part of its financial settlement.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we are not there yet.

The solution for the border issue will need to be unique. It cannot preconfigure the future relationship between the European Union and the UK. It will require both sides to be flexible and creative.

What I see in the UK’s paper on Ireland and Northern Ireland worries me.

The UK wants the EU to suspend the application of its laws, its Customs Union, and its Single Market at what will be a new external border of the EU.

And the UK wants to use Ireland as a kind of test case for the future EU-UK customs relations.

This will not happen.

Creativity and flexibility cannot be at the expense of the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union.

This would not be fair for Ireland and it would not be fair for the European Union.

Ladies and gentlemen, On Ireland as well as on citizens’ rights and the Financial Regulation, we need sufficient progress to make progress.You see in our paper today what our definition of “sufficient progress” is, what political progress we have to make in relation to Ireland.Once this step is over, we will draft with the United Kingdom the Treaty organizing its orderly withdrawal.This Treaty, under Article 50, must of course be precise. It must create legal certainty on all the subjects where the Brexit has created and creates uncertainty, on our three priority subjects, but also on technical subjects that the negotiations must clarify in the coming months.To achieve this security and legal precision, we are today publishing four papers presenting our positions on intellectual property rights, customs, data protection exchanged before withdrawal and public procurement.In total, since June 14 we have published 14 papers which cover the subjects of the orderly withdrawal from the United Kingdom..And I want to say that it is positive, from my point of view, that the UK is also publishing new positions, including in the days ahead. We will study these papers carefully by working on what is the orderly withdrawal and keeping for later what concerns the future relationship.What matters to us is that these papers are sufficiently precise to move forward concretely.Ladies and gentlemen, The sooner we see sufficient progress, real progress, the sooner we start discussing at the same time a possible transition period, if requested by the United Kingdom, and our future relationship which will require a second treaty.Through this second treaty, we want an ambitious agreement with the United Kingdom, not only for trade but also for our necessary cooperation in security, counter-terrorism and defense.This second treaty must be founded and built on a balance of rights and obligations, as is the case with each of the agreements we have already concluded with third countries.I am thinking, for example, of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which have chosen to be part of the single market, to accept its rules and to contribute financially to European cohesion.I am also thinking of Canada, with whom we have just negotiated a very ambitious free trade agreement, AACC. Canada is not part of the domestic market. It does not have the opportunities or the obligations.It is well understood that it is not possible and will not be possible for a third State to have at the same time the benefits of the Norwegian model and the weak constraints of the Canadian model.And it is in the light of these principles that the United Kingdom knows well since it has been applying them for 44 years, which we look forward to and that we will study with objectivity and I promise you constructively the next proposals of the British government that we need to make progress.

Thank you

 

04/09/2017

Brexit: David Davis spoke to the House about the July and August negotiating round

Mr Speaker, I will now update the House on the two rounds of negotiations with the EU which took place in July and August.

While at times these negotiations have been tough, it is clear that we have made concrete progress on many important issues.

I would like thank all our officials who have been working hard both at home, as well as out in Brussels, to make this happen.

Colleagues will have received my letter following the July negotiating round dated 9 August. I set out the dynamics of that round in some detail.

These rounds were not at this stage about establishing jointly agreed legal text. They were about reaching a detailed understanding of each other’s position, understanding where there might be room for compromise and beginning to drill down into technical detail on a number of issues.

During both rounds discussions took place on all four areas including the specific issues relating to the rights of citizens on both sides, Northern Ireland and Ireland, the question of a financial settlement and a number of technical separation issues.

I will speak briefly about each in turn.

WHAT DAVID DAVIS SAID TO THE HOUSE OF LORDS ON IRELAND / NORTHERN IRELAND

Citizens’ rights

Making progress on citizens’ rights has been an area of focus for both negotiation rounds and we took significant steps forward in both July and August.

We have published a joint technical paper which sets out our respective positions in more detail, updated following the August round. This underlines both the significant alignment between our positions and also provides clarity on areas where we have not as yet reached agreement.

In July we achieved a high degree of convergence on:

  • The scope of our proposals on residence and social security;
  • The eligibility criteria for those who will benefit from residence rights under the scope of the withdrawal agreement;
  • A shared commitment to make the citizens’ rights application process as efficient and streamlined as possible.

In August we agreed:

  • To protect the rights of frontier workers;
  • To cover future social security contributions for those citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement;
  • To maintain the right of British citizens in the EU27 to set up and manage a business within their Member State of residence, and visa versa; and
  • That we should at least protect existing healthcare rights and arrangements for EU27 citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. These are the European Health Insurance or ‘EHIC’ arrangements.

These areas of agreement are good news. They may sound technical but they matter enormously to individuals.

The agreement on health care rights, for example, will mean that British pensioners living in the EU will continue to have their health care arrangements protected, both where they live and when they travel to another Member State, where they will still be able to use an EHIC card.

On mutual recognition of qualifications, we have made progress in protecting the recognition of qualifications for British citizens resident in the EU27 and EU27 citizens resident in the UK. In fact, each one of these areas of agreement is reciprocal, they will work for Brits in the EU and the EU27 in the UK.

These areas of agreement help provide certainty and clarity for EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU27. They will make a tangible difference to these people’s lives. I hope everyone recognises the importance of that.

The outcomes of these discussions demonstrate that we have delivered on our commitment to put citizens first and to give them as much certainty as early as possible in this process.

Of course, there remain areas of difference which we continue to work on.

For example, we will need to have further discussions on the specified cut-off date, future family reunion and the broader issue of compliance on enforcement. Progress on these areas will require flexibility and pragmatism from both sides.

During the Summer negotiating rounds a number of issues emerged in the EU offer that will need further consideration.

For example, the EU does not plan to maintain the existing voting rights for UK nationals living in the EU. We have made it clear that we will protect the rights of EU nationals living in the UK to stand and vote in municipal elections.

Similarly, the EU proposals would not allow UK citizens currently resident in the EU to retain their rights if they move within the EU.

Even in areas where there has been progress, more is needed. While the EU has agreed to recognise the qualifications of UK citizens resident in the EU, and vice versa, we believe this should go much further.

This recognition must extend to students who are currently studying for a qualification, it must apply to onward movement by UK citizens in the EU and it should extend more broadly to protect the livelihoods of thousands of people which depend on qualifications which will be gained before we exit the EU.

In these areas the EU’s proposals fall short of ensuring UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK can continue to live their lives broadly as they do now.

Separation issues

On separation issues, a very technical area, we have established a number of sub-groups. They made progress in a number of specific areas, and drew on papers the UK published ahead of both rounds.

I am pleased to say that we are close to agreement on our approach to post-exit privileges and immunities – on which we have published a position paper – which will benefit both the UK and EU to maintain after we leave.

We have agreed on our mutual approach to confidentiality requirements on shared information post-exit.

With respect to nuclear materials and safeguards, we held discussions on the need to resolve issues around the ownership of special fissile material and the responsibility for radioactive waste and spent fuel held both here and there.

We reiterated a strong mutual interest in ensuring that the UK and Euratom Community continue to work closely together in the future as part of comprehensive new partnership.

With respect to legal cases pending before the Court of Justice, the ECJ, the parties discussed and made progress on the cut-off points for cases being defined as ‘pending’. There was also progress in discussions concerning the UK’s role before the Court whilst these pending cases are being heard.

With respect to judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters, and ongoing judicial cooperation in criminal matters, we made good progress on the principles of approach and the joint aim of providing legal certainty and avoiding unnecessary disruption to courts, businesses and families.

With respect to goods on the market, both parties reiterated the importance of providing legal certainty to businesses and consumers across the EU and UK at the point of departure.

In this area, in particular, we emphasised that the broader principles outlined in the UK’s position paper seek to minimise the type of uncertainty and disruption for business which we are all working to avoid.

We remain committed to making as much progress as possible on those issues which are solely related to our withdrawal, but our discussions this week have exposed yet again that the UK’s approach is substantially more flexible and pragmatic than that of the EU as it avoids unnecessary disruption for British business and consumers.

I have urged the EU to be more imaginative and flexible in their approach to withdrawal on this point.

Ireland/Northern Ireland

On Northern Ireland and Ireland, I’m pleased to report there has been significant, concrete progress in this vital area. The negotiation Coordinators explored a number of issues, including both the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area. In August, the group also had detailed discussions on the basis of the UK position paper.

As both Michel Barnier and I said at last week’s press conference, there is a high degree of convergence on those key issues, and we agreed to work up shared principles on the Common Travel Area.

We also agreed to carry out further technical work on cross-border co-operation under the Belfast Agreement.

Of course, as I have said all along, the key issues in relation to cross-border economic co-operation and energy will need to form an integral part of discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

Financial settlement

Finally on the financial settlement.

We have been clear that the UK and the EU will have financial obligations to each other that will survive our exit from the EU.

In July the Commission set out the European Union position. We have a duty to our taxpayers to interrogate that position rigorously. That is what we did, line by line.

At the August round we set out our analysis of the EU’s position. We also had in-depth discussions on the European Investment Bank and other off-budget issues.

It is clear that the two sides have very different legal stances. But as we said in the Article 50 letter, the settlement should be in accordance with law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU.

Michel Barnier and I agreed that we do not anticipate making incremental progress on the final shape of a financial deal in every round.

Generally we should not underestimate the usefulness of the process so far. But it is also clear that there are still significant differences to be bridged in this sector.

Governance and dispute resolution

Initial discussions were also held on governance and dispute resolution.

These provided an opportunity to build a better, shared understanding of the need for a reliable means of enforcing the Withdrawal Agreement and resolving any disputes that might arise under it.

The future partnership

Alongside the negotiations, we have also published a number of papers which set out our thinking regarding our future special partnership with the EU.

These future partnership papers are different from our papers that set out our position for the negotiations under our withdrawal agreement.

Our future partnership papers are part of a concerted effort to pragmatically drive the progress we all want to see.

All along, we have argued that talks around our withdrawal cannot be treated in isolation from the future partnership that we want.

We can only resolve some of these issues with an eye on how the new partnership will work in the future.

For example, on Northern Ireland it would be helpful to our shared objectives on avoiding a hard border to be able to begin discussions on how future customs arrangements will work.

Furthermore, if we agree the comprehensive free trade agreement we are seeking as part of our future partnership, solutions in Northern Ireland are of course then easier to deliver.

A second example is on financial matters.

As I have said, the days of making vast yearly contributions to the EU budget will end when we leave.

But there may be programmes that the UK wants to consider participating in as part of the new partnership that we seek.

Naturally we need to work out which of those we want to pursue. We need to discuss them as part of talks both on our withdrawal from the EU and our future as their long-standing friend and closest neighbour.

A third example is on wider separation issues.

While we are happy to negotiate and make progress on the separation issues, it is our long-term aim that ultimately many of these arrangements will not be necessary.

With the clock ticking Mr Barnier, it would not be in either of our interests to run aspects of the negotiations twice.

Last week, as we turned our heads to the next round of talks, my message to the Commission was: Let us continue to work together constructively to put people above process.

To that end my team will publish further papers in the coming weeks – continuing to set out our ambition for these negotiations, and a new deep and special partnership the UK wants to build with the EU.

Ultimately, businesses and citizens on both sides want us to move swiftly on to discussing the future partnership, and we want that to happen after the European Council in October if possible.

As colleagues know, at the start of these negotiations, both sides agreed that the aim was to make progress on four key areas: citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and broader separation issues.

We have been doing just that.

No one has ever pretended this will be simple or easy. I have always said this negotiation will be tough, complex and, at times, confrontational.

So it has proved.

But we must not lose sight of our overarching aim — to build a deep and special new partnership with our closest neighbours and allies, whilst also building a truly global Britain that can forge new relationships with the fastest growing economies around the world.

04/09/2017

Brexit: MEPs worried about UK position on British “divorce bill” | News | European Parliament

Parliament’s chief Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) told MEPs that limited progress has been made after the first three rounds of Brexit talks, in particular concerning the UK’s financial commitments to the EU, during a debate with the Constitutional Affairs Committee on Monday. He expressed concern over the UK’s attempts to question the “exit bill” and highlighted the importance of living up to previous economic commitments.

Citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland

Mr. Verhofstadt also acknowledged some positive developments in the field of safeguarding citizens’ rights, for instance on health care, social security coordination and frontier workers, but stressed that the British government’s offer to provide EU citizens in the country with a “settled status” is not acceptable, since it would cause a tremendous administrative burden for a lot of people. This proposal means, among other things, that all EU nationals lawfully resident in the UK for at least five years will be able to individually apply to stay.

Later on in the debate, he called for more clarity on the future of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, underlining the absolute need to avoid the current open arrangement being restricted.

Watch the video recording of the debate

 

Next Steps

Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group is expected to publish a comparative document containing the EU versus the UK position on citizens’ rights on Tuesday 5 September.

Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP President and political groups’ leaders) will soon start drafting a resolution to assess the state of play of ongoing talks between EU and UK government officials. This resolution is expected to be voted by EP Plenary in October in Strasbourg.

 

31/08/2017

BREXIT: Excerpt from Speech by Michel Barnier at the press conference following the third round of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

 

Greetings to each and every one of you,

David Davis and I, along with our teams, have just completed this third round of negotiations. Teams that I personally want to thank, on both sides, for their commitment and competence.

 

Monday, welcoming David, I said “I am concerned,”.

Time is passing and every passing day brings us closer to the UK’s departure date from the European Union on 29 March 2019 at midnight.

The fundamental question which we must answer is whether on that day, midnight on 29 March 2019, we will have organized the orderly withdrawal or if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement , with all the consequences we have already explained.

 

On our side, in our common interest, we believe that an agreement is the best way out.

Ladies and gentlemen, This week we have provided useful clarifications on many issues, such as the status of cross-border workers, the aggregation or aggregation of social security rights and the procedures currently under way in the Court of Justice, three. But we have not made any decisive progress on the main subjects, although I wish to say that the discussion we have had on Ireland has been fruitful. On this subject, which I continue to follow personally, and indeed all the others, we have made real progress on the issue of the Common Travel Area on the basis of the guarantees given by the United Kingdom and we have clarified the work Which remains to be done, in a constructive way, notably on North-South cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement.

 

But, I repeat, time is running short to achieve, as we wish, a global agreement.At the current rate, we are far from seeing sufficient progress to be able to recommend to the European Council that we begin the discussion on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union at the same time as we will finalize throughout the year 2018 the withdrawal agreement.That is our side of the third round.I would like, since I have the opportunity to speak to you today, to recall three points on the general framework of this negotiation which must be well understood and sometimes better understood.This negotiation is unusual and unprecedented.It is particularly true for the European Commission, which, with all the expertise of its services, I am indebted to, under the authority of President Juncker, within the framework of a mandate which was set from the outset, First day by the 27 Heads of State and Government meeting in the European Council under the chairmanship of Donald Tusk.

And of course, we work with the total confidence of  the European Parliament, its President Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament, which voted by a very large majority by voting a resolution. I recommend that no one underestimate this role of the European Parliament. It is this mandate, adopted unanimously by the 27 heads of state and government that I implement scrupulously. This mandate is clear and precise: • It organizes sequencing. He simply asks us to put things in order to succeed.• It clearly mentions the conditions for a transitional period if requested by the United Kingdom.• And he asks us to organize this orderly withdrawal taking into account a future relationship, which I myself called the “new partnership”, the new partnership. Those who would look for the slightest difference between what this European negotiating team is doing and what the 27 Member States want are wasting their time.

***

Secondly, as stipulated precisely in the Guidelines of the European Council, protecting the EU legal order and protecting the integrity of the Single Market are core principles of my mandate.

The UK decided to leave the European Union.

The UK government decided to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union.

We respect this sovereign decision.

But one thing is clear: The Single Market, the EU capacity to regulate, to supervise, to enforce our laws, must not and will not be undermined by Brexit.

The UK strongly contributed to the development of our single market which is the foundation of the EU. It understands well, very well, how it works.

The European Council guidelines state that the Union will preserve its autonomy of decision-making.

The UK wants to take back control, it wants to adopt its own standards and regulations.

But it also wants to have these standards recognised automatically in the EU. That is what UK papers ask for.

This is simply impossible. You cannot be outside the Single Market and shape its legal order.

Thirdly, the first phase of this negotiation is about creating trust.

Let me take two examples where we still need to build trust.

 

On citizens’ rights

We have clarified a few points this week, but we need to go further to reassure citizens.

Over the summer, around one hundred EU and EEA citizens living lawfully in the UK received deportation letters.

The UK government quickly recognised that this was a mistake.

But this is not the first time that something like this has happened.

It reinforces the need to ensure that citizens’ rights are directly enforceable in front of national jurisdictions, under the control of the European Court of justice, a point on which we disagree today.

 

On the financial settlement

EU taxpayers should not pay at 27 for the obligations undertaken at 28. This would not be fair.

In July, the UK recognised that it has obligations beyond the Brexit date.

But this week the UK explained that these obligations will be limited to their last payment to the EU budget before departure.

Yet we have joint obligations towards third countries. For example:

  • We have guaranteed long-term loans to Ukraine, together.
  • We jointly support development in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific countries through the European Development Fund.

After this week, it is clear that the UK does not feel legally obliged to honour these obligations after departure.

We have also jointly committed to support innovative enterprises and green infrastructure in European regions until 2020. These are not recognised by the UK as legal obligations.

With such uncertainty, how can we build trust and start discussing a future relationship?

We need to address together these issues seriously and rigorously.

 

Read SPEECH/17/3043 in full here

 

28/08/2017

BREXIT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

European Parliament Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) discussed the Brexit negotiations with Employment Committee members on Wednesday afternoon.

The debate focused on Parliament’s priority: ensuring the rights of EU citizens in the UK, as well as of UK citizens in the EU. Specific issues, such as family reunification, social contributions recognition, mutual recognition of qualifications and frontier workers were addressed.

Mr Verhofstadt pointed out that the Parliament should adopt a resolution in October assessing the progress of the negotiations, emphasizing the need to protect citizens’ rights and a stand against a “hard border” between Ireland and the UK, which would be against the “Good Friday Agreement”.

Members joining the debate mostly reaffirmed the Parliament’s position and expressed their support to the Brexit Steering Group of the EP, which is chaired by Mr Verhofstadt.

Video Recordings of individual interventions by Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt and political groups’ speakers are available here

28/08/2017

BREXIT UK GOVERNMENT

David Davis’ opening remarks at the start of the third round of EU exit negotiations

Good afternoon,

I’m pleased to be back in Brussels, for the third round of negotiations.

We’ve had a busy few weeks. Since the last round of talks, the UK Government has published a large number of papers covering important issues related to our withdrawal, and our vision for the deep and special partnership we want with the European Union in the future.

They are products of the hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes, not just in last few weeks but in the last twelve months, and should form the basis of what I hope will be a constructive week of talks between the European Commission and the United Kingdom.

For the United Kingdom, the week ahead is about driving forward the technical discussions across all the issues.

We want to lock in the points where we agree, unpick the areas where we disagree, and make further progress on the whole range of issues.

But in order to do that, we’ll require flexibility and imagination from both sides – something I think the Council has asked for on some subjects.

Our goal remains the same. We want to agree a deal that works in the best interests of both the European Union and the United Kingdom, and people and businesses right across Europe.

And we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get down to work again once more.

Thank you.

25/08/2017

BREXIT UK GOVERNMENT

  • Programme for third round of negotiations with European Commission starting on 28 August

Monday, 28 August 2017

• 17:00: David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, meet at the Berlaymont (VIP corner)

• Principals’ meeting

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

• Negotiating groups

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

• Coordinators’ meetings

• Negotiating groups

Thursday, 31 August 2017

• Closing plenary

• Press briefing

Note: There are three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland and the governance of the withdrawal agreement will be addressed by the Coordinators.

 

08/08/2017

Brexit Legal Implications: Customs Union, Internal Market Acquis for Goods and Services, Consumer Protection Law, Public Procurement – Think Tank

 

Customs Union, Internal Market Acquis for Goods and Services, Consumer Protection Law, Public Procurement

This in-depth analysis addresses the implications of several scenarios of the UK withdrawing from the EU in relation to the EU Customs Union, the Internal Market law for Goods and Services, and on Consumer Protection law, identifying the main cross-cutting challenges that have to be addressed irrespective of the policy choices that will be made in due course. The analysis takes the fully-fledged EU membership as a point of departure and compares this baseline scenario to a membership of the UK in the European Economic Area (EEA), the application of tailor-made arrangements, as well as the fall-back scenario, in which the mutual relationship is governed by WTO law. Following an analysis of the EU legal framework defining the withdrawal of a Member State from the EU the study develops an analytical framework that allows for the identification of the legal impact of different Brexit scenarios on policy fields falling within the ambit of the IMCO Committee. In this context, the general impact of the EEA model, the tailor-made model and the WTO model on key pieces of the currently existing acquis communautaire in these policy areas are highlighted.  Read analysis here


01/08/2017

European Commission starts assessment of Member States’ applications to host the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority

The application procedure to host the two UK-based EU agencies, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA), came to a close at midnight last night, 31 July 2017.

The European Commission will now assess all offers in an objective manner and on the basis of the criteria set out by President Jean-Claude Juncker and President Donald Tusk, and endorsed by the Heads of State or Government of the EU27 at the European Council (Article 50 format) on 22 June 2017. MORE INFORMATION HERE


26/07/2017

Brexit: Statement by Guy Verhofstadt and the EP Brexit Steering Group

The Brexit Steering group met Michel Barnier, EU negotiator for Brexit on Tuesday 25 July and issued this common statement after the 2nd round of negotiations between the EU and the UK.

“Last week was the first real round of Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom.  It was an opportunity for the two parties to review the main issues and map out where further explanations are necessary,” said the Members of the EP Brexit Steering group.

“However, if we want negotiations to succeed within the limited time we have, progress on more detailed content will have to be made sooner rather than later. We can only start talking about a new EU-UK relationship if sufficient progress has been achieved in the three main withdrawal areas: citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the border issue on the island of Ireland.”

“The European Parliament cannot be clear enough that sufficient progress means progress across the board, and not just in one or two areas. The European Parliament will formally and in due time indicate when the point of ‘sufficient progress’ has been reached”

“To be precise, the European Parliament will remain vigilant regarding citizens’ rights and will continue to push for full rights for EU citizens in the UK as well as UK citizens in the EU. It is a core mission of the European project to protect, not to diminish, the fundamental rights of all citizens.”

“The European Parliament specifically seeks to fully safeguard the rights concerning family reunion, comprehensive healthcare, voting rights in local elections, the transferability of (social) rights, and the rules governing permanent residence (including the right to leave the UK without losing this status). Simultaneously, we seek to avoid an administrative burden for citizens and want proposals which are intrusive to people’s privacy off the table, e.g. proposed systematic criminal checks.”

“Last but not least, the European Parliament wants the Withdrawal Agreement to be directly enforceable and to include a mechanism in which the European Court of Justice can play its full role.”

Brexit: Statement by Guy Verhofstadt and the EP Brexit Steering Group | News | European Parliament


20/07/2017

BREXIT: Joint technical note on EU-UK positions on Citizen’s Rights after the seconf round of negotiations


20/07/2017

BREXIT: Speaking points by Michel Barnier at the press conference following the second round of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

Good afternoon to all of you,

Thank for your patience which is a critical virtue for any negotiation.

Ladies and gentlemen, David and I and our teams have just finished a few minutes ago the second round of negotiations.

In our first round in June we agreed on the organisation of the negotiations.

Our second round, which began on Monday, was about the presentation of our respective positions.

Our objective was to start working on substance and also to continue building trust between us.

I said last week that I wanted to identify the points where we agree and the points where we disagree.

This was possible this week for the issues on which there was a clear British position.

On substance, it is first and foremost the issue of citizens’ rights that is a priority shared by the European Union, the 27 Member States, the European Parliament and the United Kingdom.

The detailed British position on this subject allowed us to begin to identify points of convergence and points of divergence.

We are now moving in a common direction.

But there remains a fundamental divergence on how to guarantee these rights, and on several other points, such as the rights of future members of the family or the export of certain social benefits.

Citizens must be able to find in the withdrawal agreement itself the legal certainty they need in their daily lives.

Frankly, on our side, we see no other way to guarantee the durability of these European rights exercised.And of course, any reference to European rights implies its control by the Court of Justice of the European Union.The challenge for the next negotiating session will therefore be to clarify the reasons for these divergences, bearing in mind our common objective that the citizens concerned can continue to live as they do today.On the Financial Regulation now, the United Kingdom had recognized last week the existence of obligations vis-à-vis the Union beyond the date of withdrawal and the need to settle these commitments. As the European Union had already recognized. Obviously, only this recognition makes it possible to engage as soon as possible the work on the precise identification of the obligations to be settled.The position of the European Union, made public on 29 May, is the result of a review of all the commitments which, from our point of view, should be covered by the withdrawal agreement. And this week we have detailed the legal analysis of these commitments.As I said very clearly to David, a clarification of the United Kingdom’s position is essential to negotiate and to achieve “sufficient progress” on this financial file, which is inseparable from the other files of the withdrawal. We want – and we are working towards – an orderly exit from the United Kingdom, as he has decided. And an orderly exit requires the payment of the accounts.We know that this agreement will not be formed in a discussion in small steps, not through incremental stepsAs soon as the United Kingdom is ready to clarify the nature of its commitments, we will be ready to discuss them with the British negotiators. 

On Ireland, we had a first discussion on the impact of Brexit on two key subjects: the Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area.

We agree that the important issue of the Good Friday Agreement, in all its dimensions, requires more detailed discussions. In particular, more work needs to be done to protect North-South cooperation between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Today, that cooperation is embedded in the common framework of EU law and EU policies.

We need to better understand how the UK intends on ensuring the continuation of this cooperation after Brexit.

We also agreed that the UK should clarify in the next session how it intends on maintaining the Common Travel Area after leaving the EU.

Finally, on the other subjects of separation, we had an exchange of views on the field to be covered, on how to bring legal clarity where the Brexit creates uncertainties, for example for producers, distributors, sellers of goods, but also for police cooperation or for citizens or companies involved in judicial proceedings that are under way.And we explained our positions on the basis of the seven papers we published.We have taken note of the United Kingdom’s clarifications on certain issues and its intention to clarify its positions in the next round of negotiations. The first round was about organisationThe second round was about  presentation.The third round must be that of clarification. In August, we will need clarification:• on the Financial Regulation,• on the rights of citizens,• Ireland, including the Common Travel Area and the Good Friday Agreement first.• on the other subjects of separation, for which this week’s experience proves that we are making better progress when our respective positions are clear.


17/07/2017

BREXIT: Programme: 2nd round of EU-UK Article 50 negotiations – Brussels, 17-20 July 2017

Monday, 17 July 2017

  • 09:15: David Davis, UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, and Michel Barnier,

the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, meet at the Berlaymont (VIP corner).

  • 09:30: Opening Session (Office of Michel Barnier, photo opportunity)

Afternoon:

  • Coordinators’ meeting
  • Negotiating Groups

 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

  • Coordinators’ meetings
  • Negotiating Groups

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

  • Negotiating Groups

Thursday, 20 July 2017

  • Coordinators’ meeting
  • Closing Plenary
  • Press Conference by Principals (to be confirmed)

 

Note:   There are three negotiating groups covering citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. The issues related to Northern Ireland and the governance of the withdrawal agreement will be addressed by the Coordinators.

.

 


12/07/2017

BREXIT: State of play of Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

Brussels, 12 July 2017

The United Kingdom triggered Article 50 on 29 March 2017. What has happened since then on the EU side?

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union, in accordance with Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

On 29 April 2017, the European Council at EU27 adopted a set of political guidelines, which define the framework for the negotiations and set out the EU’s overall positions and principles.

On 3 May 2017, the European Commission sent a recommendation, including draft negotiating directives, to the Council to open the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. On 22 May 2017, the Council, on the basis of the Commission’s recommendation, authorised the opening of the Article 50 negotiations with the UK and nominated the Commission as Union negotiator. Together with the European Council guidelines agreed by the leaders of the EU27 on 29 April 2017, these negotiating directives outline the priorities for the first phase of the negotiations.

The European Commission has also issued detailed position papers for the negotiations with the UK. Each paper is subject to an exchange of views between Michel Barnier, the Commission’s Chief Negotiator, and the Council Working Party chaired by the General Secretariat of the Council, as well as the Brexit steering group of the European Parliament.

The European Commission publishes these position papers on our website, both when they are shared with the other EU institutions as well as when they are sent to the UK. Position papers on the following topics have been published so far:

  1. Citizens’ rights
  2. The financial settlement
  3. Nuclear materials and safeguard equipment (EURATOM)
  4. Issues relating to the functioning of the Union institutions, agencies and bodies
  5. Governance of the Article 50 agreement
  6. Goods placed on the market under Union law before the withdrawal date
  7. Judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters
  8. Ongoing judicial and administrative procedures
  9. Ongoing police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

What happened during the first negotiation round?

The first round of Article 50 negotiations between the European Commission and the United Kingdom took place on 19 June. Both parties agreed to create working groups on citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and other separation issues. The coordinators of the negotiations on the EU and UK side will also start a dialogue on issues pertaining to Northern Ireland. The outcome of this first round of negotiations is outlined in the “Terms of Reference” agreed between the UK and the European Commission and is published on our website.

What will happen in the second negotiation round?

The agenda for this round will be published on our website, once available.

When does the United Kingdom cease to be a member of the European Union?

The UK will cease to be a member of the European Union at midnight on 29 March 2019, unless the European Council decides unanimously to extend the two-year negotiating period. The United Kingdom will become a third country from the date of withdrawal.

How will the withdrawal agreement be concluded?

The negotiations on the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU must be completed within a period of two years from the moment Article 50 is triggered. If no agreement is reached within this period, the Treaties will cease to apply to the UK.

At the end of the negotiation period, the Union negotiator will propose an agreement to the Council and the European Parliament, taking into account the framework of the future relationship of the UK with the EU.

The European Parliament must give its consent, by a vote of simple majority, including Members of the European Parliament from the UK.

The Council will conclude the agreement. The Treaty foresees that this can be done by a vote of strong qualified majority (i.e. 20 countries representing 65% of the EU27 population).

The UK must also approve the agreement according to its own constitutional arrangements.

So how long does that leave for the actual negotiations?

The negotiations themselves will last approximately 18 months (June 2017 – October/November 2018).

Who will negotiate for the European Union?

The Heads of State or Government of the EU27 invited the Council to nominate the European Commission as the Union negotiator. They welcomed the appointment of Michel Barnier as the Commission’s Chief Negotiator.

The European Commission as Union negotiator and Michel Barnier as the Commission’s Chief Negotiator will systematically report to the European Council, the Council and its preparatory bodies, which will discuss Brexit in an EU27 format.

Michel Barnier will keep the European Parliament closely and regularly informed throughout the negotiations via a dedicated Brexit steering group.

The 27 Member States will be closely involved in preparing negotiations, giving guidance to the Commission’s Chief Negotiator, and assessing progress via a dedicated Working Party, which has been created in the Council, with a permanent chair, to ensure that the negotiations are conducted in line with the European Council guidelines and the Council’s negotiating directives.

The European Council at EU27 will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update its guidelines during the negotiations as necessary.

What about the practical side of the negotiations? What language will they be in? How often will both sides meet?

Practical issues, such as the language regime and negotiation structure, have been outlined in the Terms of Reference agreed between the European Commission and the United Kingdom on 19 June 2017. English and French are the two official languages of the negotiations.

Where will the negotiations take place?

They will take place in Brussels.

What happens if no agreement is reached?

The EU Treaties simply cease to apply to the UK two years after notification.

Can a Member State apply to re-join after it leaves?

Any country that has withdrawn from the EU may apply to re-join. It would be required to go through the accession procedure.

Once triggered, can Article 50 be revoked?

It was the decision of the United Kingdom to trigger Article 50. But once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed. Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of the notification.

Will you be transparent in the negotiations?

The Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom are unique and differ from any other negotiation conducted by the European Union to date. Given their unprecedented nature, the European Commission has decided to adopt a tailor-made approach to transparency. The Commission, as European Union negotiator, will ensure a maximum level of transparency during the whole negotiating process. Read our transparency policy here.

What are your core principles in these negotiations?

The withdrawal agreement should be based on a balance of rights and obligations, while ensuring a level-playing field. Cherry-picking of the Single Market and a sector-by-sector participation in the Single Market has been excluded by the European Council guidelines. The Union has also stressed that its four freedoms (people, goods, services and capital) will remain indivisible. The negotiations will be based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The European Union will remain united throughout the negotiation period and the European Council has excluded that there would be separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the UK’s withdrawal. The withdrawal agreement should respect the autonomy of the decision-making of the Union, as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

When will the negotiations move on to discussions on the future relationship of the European Union and the United Kingdom?

Discussions on the framework for a future relationship with the United Kingdom will only begin once sufficient progress has been made in all areas of the first phase of the negotiations. It will be for the European Council to decide whether there has been sufficient progress. Michel Barnier has said publicly that he hoped that the European Commission would be in a position to report sufficient progress to the European Council in October.

Where can I find out more about the Brexit negotiations?

All information related to the Brexit negotiations can be found on our dedicated website, including all negotiation documents, press material, and speeches by Michel Barnier.

 


07/07/2017

BREXIT: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BREXIT STEERING GROUP SENDS ASSESSMENT TO MICHEL BARNIER


23/06/2017

European Parliament Briefing: What Think Tanks are thinking

Start of Brexit negotiations

Formal negotiations on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50 TEU got under way on 19 June, as both sides agreed in principle how to organise the talks and underlined their mutual goodwill. The talks began nearly a year after the UK referendum (on 23 June 2016) resulted in the vote to leave the EU, and less than two weeks after a general election that left the ruling Conservative Party without a majority in the House of Commons.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks on the UK’s plans to leave the EU and the wider implications of Brexit. More studies on issues.

Read; EP What Think Tanks are Thinking – 23 June


22/06/2017

PROCEDURE FOR RELOCATION OF EU AGENCIES CURRENTLY LOCATED IN THE EU

Brexit

EUROPEAN COUNCIL 22 JUNE:  Following the working dinner, leaders from the EU27 member states met to review the latest developments in the negotiations following the United Kingdom’s notification under Article 50 TEU.

In the margins of this meeting, they endorsed the  procedure for the relocation of the EU agencies currently located in the UK.

In the margins of the European Council (Art. 50) meeting, leaders endorsed the procedural arrangements for the relocation of the EU agencies currently located in the UK.

 


22/06/2017

EUROPEN PARLIAMENT ANALYSIS: THE BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS

The Brexit negotiations: Issues for the first phase – Think Tank 

Negotiations on the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU started on 19 June 2017. The European Commission is negotiating on behalf of the EU, on the basis of the European Council guidelines and the mandate given to it by the Council. The European Parliament, for its part, has laid down key principles and conditions for its approval of a UK withdrawal agreement. Three key priorities are set to dominate the first phase of the negotiations (with the future relationship between the EU and the UK being left to a second phase). These are: citizens’ rights for EU-27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU-27; the settlement of the UK’s financial obligations; and ensuring the Northern Ireland peace process is not compromised. This paper looks at the EU negotiating position and the major issues raised under those three priorities to date.

Read Analysis in full here


19/06/2017

Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom to begin on 19 June – Read agenda of meeting here

Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed yesterday to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June. An agenda for the first formal negotiating round is available here. This follows preparatory “talks about talks” this week at civil service level between the European Commission and the United Kingdom. The opening of negotiations at political level next week will focus on issues related to citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, the Northern Irish border and other separation issues, as part of the sequenced approach to the talks. Both sides will also discuss the structure of the negotiations and the issues that need to be addressed over the coming months. The European Commission has already provided the United Kingdom with its position papers on citizens’ rights and the financial settlement and published both texts on Monday 12 June, in keeping with the Commission’s transparency policy.  The opening of the negotiations will take place at the European Commission in Brussels and will be a one-day event, starting at approximately 11am and ending in the late afternoon, with a joint press conference by Michel Barnier and David Davis. Media arrangements will be confirmed on Monday morning

15/06/2017

Joint statement by the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission – launch of Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June

The following joint statement has been issued by the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission:

“Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June.”

 

For More Information

Q&A on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union

Task Force on Article 50 Negotiations with the United Kingdom (TF50) webpage

 

 

15/06/2017

The consequences of Brexit on Services and Establishment. Different Scenarios for Exit and Future Cooperation – Think Tank

    • The consequences of Brexit on Services and Establishment. Different Scenarios for Exit and Future Cooperation

      This paper addresses the challenges Brexit will pose to the future of trade in services between the EU and the UK. It discusses the specific barriers to cross-border establishment and trade in services and possible solutions for a future EU-UK trade agreement. Hereby, it takes existing EU Free Trade Agreements with other states into consideration. This research paper has been commissioned by Policy Department at the request of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee

      Read Analyses here

01/06/2017

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BREXIT LITERATURE UPDATE

The Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs has been compiling, on a regular basis, academic and scholary material related to the process of, and the negotiations on, the wthdrawal of the UK from the EU.

ollowing 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 which you can find here

30/05/2017

BREXIT: Extract from Speech by Commissioner Phil Hogan at LRF Assembly – 30th May 2017, Sweden

 

(Brexit – EU Political Outlook)

On the one hand, a Member State has for the first time voted to leave our Union. The Brexit result caused a seismic shock in Brussels.

I know it had a strong impact here in Sweden too, given that the UK is one of Sweden’s most important trading partners – the third largest recipient of Swedish services and the sixth largest recipient of goods.

In response, the Swedish government correctly began to plan for the different outcomes. In September 2016, the Government commissioned the National Board of Trade to analyse and provide alternatives for how trade in services between the EU and the UK can be regulated after a UK withdrawal from the EU and its single market.

I am pleased that this report emphasised the continuing importance of the EU single market for Sweden’s economy, calling for further development and integration so that the remaining EU 27 can benefit and profit from it even further.

Nevertheless, in relation to Brexit many questions remain unanswered, particularly in relation to the future EU budget and of course, the proportion of the budget dedicated to the CAP.

But Brexit has also led to a strong sense of renewal and revitalisation in Brussels.  The EU 27 have shown a strong and united front in advance of the Brexit negotiations. In recent months, right-wing populists have failed to win three prominent European elections in a row: in Austria, in the Netherlands, and most recently in France.

And there has been a strong consensus that if the EU wants to prevent another Brexit, we must begin to make an even greater positive impact in the lives of our citizens. We must find better ways to face head-on some of the most pressing challenges of our time: climate change, migration, security, and job creation, to name but a few.

The White Paper published by the Commission in March sets out possible paths for the future of Europe. It offers five scenarios for the Union’s evolution, depending on the choices we make.

And for my part, I want the CAP to be the beating heart of this renewed and revitalised Europe. I have been making the case that a strong and well-funded policy for our food production and rural areas is vital if we are to succeed in renewing the EU. Read full speech here

29/05/2017

DRAFT EU POSITION PAPERS ON ARTICLE 50 NEGOTIATIONS

22/05/2017

STATEMENT BY MICHEL BARNIER FOLLOWING THE GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL (ARTICLE 50)

Ladies and gentlemen,

From the day the UK decided to leave, the EU has gone through an intense preparatory process.

We are ready and well-prepared:

  • We have a clear mandate supported by all 27 Member States.
  • We have a solid resolution from the European Parliament.
  • We have excellent working relations between all EU institutions.
  • We have a negotiation team. All structures are in place.

The new Brexit Council working group will meet tomorrow already. In the course of the next few days we will finalise our negotiating positions on the key subjects for the first phase of the negotiations.

These positions will then be sent to the UK. I expect this to happen very quickly, very quickly, after the elections.

In line with our transparency policy, we will publish our position papers and negotiating documents.

I hope to organise the first round of negotiations as soon as possible, hopefully in the week of 19 June.

I would like to be able to give a first report to the European Council on 22-23 June, exactly one year after the date of the referendum and less than three months after Theresa May’s notification letter.

I hope to see our British colleagues at the negotiation table as soon as possible. And look forward to work in a positive atmosphere to find common ground.

SPEECH/17/1422

22/05/2017

BREXIT FACT  SHEET – MAY

Irish Agri Food Sector

  1. IMPORTANCE OF THE AGRI-FOOD SECTOR IN THE IRISH ECONOMY

  2. EXCHANGE RATES (Euro/STG)

  3. AGRI-FOOD TRADE

  4. AGRI-FOOD BREXIT CHALLENGES AND DEPARTMENT RESPONSES

Read Factsheet here

22/05/2017

COUNCIL (ARTICLE 50) AUTHORIESES THE START OF BREXIT TALKS AND ADOPTS NEGOTIATING DIRECTIVES

The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, adopted a decision authorising the opening of Brexit negotiations with the UK and formally nominating the Commission as EU negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives for the talks.
Both texts are based on a recommendation presented by the Commission on 3 May 2017 and build on the guidelines adopted by the European Council (Art.50) on 29 April 2017. Their adoption allows for the start of negotiations with the UK following the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU (under article 50 of the Treaty of the EU).
“Today we have established the EU position on the key issues for the beginning of the talks. The rights of citizens are at the very top of our agenda and we aim for an ambitious solution, where those affected continue to enjoy their rights”.
Louis Grech, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and President of the Council
Negotiating directives and phased approach
This first set of negotiating directives is intended to guide the Commission for the first phase of the negotiations. They therefore prioritise issues that have been identified as necessary for an orderly withdrawal of the UK, including citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the situation of Ireland, as well as other matters in which there is a risk of legal uncertainty as a consequence of Brexit.
The first phase of the talks aims to provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible and to settle the disentanglement of the UK from the EU. Once the European Council deems sufficient progress has been achieved, the negotiations will proceed to the next phase.
An agreement on a future relationship between the EU and the UK can only be concluded once the UK effectively leaves the EU and becomes a third country. However, discussions on an overall understanding of that future relationship could start during a second phase of the negotiations.
The negotiating directives may be amended and supplemented during the negotiations.
Citizens’ rights
The first priority for the negotiations is to agree on guarantees to protect the rights of EU and UK citizens, and their family members, that are affected by Brexit. The EU27 insist that such guarantees should be reciprocal and based on equal treatment among EU27 citizens and compared to UK citizens. This should cover, among others, the right to permanent residence after five years of legal residence, including if this period is incomplete on the date of withdrawal but is completed afterwards.
The negotiating directives specify that workers, self-employed persons, students and other inactive persons should be covered, as well as frontier workers and family members. Guarantees should protect residence rights and free movement, as well as all the rights attached to them (such as health care). All rights should be protected for the lifetime of the persons concerned.
Financial settlement
The EU27 agree there must be a single financial settlement and the UK must honour its share of all the obligations undertaken while being a member. The UK should also fully cover the specific costs related to the withdrawal, such as the relocation of EU agencies currently based in the UK. The agreement should include a calculation of the total amount and a schedule of payments, as well as further rules and arrangements to address specific issues.
The situation of Ireland
The EU is committed to continue to support peace, stability and reconciliation on the island of Ireland. Nothing in the UK withdrawal agreement should undermine the objectives and commitments of the Good Friday Agreement. Negotiations should aim to avoid a hard border, while respecting EU law. Issues such as the transit of goods will need to be addressed.
Goods placed on the market and procedures based on EU law
The negotiating directives also cover other issues were arrangements are needed to reduce uncertainty and avoid a legal vacuum. This includes addressing what will happen with procedures based on EU law and with goods already on the market. For instance, if a product is already placed on the single market before the withdrawal, it should be ensured that it can remain in the market afterwards.
Other matters where there may be a need to reduce uncertainty or avoid a legal vacuum, such as services, will be covered in future negotiating directives.
Next steps
The Commission will agree with the UK the dates for the first negotiating sessions. The first formal meeting between the EU and the UK negotiators is likely to take place in June.
Brexit: Negotiating directives – 22 May

22/05/2017

European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK

The European Commission welcomes the Council’s decision today to authorise the opening of the Article 50 negotiations with the UK and to nominate the Commission as Union negotiator. The Commission also welcomes the adoption of the first set of negotiating directives.

Together with the European Council guidelines agreed by the leaders of the EU27 on 29 April 2017, these negotiating directives outline the priorities for the first phase of the negotiations. Both texts provide the European Commission, as Union negotiator, with the necessary political and legal mandate to negotiate with the UK on behalf of the EU27. The Commission’s nomination of Michel Barnier as Chief Negotiator was welcomed by the European Council in December.

The first phase of negotiations will tackle three main areas: safeguarding the status and rights of citizens – EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU27 – and their families; reaching an agreement on the principles of the financial settlement of the UK’s obligations as an EU member; providing for the new external borders of the EU, including the protection of the Good Friday Agreement, and finding imaginative solutions in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Other issues include arrangements regarding dispute settlement and the governance of the withdrawal agreement.

The Commission has also published today its transparency policy for the negotiations, which aims to ensure full transparency during the whole negotiating process. Commission negotiating documents which are shared with EU Member States, the European Council, the European Parliament, the Council, national parliaments, and the United Kingdom will be released to the public and will be published here. These documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Agendas for negotiating rounds;
  • EU position papers;
  • Non-papers;
  • EU text proposals.

Michel Barnier, the Commission’s Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations with the UK, said: “We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table with the UK. Our objective is to rapidly reach an agreement on the issues put forward by the Council today.”

Next steps

Formal negotiations will begin as soon as the UK is ready. In preparation for the first meeting between the EU and UK negotiators, the Commission will share draft negotiating documents with the EU27 Member States. These documents will cover the following areas: citizens’ rights, Euratom, issues related to goods placed on the market before the UK’s withdrawal, on-going judicial and administrative procedures, the governance of the Article 50 agreement, and the financial settlement. All documents will be made public and will be available on TF50’s webpage.

Background

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union. The European Council adopted its political guidelines on 29 April 2017. On 3 May 2017, the European Commission adopted and published its recommendation to open the Article 50 negotiations with the UK. This included draft negotiating directives and was based on the European Council guidelines of 29 April 2017. On 22 May 2017, the Council adopted the Commission’s recommendation. The negotiations will, at all times, be conducted in light of the European Council guidelines and in line with the Council’s negotiating directives and with due regard to the European Parliament’s resolution of 5 April 2017.

For More Information

Text of the negotiating directives

Information on the Commission’s transparency policy

European Council guidelines

Q&A on the negotiating directives

Q&A on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union

Task Force on Article 50 Negotiations with the United Kingdom (TF50) webpage

17/05/2017

MEPs welcomed the unity of the 27 Member States and the EU institutions with regard to Brexit and also called for a reform of the EU to benefit all its citizens.

The President of the European Council Donald Tusk presented to MEPs the Guidelines for Brexit negotiations agreed by the Member States at the summit on 29 April. He welcomed the alignment with the ‘red lines’ set by the European Parliament. The detailed negotiating mandate will be presented for adoption at a European Council summit on 22nd May, pointed out the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

In line with negotiator Michel Barnier, most MEPs emphasised the unity between the EU institutions and the 27 Member States, who are determined to act together to reach a balanced agreement with the United Kingdom.

The debated focussed on the basis for future negotiations, as recalled by Michel Barnier:

  • no negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom can take place before “tangible progress” is made,
  • guaranteeing the rights of European citizens affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU,
  • the Northern Ireland peace process must be upheld (including the absence of physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland),
  • the United Kingdom must respect all the financial commitments made as a Member State.

 

Michel Barnier stressed the need for transparent negotiations, which will begin after the UK national election on 8 June.

 

MEPs underlined the importance of unity and trust so that, in parallel to negotiations being carried out for an ‘orderly withdrawal’ of the UK, the reform of the Union can take place to rapidly respond to citizens’ concerns and make the benefits of European integration much more visible.

 

The vote in the UK for Brexit and the rise in populism in some countries, in particular in France and the Netherlands, should be a lesson to European leaders, said many MEPs. Whilst the victories of pro-European parties was welcomed, several MEPs urged not to pat ourselves too much on the back; “populism and nationalism are not dead”. More than ever, it is vital to listen to citizens and respond to their expectations in defining the future of the EU: social and environmental norms in a globalised world, organisation of the job market in the face of technological challenges, taxation and the security of European citizens must all be taken into account, said MEPs.

 

Replay links:

Donald TUSK, for the Council

Jean-Claude JUNCKER, for the Commission

Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE)

Roberto GUALTIERI (S&D, IT)

Raffaele FITTO (ECR, IT)

Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE)

Gabriele ZIMMER (GUE/NGL, DE)

Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE)

 

Nigel FARAGE (EFDD, UK)

Marcel de GRAAFF (ENF, NL)

 

Closing statements:

Michel BARNIER (part 1)

Michel BARNIER (part 2)

Donald TUSK

 

 

 

MEETINGS ON ARTICLE 50 COMING UP

22/05/2017 – GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL

Preparatory documents

Agenda highlights

The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, will adopt:

  • a decision authorising the opening of Brexit negotiations with the UK and nominating the Commission as the EU negotiator
  • negotiating directives for the Brexit negotiations

Both texts will be based on a recommendation presented by the Commission on 3 May 2017 and will build on the guidelines adopted by the European Council (Art.50) on 29 April 2017. Their adoption will allow the beginning of negotiations with the UK following the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU (under Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU).

The set of negotiating directives to be adopted by ministers on 22 May 2017 is intended for the first phase of the negotiations. These directives are therefore expected to prioritise some matters which at this stage have been identified as necessary for an orderly withdrawal of the UK. They will cover among others:

  • citizens’ rights
  • the financial settlement
  • the situation of Ireland

The negotiating directives may be amended and supplemented as necessary during the negotiations, in particular to reflect the European Council guidelines as they evolve.

Finally, the Council will adopt a decision to establish an ad hoc working party that will assist the Council and Coreper in all matters relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the Union.

Brexit (background information)

 

EUROPEAN COUNCIL – 22 or 23 June 2017

In the light of the final discussion to be held by the General Affairs Council within the five days preceding the European Council meeting, the President of the European Council shall draw up the provisional agenda.

 

NEGOTIATIONS FOLLOWING THE UNITED KINGDOM’S NOTIFICATION UNDER ARTICLE 50 TEU

The European Council will review the latest developments in the negotiations following the United Kingdom’s notification under Article 50 TEU.



17/05/2017

Report by President Donald Tusk to the European Parliament on the Special European Council (Art. 50) of 29 April

I would like to report the outcome of the first formal meeting of the European Council of 27, which took place on 29th April. Our main purpose was to adopt political guidelines for the Brexit negotiations. A mandate that sets out the overall principles, objectives and process. And a mandate that the European Council will update as necessary, as the talks get under way.

A key element of the guidelines is the need to conduct the talks on the basis of a ‘phased approach’. This means simply that there will be no discussion of the framework for our future relations with Britain, before sufficient progress is made on ensuring an orderly withdrawal. Leaders fully supported this logic.

To ensure an orderly withdrawal, we first and foremost need to address the situation of more than four million people, whose lives will be directly impacted by Brexit, on both sides. In a very real way, their futures depend on the outcome of these talks. It is our particular responsibility to secure the best guarantees for citizens – citizens of the Union – and for their families. That means guarantees that are effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, accompanied by simple and smooth administrative procedures. There is a need to act quickly, and so we are ready. Now we must move from sharing objectives to actually ensuring that citizens get the necessary guarantees. That’s also why I welcome the fact that the Commission has already listed a number of detailed requirements.

The second priority in the first phase is the need to agree that all financial commitments undertaken by the EU of 28 will also be honoured by the UK. And thirdly, in order to protect the peace and reconciliation process described by the Good Friday Agreement, we must aim to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Only once there is sufficient progress on these priorities, can we proceed to the next phase of the negotiations about our future relations. And it will be for the European Council of 27 to assess and decide if – and when – we have achieved sufficient progress.

When it comes to our future, the European Council shared the United Kingdom’s desire to establish a close partnership. It is obvious, however, that a relationship between the European Union and a non-Member State cannot offer the same benefits as EU membership. It is clear that a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK, which is what the UK has chosen, even if it is ambitious and wide-ranging, cannot mean participation in the Single Market or its parts. And at the same time, the UK must be aware that any free trade agreement will have to ensure a level playing field, and encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, tax, social, environmental and regulatory measures and practices. Today it is too early to tell much more about our common future, but we will make our guidelines more precise when the time comes, namely when sufficient progress in the first phase is achieved.

Leaders responded with the urgency that the situation requires. There will be very little time to conclude withdrawal talks within the framework foreseen by the Treaty. Time is of the essence here, and much is at stake.

Next Monday, the Council will adopt a set of negotiating directives, proposed by the chief negotiator, on the basis of the guidelines we adopted on April 29th. These cover the three issues I have just mentioned, plus a number of other matters that need to be addressed in the first phase of the negotiations.

Since the referendum in June last year, we – the EU27 – have been united, consistent, and demonstrated solidarity with one another. What was – and remains – most important for me, is that our conduct in these talks will show the European Union at its best: in terms of unity, political solidarity and fairness towards the United Kingdom.

Finally, I can only praise the European Parliament and its leaders for the role they have played. Sincere thanks and appreciation for your constructive assistance. This bodes well – not only for the future of the negotiations, but our future as a Union of 27. Thank you.

 



Brexit

11/05/2017

IFA PRESIDENT MEETS EU BREXIT NEGOTIATOR MICHEL BARNIER

IFA President Joe Healy met the EU’s Chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, in Dublin this morning at an event hosted by the EU Commission. It was be the second time Joe Healy has met Michel Barnier, following a meeting in Brussels last month.

Joe Healy said, “Michel Barnier displayed a good understanding of our issues when we last met. I emphasised that minimising the disruption to trade must be included as a priority in the discussions on the border. In addition, it is critical that the second phase of negotiations, which will deal with the future relationship between the EU and UK, commence as soon as possible”.

He said, “It is also critically important that the strongest trading relationship is maintained with the UK, which takes over 40% of our food exports, the value of the UK market is upheld, and that there is a fully-funded CAP after 2020”.

Meanwhile, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods hosted a delegation from the European Peoples’ Party on his farm in Co Wicklow later this evening to discuss the implications of Brexit for Irish farming.

Minister of State Andrew Doyle will led the delegation which is attending a two-day meeting of the EPP in Wicklow. The group included three Irish MEPs – Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Sean Kelly – and the Chairman of the EPP Manfred Weber.

Angus Woods said, “As Livestock Chairman, I set out the very serious implications for the Irish beef and livestock sector. The UK is our most valuable market and this has to be to the forefront of the negotiations on Brexit”.

 



11/05/2017

SPEECH BY MICHEL BARNIER AT THE JOINT HOUSES OF THE OIREACHTAS, DUBLIN

Mr. Speakers,

Taoiseach,

Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas,

A chairde,

I am happy and honoured to address both Houses and to greet you, as the representatives of the people of Ireland, in all your political diversity.

I take this honour as a responsibility.

The responsibility to listen to all those who will be affected by the decision of the UK to leave the European Union.

The responsibility to listen to your concerns, build our positions together, negotiate in our common interest.

The responsibility to explain that we need each other: that Ireland is stronger in the Union.

And the EU is stronger with Ireland.

*

Your country has had deep historical, cultural and intellectual ties to continental Europe for many centuries.

In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, Irish Colleges were set up around Europe: from Madrid – where I was yesterday –, to Leuven, Paris, Rome and Prague.

They contributed to writing the history of Ireland and the history of Europe. And they spread Irish culture to the continent.

Centuries later, in 1972, the people of Ireland massively voted to take part in the European project.

I was 21 at the time.  France had a referendum on the accession of Ireland, the UK, Denmark and Norway.

It was my very first vote. And I campaigned for a “yes” vote.

For the UK’s accession, back then, voting yes was not so easy for a member of the French Gaullist party. But I did it with my full heart.

And I never regretted that vote. I regret that Brexit is happening now.

I would have liked to have seen the UK staying in Europe, with Ireland and all the 26 other Member States. But we are where we are.

Since 1972, we have accomplished great things together. Read Speech in full here

 



11/05/2017

IFA PRESIDENT TO MEET EU BREXIT NEGOTIATOR MICHEL BARNIER

IFA President Joe Healy is meeting the EU’s Chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, in Dublin this morning at an event hosted by the EU Commission. It will be the second time Joe Healy has met Michel Barnier, following a meeting in Brussels last month.

Joe Healy said, “Michel Barnier displayed a good understanding of our issues when we last met. I will be emphasising that minimising the disruption to trade is included as a priority in the discussions on the border. In addition, it is critical that the second phase of negotiations, which will deal with the future relationship between the EU and UK, commence as soon as possible”.

He said, “It is also critically important that the strongest trading relationship is maintained with the UK, which takes over 40% of our food exports, the value of the UK market is upheld, and that there is a fully-funded CAP after 2020”.

Meanwhile, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods will host a delegation from the European Peoples’ Party on his farm in Co Wicklow later today to discuss the implications of Brexit for Irish farming.

Minister of State Andrew Doyle will lead the delegation which is attending a two-day meeting of the EPP in Wicklow. The group will include three Irish MEPs – Mairead McGuinness, Brian Hayes and Sean Kelly – and the Chairman of the EPP Manfred Weber.

Angus Woods said, “As Livestock Chairman, I will be setting out the very serious implications for the Irish beef and livestock sector. The UK is our most valuable market and this has to be to the forefront of the negotiations on Brexit”.

 



11/05/2017

BREXIT: MEPS WANT EU AND UK TO TAKE CAR OF CITIZENS’ RIGHTS FIRST

The EU and the UK government should negotiate a deal on the situation and rights of citizens as a matter of urgency and before starting the other Brexit talks, MEPs say.

In a joint hearing organised by the committees of Civil Liberties, Employment and Petitions, most MEPs underlined the “moral duty” to end the uncertainty created for both EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU since the June referendum.

The EU should let go of the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” in negotiations, because a quick solution for citizens’ rights is a matter of priority. “Let´s do this first”, they concurred.

Parliament´s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the House might adopt a resolution on this issue, probably after the summer recess.

In a plenary resolution adopted on 5 April, Parliament stressed that citizens’ interests must come first in the negotiations between the EU and the UK government with fair and equal treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU.

Quotes

Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, said: “Today’s hearing shows that the European Parliament stands ready to fulfil its role in the negotiations by working hard with our constituents, our home governments and the EU institutions to ensure the voices of concerned citizens are being heard.  Human beings come first, we are not commodities and what happens on citizens’ rights sets the tone for the entire negotiation and relationship for a generation to come, so we must get it right”.

Renate Weber (ALDE, RO), Vice-Chair of the Employment Committee, added: “I strongly believe that when thinking about Brexit consequences, there is no greater concern than the fate of EU citizens who study, work and settle in the UK and also visitors, and of those British citizens who work or live in EU 27. Brexit will have a direct impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers and students, on millions of tourists, as citizens’ mobility and rights are at the heart of the European project. We have worked hard to guarantee citizens’ uninterrupted access to all kind of benefits, and these rights should be safeguarded.”

Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), Chair of the Petitions Committee stated: “The Brexit decision has created uncertainty for three million citizens from other member states living in the UK, as well as for the 1.2 million British citizens currently living in the EU. These people are anxious and frightened about their future and their concerns must therefore be our top priority, and issues related to citizens’ rights solved first of all. We shall never forget that this concerns real people, they are not just pawns in the negotiations. This is about basic human values and about common decency. Only by putting the citizens first can we achieve a fair result in the end”.

You can catch up with the debate via Video on Demand

 

 



05/05/2017

SPEECH BY MICHEL BARNIER AT THE 7TH STATE OF THE UNION CONFERENCE, FLORANCE

Protecting Citizens’ Rights in the Negotiations with the UK

Good afternoon to all of you.

I will speak in English – obviously, I wish to be understood by the people who speak French, especially two days before this crucial election in my country. But it is equally important to be understood by the British people. [Applause]

First of all, let me first extend my warm thanks to the European University Institute in Florence, and its President Renaud Dehousse, for having offered me the opportunity to speak before you today.

I am also happy to see Commissioner Jourová, who will be speaking shortly after me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the State of the Union conference has become a major forum for debate.

And debate on the future of European citizenship is very much needed, now more than ever.

My topic today is the importance of the rights of European citizens and the priority that they will be given in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

In particular, free movement of people is at the heart of European citizenship. The principle was intensively discussed during the United Kingdom’s referendum campaign.

Today, it would seem that this principle is under attack.

Read speech in full here

 



03/05/2017

UK PARLIAMENT – European Union Committee
Brexit: agriculture

20th Report of Session 2016-17 – published 3 May 2017 – HL Paper 169


Contents

Read Chapeters 3 to 7 here



03/05/2017

EUROPEAN COMMISSION TAKES NEXT STEP IN ARTICLE 50 PROCESS BY RECOMMENDING DRAFT NEGOTIATING DIRECTIVES

The College of Commissioners has today sent a recommendation to the Council to open the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. It includes draft negotiating directives. This legal mandate follows the adoption on Saturday by the European Council of political guidelines.

Today’s text complements the guidelines and provides the necessary details to conduct the first phase of the negotiations. This reflects the two-phased approach put forward by the leaders of the 27 Member States and prioritises those matters which are necessary to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union.

The negotiating directives cover 4 main areas. Safeguarding the status and rights of citizens – EU27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU27 – and their families is the first priority of the negotiations. The Commission’s recommendation also states clearly that agreement on the principles of the financial settlement must be reached before it is possible to move on to the second phase of the negotiations. The negotiations should not undermine in any way the Good Friday Agreement. Solutions should be found to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Finally, arrangements must be found regarding dispute settlement and the governance of the withdrawal agreement.

Michel Barnier, Union negotiator for the Article 50 negotiations with the UK, said “With our recommendation today, we are on track to make sure that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union happens in an orderly fashion. This is in the best interests of everyone. As soon as the UK is ready, we shall start negotiating in a constructive manner.”

Next steps

Today’s recommendation will be sent to the Council, where it is set to be adopted by the General Affairs Council on 22 May.

Background

On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union. The European Council adopted its political guidelines on 29 April 2017. The negotiations will, at all times, be conducted in light of the European Council guidelines and in line with the Council’s negotiating directives and with due regard to the European Parliament’s resolution of 5 April 2017.

For More Information

Q&A on today’s recommendation

Text of the recommendations

European Council guidelines

Q&A on Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union

Task Force on Article 50 Negotiations with the United Kingdom (TF50) webpage



02/05/2017

Article 50 negotiations: Government Statement on Brexit Preparations

The Government has today issued a statement on Brexit preparations in which it:

  • welcomes the outcome of the weekend’s European Council meeting and the overall approach to the forthcoming Brexit negotiations set out in the adopted Guidelines;
  • announces publication of its comprehensive Document on the positions and priorities that will underpin our engagement in the Brexit process over the next two years; and,
  • commits to preparation of a further policy paper on economic policy issues in a Brexit context.

A full copy of the Statement is available here.

The Government’s comprehensive Document on positions and priorities is available here.

29/04/2017

Special European Council (Art. 50),

Main results

The Special European Council (Article 50), in an EU 27 format, adopted the guidelines for the Brexit negotiations. 

“I want to underline the outstanding unity of all the 27 leaders on the guidelines for our negotiations with the UK. (…) We now have unanimous support from all the 27 member states and the EU institutions, giving us a strong political mandate for these negotiations.”

President Donald Tusk at the press conference after the summit

The guidelines will define the framework for negotiations and set out the overall EU positions and principles during the talks. The European Council will update the guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary.

Core principles

In the guidelines, the European Council states that the EU27 willkeep its unity and act as one during the negotiations. Leaders:

  • reiterate their wish to have the UK as a close partner
  • reiterate that any future deal will need to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field
  • stress that the integrity of the single market must be preserved, which means the four freedoms are indivisible and excludes any cherry-picking
  • state that a non-member cannot enjoy the same rights and benefits as a member

“Negotiations under Article 50 TEU will be conducted in transparency and as a single package. In accordance with the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot be settled separately.”

European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations

A phased approach

Heads of state and government agreed that the first phaseof negotiations should aim to:

  • provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible
  • settle the disentanglement of the UK from the EU

The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase.

An agreement on a future relationship between the EU and the UK can only be concluded once the UK has become a third country. However, leaders declare readiness, during a second phase of negotiations, to start preliminary and preparatory discussions on the framework for that future relationship.

The two year timeframe set out in Article 50 ends on 29 March 2019.

An orderly withdrawal

“Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights. (…) With this in mind, we must proceed according to a phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal.”

European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations

The European Council stressed the importance of safeguarding the rights of citizens affected by Brexit. They highlighted the need to avoid a legal vacuum for business, and referred to a single financial settlement that should ensure the EU and the UK respect their obligations.

In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, the European Council stressed the need to support the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland.

“Flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order.”

European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations

Principle of sincere cooperation

Until it leaves the Union, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU, subject to all rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law. All ongoing EU business must continue to proceed as smoothly as possible at 28, and the negotiations with the United Kingdom will be kept separate from ongoing Union business, and shall not interfere with its progress.

Next steps

After the adoption of the guidelines by the European Council and based on a recommendation from the Commission, the General Affairs Council on 22 May 2017 is expected to:

  • authorise the opening of negotiations
  • nominate the Commission as the EU negotiator
  • adopt negotiation directives (detailed mandate for the Commission)

Background

On 29 March 2017 the UK formally notified to the European Council its intention to leave the EU.

“We regret that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, but we are ready for the process that we now will have to follow. (…) In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests. Our first priority will be to minimise the uncertainty caused by the decision of the United Kingdom for our citizens, businesses and member states.”

Statement of the European Council, 29 March 2017

29/04/2017

GUIDELINES FOR BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS

European Council (Art. 50) guidelines following the United Kingdom’s notification under Article 50 TEU

On 29 March 2017, the European Council received the notification by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union and Euratom. This allows for the opening of negotiations as foreseen by the Treaty.

European integration has brought peace and prosperity to Europe and allowed for an unprecedented level and scope of cooperation on matters of common interest in a rapidly changing world. Therefore, the Union’s overall objective in these negotiations will be to preserve its interests, those of its citizens, its businesses and its Member States.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption, in particular in the United Kingdom but also, to a lesser extent, in other Member States. Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights. Businesses and other stakeholders will lose the predictability and certainty that come with EU law. It will also have an impact on public authorities. With this in mind, we must proceed according to a phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal. National authorities, businesses and other stakeholders should take all necessary steps to prepare for the consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal.

Throughout these negotiations the Union will maintain its unity and act as one with the aim of reaching a result that is fair and equitable for all Member States and in the interest of its citizens. It will be constructive and strive to find an agreement. This is in the best interest of both sides. The Union will work hard to achieve that outcome, but it will prepare itself to be able to handle the situation also if the negotiations were to fail.

These guidelines define the framework for negotiations under Article 50 TEU and set out the overall positions and principles that the Union will pursue throughout the negotiation. In this context, the European Council welcomes the resolution of the European Parliament of 5 April 2017. The European Council will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary. Negotiating directives will be adjusted accordingly.

I. Core principles

1. The European Council will continue to base itself on the principles set out in the statement of Heads of State or Government and of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission on 29 June 2016. It reiterates its wish to have the United Kingdom as a close partner in the future. It further reiterates that any agreement with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a level playing field. Preserving the integrity of the Single Market excludes participation based on a sector-by-sector approach. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member. In this context, the European Council welcomes the recognition by the British Government that the four freedoms of the Single Market are indivisible and that there can be no “cherry picking”. The Union will preserve its autonomy as regards its decision-making as well as the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

2. Negotiations under Article 50 TEU will be conducted in transparency and as a single package. In accordance with the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot be settled separately. The Union will approach the negotiations with unified positions, and will engage with the United Kingdom exclusively through the channels set out in these guidelines and in the negotiating directives. So as not to undercut the position of the Union, there will be no separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union.

3. The core principles set out above should apply equally to the negotiations on an orderly withdrawal, to any preliminary and preparatory discussions on the framework for a future relationship, and to any form of transitional arrangements.

II. A phased approach to negotiations

4.  On the date of withdrawal, the Treaties will cease to apply to the United Kingdom, to those of its overseas countries and territories currently associated to the Union, and to territories for whose external relations the United Kingdom is responsible. The main purpose of the negotiations will be to ensure the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal so as to reduce uncertainty and, to the extent possible, minimise disruption caused by this abrupt change.

To that effect, the first phase of negotiations will aim to:

  • provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible to citizens, businesses, stakeholders and international partners on the immediate effects of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union;
  • settle the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the Union and from all the rights and obligations the United Kingdom derives from commitments undertaken as Member State.

The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase.

5. While an agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be finalised and concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country, Article 50 TEU requires to take account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union in the arrangements for withdrawal. To this end, an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship should be identified during a second phase of the negotiations under Article 50 TEU. We stand ready to engage in preliminary and preparatory discussions to this end in the context of negotiations under Article 50 TEU, as soon as the European Council decides that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase towards reaching a satisfactory agreement on the arrangements for an orderly withdrawal.

6. To the extent necessary and legally possible, the negotiations may also seek to determine transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and, as appropriate, to provide for bridges towards the foreseeable framework for the future relationship in the light of the progress made. Any such transitional arrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms. Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.

7. The two year timeframe set out in Article 50 TEU ends on 29 March 2019.

III. Agreement on arrangements for an orderly withdrawal

8. The right for every EU citizen, and of his or her family members, to live, to work or to study in any EU Member State is a fundamental aspect of the European Union. Along with other rights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives and choices of millions of people. Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to safeguard the status and rights derived from EU law at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union will be the first priority for the negotiations. Such guarantees must be effective, enforceable, non-discriminatory and comprehensive, including the right to acquire permanent residence after a continuous period of five years of legal residence. Citizens should be able to exercise their rights through smooth and simple administrative procedures.

9. Also, the United Kingdom leaving the Union will impact EU businesses trading with and operating in the United Kingdom and UK businesses trading with and operating in the Union. Similarly, it may affect those who have entered into contracts and business arrangements or take part in EU-funded programmes based on the assumption of continued British EU membership. Negotiations should seek to prevent a legal vacuum once the Treaties cease to apply to the United Kingdom and, to the extent possible, address uncertainties.

10. A single financial settlement – including issues resulting from the MFF as well as those related to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Development Fund (EDF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) – should ensure that the Union and the United Kingdom both respect the obligations resulting from the whole period of the UK membership in the Union. The settlement should cover all commitments as well as liabilities, including contingent liabilities.

11. The Union has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts, and continuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits and commitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramount importance. In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order. In this context, the Union should also recognise existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom and Ireland which are compatible with EU law.

12. The Union should agree with the United Kingdom on arrangements as regards the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and recognise in that respect bilateral agreements and arrangements between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom which are compatible with EU law, in particular as regards safeguarding rights and interests of those EU citizens resident or working in the Sovereign Base Areas.

13. Following the withdrawal, the United Kingdom will no longer be covered by agreements concluded by the Union or by Member States acting on its behalf or by the Union and its Member States acting jointly. The Union will continue to have its rights and obligations in relation to international agreements. In this respect, the European Council expects the United Kingdom to honour its share of all international commitments contracted in the context of its EU membership. In such instances, a constructive dialogue with the United Kingdom on a possible common approach towards third country partners, international organisations and conventions concerned should be engaged.

14. The withdrawal agreement would also need to address potential issues arising from the withdrawal in other areas of cooperation, including judicial cooperation, law enforcement and security.

15. While the future location of the seats of EU agencies and facilities located in the United Kingdom is a matter for the 27 Member States to settle rapidly, arrangements should be found to facilitate their transfer.

16. Arrangements ensuring legal certainty and equal treatment should be found for all court procedures pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union upon the date of withdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the United Kingdom. The Court of Justice of the European Union should remain competent to adjudicate in these procedures. Similarly, arrangements should be found for administrative procedures pending before the European Commission and Union agencies upon the date of the withdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the United Kingdom. In addition, arrangements should be foreseen for the possibility of administrative or court proceedings to be initiated post-exit for facts that have occurred before the withdrawal date.

17. The withdrawal agreement should include appropriate dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms regarding the application and interpretation of the withdrawal agreement, as well as duly circumscribed institutional arrangements allowing for the adoption of measures necessary to deal with situations not foreseen in the withdrawal agreement. This should be done bearing in mind the Union’s interest to effectively protect its autonomy and its legal order, including the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

IV. Preliminary and preparatory discussions on a framework for the Union – United Kingdom future relationship

18. The European Council welcomes and shares the United Kingdom’s desire to establish a close partnership between the Union and the United Kingdom after its departure. While a relationship between the Union and a non Member State cannot offer the same benefits as Union membership, strong and constructive ties will remain in both sides’ interest and should encompass more than just trade.

19. The British government has indicated that it will not seek to remain in the Single Market, but would like to pursue an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union. Based on the Union’s interests, the European Council stands ready to initiate work towards an agreement on trade, to be finalised and concluded once the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State.

20. Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging. It cannot, however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine its integrity and proper functioning. It must ensure a level playing field, notably in terms of competition and state aid, and in this regard encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, tax, social, environmental and regulatory measures and practices.

21. Any future framework should safeguard financial stability in the Union and respect its regulatory and supervisory regime and standards and their application.

22. The EU stands ready to establish partnerships in areas unrelated to trade, in particular the fight against terrorism and international crime, as well as security, defence and foreign policy.

23. The future partnership must include appropriate enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms that do not affect the Union’s autonomy, in particular its decision-making procedures.

24. After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.

V. Principle of sincere cooperation

25. Until it leaves the Union, the United Kingdom remains a full Member of the European Union, subject to all rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law, including the principle of sincere cooperation.

26. The European Council recognises the need, in the international context, to take into account the specificities of the United Kingdom as a withdrawing Member State, provided it respects its obligations and remains loyal to the Union’s interests while still a Member. Similarly the Union expects the United Kingdom to recognise the need of the 27 Member States to meet and discuss matters related to the situation after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.

27. While the United Kingdom is still a member, all ongoing EU business must continue to proceed as smoothly as possible at 28. The European Council remains committed to drive forward with ambition the priorities the Union has set itself. Negotiations with the United Kingdom will be kept separate from ongoing Union business, and shall not interfere with its progress.

VI. Procedural arrangements for negotiations under Article 50

28. The European Council endorses the arrangements set out in the statement of 27 Heads of State or Government on 15 December 2016.

29/04/2017

IFA MEETS THE TAOISEACH, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AND MICHEL BARNIER IN BRUSSELS AHEAD OF EU HEADS OF STATE SUMMIT

IFA President Joe Healy was in Brussels this morning ahead of the SPECIAL EU Heads of State Summit on BREXIT

“There is a real sense of history here in Brussels this morning as the 27 countries who will remain in the EU meet to discuss Brexit. In many ways it is a sad day for the EU but we need to maintain the closest possible trading relationship with the UK and a fully funded CAP,” Joe Healy said.

28/04/2017

IFA BUILDING SUPPORT IN BRUSSELS ON BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS

Speaking from Brussels where he is attending a meeting of the European farm group COPA, IFA President Joe Healy said there is an increasing realisation among farm bodies across Europe of the potential damaging implications of a hard Brexit.

Joe Healy said, “COPA President Martin Merrild, who spoke at IFA’s Brexit event on Monday, made a strong opening statement to the meeting here, on the implications for countries with significant exports to the UK, but also about the potential impact if product now going to the UK ends up back on the EU 27 market”.

On Wednesday, Joe Healy and representatives from the agri-food industry – Meat Industry Ireland, the Irish Dairy Industry Association and Food & Drink Ireland – held a meeting with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny where they outlined the serious ramifications for Irish agriculture and how Brexit represents the biggest threat in our lifetimes.

“The unified approach from the industry underlined to the Taoiseach just how serious a challenge Brexit poses. Farming and agri-food, which has an export value of over €11bn and which supports 300,000 jobs, is approaching the edge of a cliff and we need cool heads to prevail,” Joe Healy said.

IFA’s Brussels Office Director Liam MacHale said, “Tomorrow’s meeting is the culmination of extensive diplomatic activity since the UK vote last June. The approval of the EU 27 negotiating document will be the start of a new phase in the negotiations”.

Earlier this week, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan addressed over 700 farmers in Goffs at IFA’s Brexit event.
IFA’s policy document has set out our three key objectives: maintaining a close trading relationship with the UK market; retaining the value of the market and securing a fully-funded CAP after 2020.


24/04/2017

JOE HEALY’S ADDRESS TO IFA BREXIT EVENT

Commissioner Hogan, thank you for giving us a clearer picture of the current EU position in the Brexit negotiations.

We are fortunate to have an Irish Commissioner in the agriculture portfolio facing into these critical negotiations.

Commissioner, I know your job is to represent Europe’s farmers across all 27 Member States.

But I want you to know that Irish farmers – not only in this room, but right across the country – are depending on you to protect their interests at this critical time.

You and your colleagues cannot allow our livelihoods to be destroyed as a result of Brexit.

Read the full speech here

 


24/04/2017

ADDRESS BY PHIL HOGAN AT IFA BREXIT EVENT IN DUBLIN

Mr President, Minister, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, MEPs, Members of the Oireachtas, public representatives, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this Forum today.

I want to thank the IFA for having organised this event and for the invitation to speak and to your new General Secretary, Damian McDonald, thank you for your introduction and for having set the scene.

Brexit is the most complex economic, political and in some ways cultural challenge to face Ireland, the UK, and the broader European Union in many generations.

It is an era-defining issue that we must each approach from a variety of interconnected perspectives. From the perspective of protecting the business foundations of the Irish and EU farming and agri-food sector; from the perspective of building a 27-member CAP without the UK; and of course, from the perspective of Irish citizens wanting the best for their families and the nation.

Read here Address by Phil Hogan

 


23/04/2017

BREXIT EVENT IN GOFFS TOMORROW STARTS IMPORTANT WEEK FOR IFA CAMPAIGN

More than 600 farmers will pack into Goffs in Kildare tomorrow at the beginning of an important week for IFA’s Brexit campaign. EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan will hear a clear message on the outcome needed from the negotiations for the farming and food sectors.

On Thursday this week, Joe Healy will travel to Brussels to build support among farm leaders from across Europe for IFA’s campaign. The President of COPA, Martin Merrild will attend IFA’s Brexit event in Goffs and will have heard first-hand the concerns of Irish farmers.

As part of IFA’s campaign on Brexit, Joe Healy has already met Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, and the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Meanwhile, the IFA President has welcomed the positive outcome from Friday’s meeting between Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte and the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen.  Read statement in full

 

 


Brexit

13/04/2017

BREXIT:  IFA MEETS EU CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR MICHEL BARNIER IN BRUSSELS

An IFA delegation led by President Joe Healy met with The EU’s Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels this week.

The IFA President set out IFA’s Brexit priorities as spelled out in the recently launched policy document Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers and the Agri-food sector.

Speaking following the meeting, Joe Healy said the engagement had been very constructive, “It is clear that Mr. Barnier and his team have a very good understanding of Irish agriculture and the very real threats posed by Brexit,” he said.

Read Full Statement here

 


 27/04/2017

General Affairs Council (Article 50) – Luxembourg

Agenda highlights

The Council, meeting in an EU 27 format, will prepare for the European Council (Art.50) on 29 April 2017  by discussing the draft guidelines for the Brexit negotiations.

The guidelines, to be adopted by the European Council, will define the framework for negotiations with the UK and will set out the overall EU positions and principles.

This will be the first step in the Brexit process following the UK’s notification to the European Council of its intention to leave the EU, on 29 March 2017. The draft guidelines were submitted to the member states on 31 March 2017 by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

  06/04/2017

BREXIT: SUPPORT FROM EUROPEAN FARM ORGANISATIONS FOR IFA BREXIT POSITION

IFA Chief Economist Rowena Dwyer has outlined the acute impact Brexit could have on Irish and European agriculture to a meeting of European farming organisations and co-operatives.

Rowena Dwyer told the meeting of COPA/COGECA representatives that a negative outcome to Brexit would seriously damage European trade, and she sought the support of the European farming organisations for IFA’s position that, if the UK exits the Single Market and Customs Union, there must be a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and UK, which would include the following specific elements for agriculture and food:

  • Tariff-free trade for agricultural products and food;
  • Maintenance of equivalent standards on food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment; and
  • Application of the Common External Tariff for imports to both the EU and UK.

Read Statement in full here

  06/04/2017

BREXIT:  IFA’S ANGUS WOODS IN BRUSSELS ON BEEF MARKETS, BREXIT AND BRAZIL

Speaking at the EU Commission Civil Dialogue Meeting in Brussels on beef this week, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said:

Brexit impact

Angus Woods said IFA highlighted the impact of Brexit on the Irish beef sector, pointing out that in the second half of 2016 producers took a price hit of €150m, mainly as a result of the Sterling devaluation.

He said IFA make it clear at the meeting that no other Member State, and no other sector, is as exposed in Brexit negotiations. The UK is our closet market, of high value, with similar preferences. He said the IFA has identified that, if the UK exits the Single Market and Customs Union, there must be a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and UK, which would include the following specific elements: Tariff-free trade for agricultural products and food, maintenance of equivalent standards on food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment, and the application of the Common External Tariff for imports to both the EU and UK.

The IFA Livestock Chairman said the UK is the market for 50% of Irish beef exports. “It’s a high-value market and consistently pays above the EU average. Any reduction in access to, or the value of, the UK market would have a very negative impact on the Irish beef sector, and potentially the overall European beef market.”

Read full statement here

05/04/2017

BREXIT: EP POLITICAL GROUPS SET OUT PRIORITIES

Leaders of the European Parliament political groups set out their priorities in the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Any agreement on the withdrawal will need to win the approval of the House and the crucial role of MEPs during the negotiations was underlined by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who also took part in the debate.

Opening the debate, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said that “Parliament’s vote will be decisive for the final outcome of the conditions for the UK’s withdrawal and for future EU-UK relations. The recent terrorist attacks make it clear that all European countries will need to continue working closely with each other.”

Read Statement in full here

05/04/2017

BREXIT: SPEECH BY PRESIDENT JUNCKER AT THE EP PLENARY SESSION

President Juncker at the EP Plenary session on the negotiations with the UK following its notification to withdraw from the European Union

Mister President, Buongiorno, Honourable Members, Mister President of the Council, Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no better place to start the debate on our negotiations with the United Kingdom, than in the place where they are supposed to end in less than two years’ time.

Read Speech in full here


05/04/2017

BREXIT: STATEMENT BY MICHAEL BARNIER AT THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Ladies and Gentlemen, Presidents, thank you for allowing me to speak before the European Parliament today.

Complementing President Juncker’s speech, and thanking him for his confidence, let me start by congratulating the excellent work done – under the auspices of President Tajani and all the political groups – by Guy Verhofstadt and his team, with whom I have cooperated closely since I started in this role.

Your Resolution will be the first political stand taken by a European Institution following the notification letter sent last week by the government of the United Kingdom to the President of the European Council.

With this Resolution you will set the tone by speaking to the British government, the governments of the 27 but also – and especially – to European citizens.

And it goes without saying that I also understand the message you wish to pass to me, as negotiator.

Our common objective is to succeed in this negotiation – that means reaching an agreement.

There are three pre-conditions for that to happen:

Read Statement in full here

 


04/04/2017

BREXIT: MEPS TO PUT PEOPLE FIRST DURING NEGOTIATIONS

The UK and the EU will soon start talks to determine the terms of their new relationship and any resulting agreement would have to be approved by the European Parliament. Tomorrow MEPs debate Parliament’s priorities and vote on them afterwards. A key principle will be to ensure that the interests of people are safeguarded . Watch our video for a reminder of the benefits of being an EU citizen.

On 29 March the UK triggered article 50, signalling the start of lengthy negotiations between the UK and the EU. One of the key issues is what will happen to the Brits living in the EU and the EU citizens living in the UK. The draft resolution to be voted on tomorrow calls for their fair treatment and says that their interests should be given full priority in the negotiations. It also adds that that their status and rights should be subject to the principles of “reciprocity, equity” and “non-discrimination”.  Read Statement in full here

Follow the debate and the vote live


31/03/2017

BREXIT DRAFT GUIDELINES

Remarks by President Donald Tusk on the next steps following the UK notification

Good morning. First of all I would like to thank Prime Minister Muscat for his hospitality and the extraordinary job already done by the Maltese presidency. A steady, solid and superb rotating Presidency of the Council is even more important in times like these. So thank you again for your work, Joseph.

The main point on our agenda was obviously Brexit.

Today my task is to propose the draft negotiating guidelines on Brexit to the 27 EU leaders. To the 27, because from Wednesday, after triggering Article 50, the United Kingdom is now on the other side of the negotiating table. We have worked very fast, because, as you know, the Treaty gives us only two years to reach an agreement.

More information:

XT210001/17: DRAFT GUIDELINES following the UK’s notification under ARTICLE 50 TEU

Remarks in full by President Donald Tusk on the next steps following the UK notification


31/03/2017

TRADE MUST BE A CORE ISSUE IN BREXIT DISCUSSION ON BORDER – IFA

Commenting on the draft guidelines on Brexit negotiations, issued today by the European Council, IFA President Joe Healy said EU recognition of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, and the stated aim of avoiding a hard border, are very welcome, and a resolution to trade issues must be central in this.

He said it is critical to avoid disruption to trade in the farming and food sector, which would seriously damage farmers’ livelihoods and agri-food businesses, not only in border counties, but across the island of Ireland.

“The best way to avoid disruption to trade is for the UK to remain in the Customs Union. If this is not possible, the EU and UK must negotiate a comprehensive free-trade agreement, which would maintain tariff-free trade for agricultural products and food and ensure equivalent standards in the areas of food safety, animal health and welfare. These must be priority issues in the discussions on the border.”

Joe Healy was speaking from Newcastle, Co. Down where he is attending a meeting of UK farm leaders hosted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union to discuss the implications of Brexit and to co-ordinate the approach of farm leaders to the negotiations. At the meeting, Joe Healy set out to the UK farm leaders the key priorities for farming and food in the IFA policy paper Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector.  Read Statement in full

 


Brexit Glossary

31/03/2017

 

IFA MEETS UK FARMING UNIONS ON BREXIT

IFA President Joe Healy is attending a meeting of UK farm leaders hosted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union in Co Down this afternoon to discuss the implications of Brexit and to co-ordinate the approach of farm leaders to the negotiations.

The meeting will be attended by the President of the UFU Barclay Bell, the NFU President Meurig Raymond, the NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick and the NFU Wales President Stephen James.

The IFA President will set out the key priorities for farming and food in the IFA policy paper Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector. Joe Healy said, “There is a strong awareness of the importance of the British market for our food exports, but the level of trade and co-operation between North and South is also significant. The shared land border and geographical closeness has led to the development of a highly-integrated agri-food sector, with large volumes in both finished products and products requiring further processing”.

There is a strong view among all farm leaders of the importance of placing our issues at the top of the agenda. We will be working closely as the Brexit negotiations evolve to insist that our political leaders have farming and food at the heart of the discussions.

Read Statement in full

 


29/04/2017

Brexit: Special European Council (Article 50) on 29 April

The special European Council, in an EU 27 format, will adopt the guidelines for the Brexit negotiations.

 

 

 


29/03/2017 

BREXIT: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEPS SET OUT CONDITIONS FOR APPROVING UK WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT

The Conference of Presidents endorsed a motion for a resolution drawn up by the leaders of four political groups and the Constitutional Affairs Committee, in which they set out their conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the United Kingdom. The draft resolution will be debated and voted on by the full house next Wednesday.

The motion attaches great importance to fair treatment of EU-27 citizens and stresses the need for reciprocity and non-discrimination between UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK.


29/03/17  

BREXIT: STATEMENT BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON THE UK NOTIFICATION UNDER ARTICLE 50

Statement by the European Council 1

Today, the European Council received a letter from the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, notifying the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the European Union. This notification follows the referendum of 23 June 2016 and starts the withdrawal process under Article 50 of the Treaty. We regret that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, but we are ready for the process that we now will have to follow.

For the European Union, the first step will now be the adoption of guidelines for the negotiations by the European Council. These guidelines will set out the overall positions and principles in light of which the Union, represented by the European Commission, will negotiate with the United Kingdom. More information here

 

 


29/03/17  

BREXIT: ARTICLE 50 – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

(Read full statement here)

What is Article 50?

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the procedure for a Member State to withdraw from the European Union, if it should wish to do so. It was first introduced by the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

How does a Member State trigger Article 50?

A Member State must notify the European Council of its intention to leave. There are no particular requirements regarding the form.

What happens once Article 50 has been triggered?

The withdrawal agreement must be negotiated in accordance with Article 218 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 

 


29/03/17  


BREXIT: GOVERNMENT MUST PUT FARMING & FOOD AT CENTRE OF BREXIT BATTLEGROUND – IFA

IFA President Joe Healy has said farming and food will have to be centre stage in the Irish Government’s position as the formal negotiations on Brexit begin.

“The implications are very serious for our largest indigenous industry given the significance of the UK market for our food exports. No sector faces a greater threat from Brexit and we expect a strong negotiating stance by our political leaders to achieve the best outcome for Irish farming.”

Joe Healy said the triggering of Article 50 today must concentrate the minds of everybody to deliver a deal that prioritises the core economic issues.

It must clearly set out a framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK. The IFA President has met the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to set out the key priorities for farming and food in the IFA policy paper Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector.

“The Minister understands our position in and is acutely aware of the importance of placing our issues at the top of the agenda. IFA wants to maintain the closest possible trading relationship between the UK and EU, while preserving the value of the UK market; and a strong CAP budget following the UK’s departure, which is critical for farm incomes, farm output and economic activity in rural Ireland.”  Statement in full here

 


   24 April 2017

IFA will hold a major Brexit event on Monday, 24th April in Goffs, Co Kildare.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, IFA representatives and industry leaders will speak at the event.

Find out more or book your place here!


Read what IFA has to say on Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector

 


24/03/17  

BREXIT TIMELINE

Theresa May’s government will on March 29 inform the EU of its intention to leave the Union.

A meeting of EU Ambassadors will follow on March 31, with the EU’s draft negotiating guidelines to be ready for final consultation on April 19.

Ministers will meet for the first time on April 27 in Luxembourg, and national leaders at a scheduled EU27 Summit in Brussels on April 29.

 


IFA Brexit Conference with FBD

23/03/17  


BREXIT CANNOT DERAIL FARMING & FOOD GROWTH TARGETS

Speaking at the ASA debate on Brexit in Kilkenny this afternoon, IFA President Joe Healy dismissed any suggestion of diluting growth targets for the farming and food industry because of Brexit. He said, “Food Wise 2025 sets out ambitious targets based on our capacity to expand production. It would be extremely shortsighted to jettison clear objectives at this point”. Read statement in full here


22/03/17    

SPEECH BY MICHEL BARNIER, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR ON BREXIT

Speech by Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom, at the plenary session of the European Committee of the Regions

The first condition is the unity of the 27, which goes hand in hand with transparency and public debate. Since I took up office on 1 October, I have met the governments of all 27 Member States. Over the past few weeks, I have started a second tour of the capitals to meet the governments again, as well as the national parliaments, trade unions and professional organisations. Read  Speech by Michel Barnier

 

 

21/03/17  

EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT TUSK CALL A EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON BREXIT FOR 29 APRIL

In view of what was announced in London yesterday, I would like to inform you that I will call a European Council, in an EU27 format (without the UK), on Saturday 29th April 2017 to adopt the guidelines for the Brexit talks,” said President Tusk at the press briefing with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe on 21 March 2017.

“As you all know, I personally wish the UK hadn’t chosen to leave the EU, but the majority of British voters decided otherwise. Therefore, we must do everything we can to make the process of divorce the least painful for the EU, ” said Tusk.

He highlighted that the main priority for the negotiations must be to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for all citizens, companies and member states that will be negatively affected by Brexit as well as for the Eu’s important partners and friends around the world.

EU and the UK after the referendum on 23 June

20/03/17  

BREXIT: ARTICLE 50: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT ?

 

It has been announced today that Article 50 will be triggered by the UK on Wednesday 29 March.

To help understand the next steps in this process, here is a short information note to Article 50 – what is it, what happens next, and who is involved.

Read the Irish Government’s information note on Article 50 here.

20/03/17  

THERESA MAY WILL TRIGGER ARTICLE 50 ON 29 MARCH

Britain is exiting the 28-country EU bloc, which it joined in 1973. Initially envisaged as a free-trade zone that now includes 500 million consumers, the EU is, in the eyes of many Britons, too bureaucratic, too expensive and an obstacle to stopping mass immigration.

Negotiation procedure

At their informal meeting of December 2016, the 27 leaders agreed on the following procedure for upcoming Brexit talks:

  1. UK triggers Article 50 by notifying the European Council of its intention to leave.
  2. The EU 27 leaders adopt ‘guidelines’, including principles and general positions, for negotiations. They will update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations, as necessary.
  3. Following a recommendation by the Commission, the General Affairs Council authorises the opening of negotiations.
  4. The Council adopts negotiating directives on substance and on the detailed institutional arrangements. These may be amended and supplemented throughout the negotiations.
  5. The Council will appoint the Commission as the Union negotiator who will negotiate on behalf of the 27. The Commission nominated Michel Barnier as chief negotiator. It will report back to leaders and to the Council throughout the negotiation and will also keep the European Parliament “closely and regularly informed”.
  6. The Council and its preparatory bodies will ensure that negotiations are conducted in line with guidelines provided by the EU 27. It will provide guidance to the Commission.

17/03/17

IMPACT AND CONSEQUENCES OF BREXIT FOR NORTHERN IRELAND

Upon request by the AFCO Committee, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned a briefing on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on Northern Ireland, the part of the UK most distinctly affected by Brexit. The briefing analyses the implications of Brexit on the Northern Irish economy and on the freedom of movement from the establishment of a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic. It examines the possible consequences of Brexit on the relations between communities in Northern Ireland and well as between the UK and the Republic. It looks into the implications of Brexit on the Good Friday Agreement and examines possible bespoke deals between the UK and Irish governments on Northern Ireland following Brexit. Read Report here

 

16/03/17  

BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE LEGAL, POLITICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL SITUATION IN THE UK

Upon request by the AFCO Committee, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned an in-depth analysis on the political and institutional situation in the United Kingdom following the referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The research analyses the post-Brexit political developments in the UK, the various parameters that should be taken into account, by both the UK government and the 27, in view of the Article 50 negotiations and the possible shape of …

Upon request by the AFCO Committee, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned an in-depth analysis on the political and institutional situation in the United Kingdom following the referendum on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The research analyses the post-Brexit political developments in the UK, the various parameters that should be taken into account, by both the UK government and the 27, in view of the Article 50 negotiations and the possible shape of the final deal and the future economic relationship, taking into account the EU obligations and the constraints of Theresa May’s government.  Read the In-Depth Analysis here


15/03/17  

BREXIT: IRELAND’S PRIORITIES

The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union presents unprecedented political, economic and diplomatic challenges for Ireland. Challenges that extend right across the policy spectrum.

This information booklet, Brexit: Ireland’s Priorities, outlines the Irish Government’s main priorities and concerns ahead of the Brexit negotiations.

This booklet has been produced in advance of the triggering of Article 50 and to coincide with the ministerial travel programme for St Patrick’s Day.  More detailed negotiation priorities will follow after the triggering of Article 50 by the UK.

You can read the information guide online  or can download a printable version here.

 

Brexit Priorities

08/03/17  

GOVERNMENT & EU BREXIT POSITION HAS TO PUT FARMING FIRST

Launching IFA’s policy Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector in Dublin today, IFA President Joe Healy said the implications for Irish agriculture are so serious that farming has to be first in the Government’s negotiating position.

Joe Healy said the threat of Brexit is the most significant challenge facing our farming and food sector in the history of the State, with 40% of our food exports going to the UK. He said farmers expect our Government to launch a major diplomatic offensive at EU level that places our issues at the heart of the negotiations.

Simply put, no other Member State and no other sector is as exposed in these negotiations.

“UK is our closet market, of high value with similar preferences. The implications of a hard Brexit are stark: the ESRI estimates a potential reduction of EU trade to the UK of over 60% for dairy and 85% for meat. Translating this to an Irish context would mean a fall of €1.5bn in meat exports, with dairy exports falling by over €600m.”

Irish farming and the agri-food sector is particularly vulnerable to Brexit due to:

  • A high dependence on the UK market;
  • High EU tariff protection applying to major agricultural products;
  • The land border with Northern Ireland, with the potential to disrupt trade flows, and undermine animal health co-operation; and
  • The importance of the CAP budget to farm income – UK a net contributor

Joe Healy said IFA is clear that farming and food must be top of the Brexit agenda, not only in Ireland, but at EU level. “With 22 million farmers and 40 million related jobs, there is a wider strategic objective here to maximise the future value of the EU farming and food sector.”

The key priorities for the farming and the food sector are the maintenance of the closest possible trading relationship between the UK and EU, while preserving the value of the UK market; and a strong CAP budget following the UK’s departure, which is critical for farm incomes, farm output and economic activity in rural Ireland.

Specifically, IFA has identified that, if the UK exits the Single Market and Customs Union, there must be a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and UK, which would include the following specific elements for agriculture and food:

  •  Tariff-free trade for agricultural products and food;
  • Maintenance of equivalent standards on food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment; and
  • Application of the Common External Tariff for imports to both the EU and UK.

IFA Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the UK is the market for 50% of Irish beef exports. “It’s a high-value market and consistently pays above the EU average. Any reduction in access to, or the value of the UK market, would have a very negative impact on the Irish beef sector, and potentially the overall European beef market.”

IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy said one-third of dairy exports went to the UK in 2016. Our cheddar cheese volumes of 78,000 tonnes represented 82% of all cheddar imported by the UK last year. “Retention of tariff-free access is critically important, particularly for cheddar exports. The loss of this, or indeed any negative impact on access, could have a destabilising impact on the overall value of the Irish dairy sector.”

IFA’s Project Team led by the President Joe Healy will be undertaking high level contacts with the Oireachtas, Government Departments, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament in the coming months. IFA will also be engaging with the wider agri-food sector and with farming organisations across Europe.

IFA Director General Damian McDonald announced that Elaine Farrell has been appointed IFA’s Brexit co-ordinator for the campaign.

IFA will hold a major Brexit event on Mon, 24th April next. EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, IFA representatives and industry leaders will speak at the event in Goffs, Co Kildare. Find out more or book your place here!

Read the full IFA Position Paper on Brexit

More information on Brexit

BREXIT CONFUSION? TAKE A LOOK AT THE IFA GLOSSARY



17/01/17

BREXIT AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

This study, requested by the Committee on Consitutional Affairs, examines the Political and Instiutional steps taken, or to be taken, both by the UK and the EU in the context of the the Brexit Referendum vote.

Full study here

 

01/01/17  

BREXIT – THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EU FINANCIAL SERVICES

This briefing describes the prominent role of the UK in the single market for financial services, and highlights which activities rely today on passporting for their daily business with the other 27 Member States. The briefing relies on publicly available information, including secondary sources, such as analytical papers done by research institutes and private sector companies. The briefing may be regularly updated pending new information.

Full report here

 

BREXIT: BRIEFING ON ARTICLE 50 – WITHDRAWAL OF A MEMBER STATE FROM THE EU

The right of a Member State to withdraw from the European Union was introduced for the first time with the Lisbon Treaty; the possibility of withdrawal was highly controversial before that.  Article 50 TEU does not set down any sustantive conditions for a Member State to be able to exercise its right to withdraw, rather it includes only procedural requirements.  It provides for the negotiation of a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the withdrawing state, defining in particular the latter’s future relationship with the Union. If no agreement is concluded within two year, that stat’es membership ends automatically, unless the European Council and the Member State concerned decide jointly to extend this period.

Full Briefing here

 

 


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