Read our update on the EU’s preparations for a no-deal departure of the UK:

diverging uk-eu

Political declaration for the UK-EU future relationship (22 November 2018)

Following on from the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, which was agreed in principle on the 14th November 2018, there is now a political declaration that outlines the future relationship between the United Kingdom and all 27 EU Member States. The framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom takes into account dimensions such as trade and tariffs, digital economy and security, and the service sector.

You can read the full political declaration HERE

A summary of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement (DWA), outlined by GOV.UK, can be read HERE

The negotiation process

The European Commission was appointed as the European Union’s 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”. The Commission’s aim will be to ensure a maximum level of transparency throughout the negotiations.

At a Special European Council on 29 April 2017, the EU27 leaders unanimously adopted guidelines for the Brexit talks ahead. These define the framework for negotiations and set out the overall EU positions and principles.

On 3 May the Commission presented to the Council a recommendation for a Council decision on the Brexit negotiations. It includes draft negotiating directives (detailed mandate for the Commission).

Following further talks between the EU and UK negotiators there was a revision of the Political Declaration and agreement designed to ensure no hard boarder within the island of Ireland and protect the peace process. The revised documents can be read HERE. The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration are now awaiting ratification by the UK and European Union.

Further background – How we got to where we are today.

1st phase of negotiations

On 22 May, the EU 27 leaders 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.

The first phase of negotiations focus on:

  • issues related to citizens’ rights
  • the financial settlement
  • the Northern Irish border
  • other separation issues

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.

On 20 October, the European Council (Article 50), in an EU 27 format, agreed to start internal preparations for the 2nd phase of the Brexit talks. The 27 EU leaders called for more progress on citizens’ rights, Ireland and the UK’s financial obligations. They also said that at their summit in December they would reassess the state of progress to determine whether “sufficient progress” has been achieved on each of the three above issues, in order to move to the second phase of negotiations.

On 8 December, the European Commission recommended to the European Council (Article 50) to conclude that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. The Commission’s assessment is based on a Joint Report agreed by the negotiators of the Commission and the United Kingdom Government, endorsed by Prime Minister Theresa May during a meeting with President Jean-Claude Juncker.

On 15 December, the European Council (Article 50) confirmed sufficient progress had been achieved and leaders adopted guidelines to move to the second phase of negotiations.