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Statement by Michel Barnier, 7 September 2017

by Politicker 0 Comments

Following publication of a number of Position Papers, which outline the position EU negotiators are taking in various topics, Michel Barnier, chief negotiator on behalf of the EU, held a press conference and made the following statement

(It is important to understand the French spoken at these conferences as there are often additional important comments made which aren’t expressed in English, and I can thank Google Translate for helping in this respect)

Brussels, 7 September 2017

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.

Just one word first:

J’attache beaucoup d’importance à la sincérité et à la qualité de notre dialogue avec les Etats membres, dont je suis aussi le négociateur, et avec le Parlement européen. Et donc ces quelques heures, à peine une journée dont nous avons besoin pour les informer est extrêmement importante.

Pour le reste, je connais bien ce qui se passe habituellement dans les institutions européennes à propos de ces fuites, et voilà pourquoi j’ai, depuis le début de ma mission, clairement souhaité pratiquer la transparence, qui sera générale, sous la réserve de ce que je vous ai dit au début. Et je préfère de très loin cette transparence aux fuites, de telle sorte que nous soyons, vous et moi, davantage à égalité et que vous-même, entre vous, vous soyez à égalité.

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.

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.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Sur l’Irlande comme sur les droits des citoyens et sur le règlement financier, nous avons besoin de progrès suffisants pour avancer.
On Ireland as well as on Citizens Rights and the Financial Settlement, we need sufficient progress in order to move forward.

Vous voyez dans notre papier aujourd’hui quelle est notre définition des “progrès suffisants”, quels sont les progrès politiques que nous devons accomplir en ce qui concerne l’Irlande.
You see in our paper today what our definition of “sufficient progress” is, what political progress we have to make in relation to Ireland.

Une fois cette étape franchie, nous rédigerons avec le Royaume-Uni le Traité organisant son retrait ordonné.
Once this step is over, we will draft with the United Kingdom the Treaty organizing its orderly withdrawal.

Ce Traité, au titre de l’article 50, doit être évidemment précis. Il doit créer de la sécurité juridique sur tous les sujets où le Brexit a créé et crée de l’incertitude, sur nos trois sujets prioritaires, mais aussi sur des sujets techniques que les négociations doivent clarifier dans les prochains mois.
This Treaty, under Article 50, must of course be precise. It must create legal certainty on all subjects in which Brexit created and creates uncertainty, on our three priority subjects, but also on technical subjects that the negotiations must clarify in the coming months.

Pour atteindre cette sécurité et cette précision juridique, nous publions aujourd’hui quatre papiers présentant nos positions sur les droits de propriété intellectuelle, les douanes, la protection des données échangées avant le retrait et les marchés publics.
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.

Au total, nous avons publié depuis le mois de juin 14 papiers qui couvrent les sujets du retrait ordonné du Royaume-Uni.
In total, since June 14 we have published 14 papers which cover the subjects of the orderly withdrawal from the United Kingdom.

Et je veux dire qu’il est positif, de mon point de vue, que le Royaume-Uni publie également de nouvelles positions, y compris dans les jours qui viennent. Nous allons étudier ces papiers attentivement en travaillant sur ce qui relève du retrait ordonné et en gardant pour plus tard ce qui concerne la future relation.
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.

Ce qui nous importe, c’est que ces papiers soient suffisamment précis pour avancer concrètement.
What matters to us is that these papers are sufficiently precise to move forward concretely.

Mesdames et Messieurs,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Plus tôt nous constaterons des progrès suffisants, de vrais progrès, plus tôt nous commencerons à discuter parallèlement d’une éventuelle période de transition, si le Royaume-Uni la demande, et de notre future relation qui exigera un second traité.
The sooner we see sufficient progress, real progress, the sooner we will begin to discuss at the same time a possible transitional period, if requested by the United Kingdom, and our future relationship which will require a second treaty.

A travers ce second traité, nous voulons un accord ambitieux avec le Royaume-Uni, pas seulement pour faire du commerce mais aussi pour notre coopération nécessaire en matière de sécurité, de la lutte contre le terrorisme et de défense.
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.

Ce second traité doit être fondé et sera construit sur un équilibre de droits et d’obligations comme l’est chacun des accords que nous avons déjà conclus avec des pays tiers.
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.

Je pense par exemple à la Norvège, à l’Islande et au Liechtenstein, qui ont choisi d’être partie au marché unique, d’en accepter les règles, et qui contribuent financièrement à la cohésion européenne.
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.

Je pense aussi au Canada, avec lequel nous venons de négocier un accord de libre-échange très ambitieux, le CETA. Le Canada ne fait pas partie du marché intérieur. Il n’en a donc pas les opportunités ni les obligations.
I am also thinking of Canada, with whom we have just negotiated a very ambitious free trade agreement, CETA. Canada is not part of the domestic market. It does not have the opportunities or the obligations.

Chacun comprend bien qu’il n’est pas possible et qu’il ne sera pas possible pour un Etat tiers d’avoir en même temps les bénéfices du modèle norvégien et les faibles contraintes du modèle canadien.
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.

Et c’est à la lumière de ces principes, que le Royaume-Uni connait bien puisqu’il les applique depuis 44 ans, que nous attendons avec intérêt et que nous étudierons avec objectivité et, je vous le promets, de manière constructive les prochaines propositions du gouvernement britannique dont nous avons besoin pour progresser.
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.

Merci pour votre attention
Thank you for your attention

References

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-3145_en.pdf (pdf)

EU Position Papers – Sep 7 2017

The EU has published a number of Position Papers, which outline the positions held by the EU in various issues related to the Brexit negotiations, for discussion at the Council Working party (Art. 50) meeting held on 7 September 2017. These papers will be presented to the UK for future rounds of negotiation.

Papers cover the following topics:

Public Procurement (pdf)

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will create uncertainty in relation to administrative procedures in the area of public procurement on-going on the withdrawal date, as to which law should govern the completion of those procedures and how tenderers and contractors from the EU27 or the United Kingdom should be treated by contracting authorities from, respectively, the United Kingdom or the EU27 Member States.

The Withdrawal Agreement should ensure that administrative procedures in the area of public procurement on-going on the withdrawal date continue to be carried out in accordance with the relevant provisions of Union law until their completion, and in accordance with the principle of nondiscrimination.

Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland (pdf)

The European Council Guidelines following the United Kingdom’s notification under Article 50 TEU and the subsequent directives for the negotiation of an agreement with the United Kingdom on its withdrawal from the European Union include specific provisions relating to the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland (paragraphs 11 and 14 respectively). In its resolution of 5 April 2017, the European Parliament also recognises the unique position of and the special circumstances confronting the island of Ireland.

Issues unique to Ireland include the protection of the gains of the peace process and of the Good Friday Agreement (‘Belfast Agreement’) in all its parts, the maintenance of existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom and Ireland including the Common Travel Area, and specific issues arising from Ireland’s unique geographic situation, including the aim of avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The invisible border on the island of Ireland is one of the major achievements and societal benefits of the Peace Process. Border issues are broader than economic questions. The physical border itself was a symbol of division and conflict.

Customs related matters needed for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the Union (pdf)

As of the withdrawal date, the United Kingdom will no longer be part of the customs and tax (VAT and excise) territory of the Union. Consequently movements of goods between the UK and the EU 27 will constitute third country trade. The principles outlined in this paper aim to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union in respect of customs related matters.

Use of Data and Protection of Information Obtained or Processed before the Withdrawal Date (pdf)

It is recalled that the United Kingdom’s access to networks, information systems and databases established by Union law is, as a general rule, terminated on the date of withdrawal.

The United Kingdom or entities in the United Kingdom may keep and continue to use data or information received/processed in the United Kingdom before the withdrawal date and referred to below only if the conditions set out in this paper are fulfilled. Otherwise such data or information (including any copies thereof) should be erased or destroyed.

The principles set out in this paper should also apply, mutatis mutandis, to personal data, data or information which was received /processed by the United Kingdom or entities in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal date pursuant to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Intellectual property rights (including geographical indications) (pdf)

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will create uncertainty for UK and EU27 stakeholders alike in relation to the scope of protection in the United Kingdom of certain intellectual property rights; to the treatment of applications for certain rights and to the exhaustion of rights conferred by intellectual property rights. This uncertainty will significantly affect the conditions under which goods that are placed on the market in the Union before the withdrawal date could continue to circulate between the EU27 and the UK.

References

Negotiating documents on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

Brexit Talks – Update to UK Parliament on Sep 6 2017

David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, made a statement to the House of Commons on 5th September 2017 regarding negotiations with the EU which took place in July and August 2017.

The main topics discussed were

  • Citizens Rights
  • Separation issues
  • Ireland/Northern Ireland
  • Financial settlement

Citizens Rights

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.

While it appears that the EHIC scheme will be retained for UK citizens present in the EU and vice-versa at the time of Brexit, it is unclear, whether the current scheme will be continued for travellers from the UK to the EU and vice-versa following Brexit.

Joint technical papers have been published, following the discussions in July and August, which set out the respective positions of the UK and EU in more detail covering points of agreement, differing points of view and those requiring further discussion.

Joint technical note(s) on the comparison of EU-UK positions on citizens’ rights

Ireland/Northern Ireland

The negotiation Coordinators explored a number of issues, including both the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement and the Common Travel Area….

…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

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….

…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.

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…

…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.

The statement also includes brief comments on the issues of Governance and dispute resolution and the Future Partnership with the EU and mentions the Policy and Papers recently issued by the government.

The full statement is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/secretary-of-state-update-to-the-house-of-commons-on-eu-negotiations

UK Policy Paper – Collaboration on science and innovation

The UK has recently published a paper which outlines the UK’s objectives for a science and innovation agreement with the EU following Brexit.

The paper outlines a number of examples where the UK sees potential mutual benefit in a close working relationship between the UK and the EU, and invites discussion with the EU on how best to shape the future partnership in this area.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/collaboration-on-science-and-innovation-a-future-partnership-paper

There are many examples of collaboration betwwen the UK and the EU including work in

  • Medical Research
  • Collaboration with European partners through international (non-EU) organisations such as
    • EUREKA
    • This intergovernmental network helps mostly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe and around the world to collaborate on R&D across borders to bring innovative ideas to market. EUREKA has 41 European members and four non-European associate members.

    • European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN)
    • This is the European platform for collaboration on particle physics and the fundamental laws of nature. The UK was a founding member of CERN, which now includes membership from 22 countries, including Israel.

    • European Space Agency (ESA)
    • This agency is an international organisation with 22 Member States from across Europe. Canada also sits on the governing council and participates in some projects under a cooperation agreement.

    • European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)
    • This is one of six institutes of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). EMBL, which comprises 23 EU Member States, two associate members, and five additional funding partners, focuses on molecular biology research and services.

  • Collaboration through EU and European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) programmes

The UK is looking to agree a far-reaching science and innovation agreement with the EU that establishes a framework for future collaboration and would welcome dialogue with the EU reflecting the joint interest in promoting continued close cooperation, for the benefit of both UK and European prosperity.

Brexit Negotiations 3 – Press Conference

by Politicker

The usual press conference was held at the end of the 3rd Round of Brexit Negotiations between the UK and the EU, which were held from the 28th to the 31st Aug 2017.

As far as has been made public, talks (as dictated by the EU) have again centered on the topics of citizens’ rights, financial matters, Northern Ireland and Ireland, and on separation issues.

It is unclear how much, or if any, progress has actually been made.

Michel Barnier picked up on the recent news story that revealed how around 100 EU citizens in the UK had mistakenly received deportation orders and used this to stress that Citizens rights should be enforced under the control of the European Court of Justice.

It also appears that the UK has questioned the legal position of obligations demanded by the EU regarding the future financial responsibilities of the UK when they are no longer a member of the EU.

Both statements also mentioned good discussions were held regarding Ireland and Northern Ireland on the questions of the Common Travel Area and safeguarding the Good Friday agreement.

The full statement given by Michel Barnier is available at

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-3043_en.htm

The full statement made by David Davis is available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/david-davis-closing-remarks-at-the-end-of-the-third-round-of-eu-exit-negotiations-in-brussels

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