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EU Parliament priorities for Brexit

The EU Parliament have today released a document containing the motion “Motion for a resolution to wind up the debate on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship” which outlines priorities in the negotiations, from the EU Parliament’s point of view, for the UK’s exit from the EU.

It will be debated next Tuesday (13 March 2018) for a vote in Parliament next Wednesday (14 March 2018)

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION – to wind up the debate on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship (PDF)

The document has been prepared by the Brext Steering Group of the EU Parliament, led by Guy Verhofstadt – EU Parliament coordinator for Brexit.

It consists of 65 paragraphs, covering numerous topics, and mentions the possibility of creating an Association Agreement with the UK.

An EU Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU) and a non-EU country that creates a framework for co-operation between them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Association_Agreement

5. Reiterates that an association agreement negotiated and agreed between the EU and United Kingdom post-UK withdrawal pursuant to Article 8 TEU and Article 217 TFEU could provide an appropriate framework for the future relationship, and secure a consistent governance framework, which should include a robust dispute resolution mechanism, avoiding the inflation of bilateral agreements and the shortcomings which
characterise our relationship with Switzerland;

6. Proposes that this future relationship be based on the following four pillars:

– trade and economic relations
– foreign policy, security cooperation and development cooperation;
– internal security
– thematic cooperation

The EU Parliament does not have a formal role in the Brexit negotiations but it will have a binding vote on the eventual deal.

In a press release,

Press Release – Brexit: Parliament to set out its vision for future EU-UK relations

EU Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani said:

As far as the European Parliament is concerned, the principles governing our future relations are clear: single market integrity must be preserved, a third country cannot be treated more favourably than an EU member state and a level playing field is essential. Working from these guidelines, we want to achieve the closest possible relationship between the European Union and United Kingdom. Brexit will not solve shared issues such as terrorism and security, for instance, so close cooperation in many areas will continue to be of mutual interest.

Brexit negotiations have reached a critical stage, yet essential issues over citizens’ rights remain unresolved and solutions maintaining an invisible border on the island of Ireland are not forthcoming. Any type of border would jeopardise the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement and I insist that this must absolutely be avoided.

With regards to the transition period, the European Parliament is also clear that we will not approve an agreement that discriminates against European citizens who arrive in the UK during the latter. The acquis communautaire must apply fully, including on citizens’ rights.

EP coordinator for Brexit Guy Verhofstadt added:

In order to break the deadlock we now face, I believe it is important that the UK Government now seriously considers engaging with the European Parliament’s proposal for an association agreement, as catered for by Article 217 of the EU Treaty. I am convinced this will allow both the EU and the UK to unlock a lasting deep and special partnership for the future.

We look forward to receiving some further clarifications from the British Government regarding citizen’s rights, as a number of outstanding issues remain unresolved. We do not accept the United Kingdom’s negotiating position that maintains discriminations between EU citizens arriving before and after the start of the transition period. We hope the British Home Office can come to Brussels to present their proposal for a registration system for EU citizens in the UK, in the search for a solution.

Statement by Donald Tusk 07 March 2018

Donald Tusk made the following statement following the release of draft Guidelines which define the approach to be used by EU negotiators in forthcoming talks about the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

Statement by President Donald Tusk on the draft guidelines on the framework for the future relationship with the UK

Good afternoon.

I am very happy to be back in Luxembourg. And very happy to be here with my colleague and good friend, Prime Minister Bettel, to discuss the agenda of the March European Council.

Two hours ago, I sent the EU27 Member States my draft guidelines for our relations with the UK after Brexit. I’m here in Luxembourg to consult the Prime Minister on these guidelines that I hope will be adopted at our European Council in March. It is not a coincidence that once again I start my consultations ahead of a European Council meeting here in Luxembourg with Prime Minister Bettel. I really value your advice – always very constructive and responsible.

My proposal shows that we don’t want to build a wall between the EU and Britain. On the contrary, the UK will be our closest neighbour and we want to remain friends and partners also after Brexit. Partners that are as close as possible, just like we have said from the very first day after the referendum.

And, in this spirit, I propose close cooperation within the following areas.

Firstly, as we are confronted with similar security threats, I propose that the EU and the UK continue our common fight against terrorism and international crime. The increasing global instability requires our uninterrupted cooperation in defence and foreign affairs. It is about the security of our citizens, which must be preserved beyond Brexit.

Secondly, we invite the UK to participate in EU programmes in the fields of research and innovation, as well as in education and culture. This is key to maintain mutually beneficial and enriching personal networks in these vital areas, and for our community of values to prosper also in future.

Thirdly, I am determined to avoid that particularly absurd consequence of Brexit that is the disruption of flights between the UK and the EU. To do so, we must start discussions on this issue as soon as possible.

Now, coming to the core of our future economic relationship. During my talks in London last Thursday, and in her speech last Friday, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the UK will leave the Single Market, leave the customs union and leave the jurisdiction of the ECJ (European Court of Justice). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the only remaining possible model is a free trade agreement. I hope that it will be ambitious and advanced – and we will do our best, as we did with other partners, such as Canada recently – but anyway it will only be a trade agreement.

I propose that we aim for a trade agreement covering all sectors and with zero tariffs on goods. Like other free trade agreements, it should address services. And in fisheries, reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.

This positive approach doesn’t change the simple fact that because of Brexit we will be drifting apart. In fact, this will be the first FTA in history that loosens economic ties, instead of strengthening them. Our agreement will not make trade between the UK and the EU frictionless or smoother. It will make it more complicated and costly than today, for all of us. This is the essence of Brexit.

To sum up, we will enter the negotiations of the future relations with the UK with an open, positive and constructive mind, but also with realism. From my point of view, the outcome of the negotiations must pass two key tests:

– the test of balance of rights and obligations. For example, the EU cannot agree to grant the UK the rights of Norway with the obligations of Canada;

– the test of integrity of the Single Market. No Member State is free to pick only those sectors of the Single Market it likes, nor to accept the role of the ECJ only when it suits their interest. By the same token, a pick-and-mix approach for a non-member state is out of the question. We are not going to sacrifice these principles. It’s simply not in our interest.

Finally, a few words about another topic of the March summit. Following the announcement of President Trump, there is a risk of a serious trade dispute between the United States and the rest of the world, including the EU. President Trump has recently said, and I quote: “trade wars are good, and easy to win”. But the truth is quite the opposite: trade wars are bad, and easy to lose. For this reason, I strongly believe that now is the time for politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to act responsibly.

Given that President Trump’s announcement may have repercussions for our citizens and European businesses, not to mention the global economy, I will propose that the EU leaders have an extraordinary trade debate at the upcoming summit. We should have a clear objective in mind: to keep world trade alive. And, if necessary, to protect Europeans against trade turbulence, including by proportionate responses in accordance with the WTO.

Thank you.

EU “cherry-picking”

Donald Tusk today released details of Draft Guidelines which define the approach to be used by EU negotiators in forthcoming talks about the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.

A copy of the Draft Guidelines is mentioned in an article on the Poltico web-site

Donald Tusk rejects Theresa May’s Brexit vision

The guidelines appear to include their own red-lines

there can be no cherry-picking through participation based on a sector-by-sector approach

followed by their own “cherry picking”

“existing reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained”

It rejects the UK request for the UK to contribute to EU Agencies

“excludes participation of the United Kingdom as a third-country to EU Institutions, agencies or bodies”

and re-iterates the role of the ECJ

“The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be fully respected.”

The guidelines also outline the desire to work toward a FTA with the UK

“The European Council confirms its readiness to initiate work towards a free trade agreement (FTA), to be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State”

“With trade in goods subject to zero tariffs, trade in services, with the aim of allowing market access to provide services under host state rule, include ambitious provisions on movement of natural persons as well as a framework for the recognition of professional qualifications and protection of intellectual property rights, including geographical indications.”

There is also mention of the need for an agreement related to the aviation sector

“regarding aviation, the aim should be to ensure connectivity between the UK and the EU after the UK withdrawal. This would require an air transport agreement, combined with an aviation safety agreement, while ensuring a strong level playing field in a highly competitive sector”

The document has been released to the EU 27 for furhter discussion and revision before leaders of the remaining 27 EU states approve the plans at a summit in Brussels on 22 March 2018.

PM Mansion House Speech 2 March 2018

Today, 2 March 2018, at the Mansion House in London, Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech on the future economic partnership between the UK and the EU.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-on-our-future-economic-partnership-with-the-european-union

(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)

I am grateful to the Lord Mayor and all his team at the Mansion House for hosting us this afternoon.

And in the midst of the bad weather, I would just like to take a moment before I begin my speech today to thank everyone in our country who is going the extra mile to help people at this time. I think of our emergency services and armed forces working to keep people safe; our NHS staff, care workers, and all those keeping our public services going; and the many volunteers who are giving their time to help those in need. Your contribution is a special part of who we are as a country – and it is all the more appreciated at a moment like this.

Five tests
Now I am here today to set out my vision for the future economic partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union. There have been many different voices and views in the debate on what our new relationship with the EU should look like. I have listened carefully to them all. But as we chart our way forward with the EU, I want to take a moment to look back.

Eighteen months ago I stood in Downing Street and addressed the nation for my first time as Prime Minister. I made this pledge then, to the people that I serve:

I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best, and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle.

The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.

We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives.

When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you.

When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.

When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.

When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few.

We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

That pledge, to the people of our United Kingdom is what guides me in our negotiations with the EU.

And for me that means five things:

First, the agreement we reach with the EU must respect the referendum. It was a vote to take control of our borders, laws and money. And a vote for wider change, so that no community in Britain would ever be left behind again. But it was not a vote for a distant relationship with our neighbours.

Second, the new agreement we reach with the EU must endure. After Brexit both the UK and the EU want to forge ahead with building a better future for our people, not find ourselves back at the negotiating table because things have broken down.

Third, it must protect people’s jobs and security. People in the UK voted for our country to have a new and different relationship with Europe, but while the means may change our shared goals surely have not – to work together to grow our economies and keep our people safe.

Fourth, it must be consistent with the kind of country we want to be as we leave: a modern, open, outward-looking, tolerant, European democracy. A nation of pioneers, innovators, explorers and creators. A country that celebrates our history and diversity, confident of our place in the world; that meets its obligations to our near neighbours and far off friends, and is proud to stand up for its values.

And fifth, in doing all of these things, it must strengthen our union of nations and our union of people.

We must bring our country back together, taking into account the views of everyone who cares about this issue, from both sides of the debate. As Prime Minister it is my duty to represent all of our United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; north and south, from coastal towns and rural villages to our great cities.

So these are the five tests for the deal that we will negotiate.

  • Implementing the decision of the British people
  • reaching an enduring solution
  • protecting our security and prosperity
  • delivering an outcome that is consistent with the kind of country we want to be
  • bringing our country together, strengthening the precious union of all our people.
  • Donald Tusk speech at BusinessEurope 2018

    An extract, related to Brexit, from the speech given by Donald Tusk at Business Europe on 1 March 2018

    Brexit is indeed, as your programme puts it, the “one big question” that hangs over everything. Yesterday, Michel Barnier published a draft Withdrawal Agreement, which will be discussed by Member States in the coming days. But I am absolutely sure that all the essential elements of the draft will be accepted by all. I would like to underline here again that Mr Barnier has the full support of both the EU institutions and the EU27.

    Recently, London has definitively confirmed its red lines, including “no customs union” and “no single market”. We acknowledge these red lines without enthusiasm and without satisfaction. But we must treat them seriously. With all their consequences. And one of the possible negative consequences of this kind of Brexit is a hard border on the island of Ireland. The EU wants to prevent this scenario. Hence, if no other solution is found, the proposal to “establish a common regulatory area comprising the Union and the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland”. And, until now, no-one has come up with anything wiser than that. In a few hours I will be asking in London whether the UK government has a better idea, that would be as effective in preventing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Everyone must be aware that the UK red lines will also determine the shape of our future relationship. Next week I will present the draft guidelines in this respect. Here I want to stress one thing clearly. There can be no frictionless trade outside of the customs union and the Single Market. Friction is an inevitable side effect of Brexit. By nature. Thank you

    Keynote speech by President Donald Tusk at the BusinessEurope day

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