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PM statement on EU negotiations 11 Dec 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May updated the House of Commons on 11 December 2017, regarding negotiations for the UK’s departure from the EU.

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the negotiations for our departure from the European Union.

On Friday morning the government and the European Commission published a Joint Report on progress during the first phase. On the basis of this report – and following the discussions I held throughout last week – President Juncker is recommending to the European Council that sufficient progress has now been made to move to the next stage and begin talks on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. And President Tusk has responded positively by proposing guidelines for the next phase of the negotiations.

I want to pay tribute to my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and our whole negotiating team for their calm and professional approach to these negotiations.

We have argued robustly and clearly for the outcomes we seek. A fair and reciprocal deal that will guarantee the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK and a million UK nationals living in the EU – so they can carry on living their lives as before. A fair settlement of the accounts, meeting our rights and obligations as a departing member state – in the spirit of our future partnership. And a commitment to maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland; to uphold the Belfast Agreement in full; and to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland while upholding the constitutional and economic integrity of the whole United Kingdom.

Let me set out for the House the agreements we have now reached in each of these areas.

Tusk – Draft Guidelines for Phase 2 Negotiations

Statement by President Donald Tusk on the draft guidelines for the second phase of the Brexit negotiations following release of the Joint Report on negotiations in Phase 1 presented on 8 December 2017.

This morning, I received the confirmation from our negotiators that sufficient progress has been made. This allows me to present the draft guidelines for the December European Council, which I have just sent to the leaders. My proposals are the following.

First, we should start negotiating the transition period, so that people and businesses have clarity about their situation. As you know, the UK has asked for a transition of about two years, while remaining part of the Single Market and Customs Union. And we will be ready to discuss this, but naturally, we have our conditions. I propose that during this period, the UK will respect:

The whole of EU law, including new law;
It will respect budgetary commitments;
It will respect judicial oversight;
All the related obligations.

Clearly, within the transition period following the UK’s withdrawal, EU decision-making will continue among the 27 member states, without the UK.

All of what I have said seems to be the only reasonable solution, and it is in the interest of all our citizens that it is agreed as soon as possible. This is why I will ask the EU leaders to mandate our negotiator to start these talks immediately.

Second, we want to begin discussions with the UK in order to explore the British vision of its future relationship with the EU. So far, we have heard a number of various ideas. We need more clarity on how the UK sees our future relations, after it has left the Single Market and Customs Union. I therefore propose to mandate our negotiator to start exploratory talks with our British friends about this problem. On our side, we are ready to start preparing a close EU-UK partnership in trade, but also in the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security, defence and foreign policy. For this to happen, the European Council will have to adopt additional guidelines next year.

While being satisfied with today’s agreement, which is obviously the personal success of Prime Minister Theresa May, let us remember that the most difficult challenge is still ahead. We all know that breaking up is hard. But breaking up and building a new relationship is much harder. Since the Brexit referendum, a year and a half has passed. So much time has been devoted to the easier part of the task. And now, to negotiate a transition arrangement and the framework for our future relationship, we have de facto less than a year.

Thank you

Details of the Draft Guidlines sent to the Council of the European Union for consideration have been mentioned at

Politico EU

https://www.politico.eu/article/tusk-puts-forward-guidelines-for-phase-2-talks/

and Reuters

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-text/eu-draft-guidelines-on-brexit-transition-and-a-future-relationship-with-britain-idUSKBN1E20WM

Today the Commission has stated that, in its assessment, “sufficient progress” has been reached in the first phase of negotiations. It will now be for Member States to appraise the results of the negotiations, and for the European Council on 15 December 2017 to decide whether it agrees that “sufficient progress” has been achieved. Should that be the case, the President of the European Council recommends these draft guidelines for adoption.’

A copy of the Draft Guidelines for Phase 2 is available

Draft GuidlinesDraft Guidlines

Barnier’s Statement at a Press Conference 8 December 2017

The statement by the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, at a press conference following the release of the joint report by the UK and EU negotiators on progress and agreements reached during the EU’s Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiation.

This statement indicates Michel Barnier’s and probably the EU’s, interpretation of the joint progress report. Is this the same as what we have been told in the UK?

(Translation from French to English using Google Translate – No apologies for the accuracy, or lack of it.)

Brussels, 8 December 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning,

Let me thank David Davis who had to travel back to London with the Prime Minister Theresa May.

Today, after six months of work, we have published a joint report which lists our points of agreement so far.

  • This document is detailed and precise.
  • I have always said that we wanted to be fully transparent to citizens and taxpayers. We need to be accountable, at every stage of the negotiations.
  • If the European Council agrees, and following the European Parliament’s resolution next week, this document could be the basis for the Withdrawal Agreement.

Let me be clear: there is still work to be done and negotiations on a number of issues, such as the governance of our agreement and Euratom. There are more hurdles to take.

We will need to have the final version of the Withdrawal Agreement ready by October 2018. Less than one year.

But at this turning point I want to pay tribute to the dedication of all members of both our teams and our coordinators Olly Robbins and Sabine Weyand. We have all worked very hard over the last few weeks, days and nights to achieve this first result.

This first result was also made possible by our very close work with the Council team, the 27 Member States and the European Parliament. On the EU side, we have all worked together, every single week since negotiations started.

On Wednesday, the President and I updated the College of Commissioners.

As President Juncker told you this morning, based on our agreement, his recommendation, my recommendation, and the recommendation of the College of Commissioners is that the progress achieved today is sufficient to move to the next phase. It is now up to the European Council to decide whether this constitutes sufficient progress, and to move the talks to the next stage.

We will then have completed the first chapter of this extraordinary negotiation.

My assessment of this first result, ladies and gentlemen, is based on the real progress on each of our three main issues.

This is a long post so by all means continue reading. Alternatively, the statement can be downloaded from

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-5186_en.htm

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-5186_en.pdf (pdf)

Junkers Statement at Press Conference 8 December 2017

The statement by EU President Juncker at the joint press conference with Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK following the release of the joint report by the UK and EU negotiators on progress and agreements reached during the EU’s Phase 1 of the Brexit negotiation.

Brussels, 8 December 2017

Prime Minister,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This morning, Prime Minister May and I had a meeting to take stock of progress since we met on Monday. I will not hide that in between Monday and this morning we had a lot of talks – the Prime Minister and myself; the Taoiseach and myself; the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister.

And that is the reason why I would like to thank the Prime Minister for her determination. I would also like to thank Michel Barnier and David Davis, as well as their teams, for the extremely hard and skilful work over the last weeks and months. We discussed the Joint Report agreed by the two negotiators. Prime Minister May has assured me that it has the backing of the UK Government. On that basis, I believe we have now made the breakthrough we needed.

Today’s result is of course a compromise. It is the result of a long and intense discussion between the Commission’s negotiators and those of the UK. As in any negotiation, both sides had to listen to each other, adjust their position, and show a willingness to compromise. This was a difficult negotiation for the European Union as well as for the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday, the College of Commissioners gave me a mandate to conclude the negotiation of the Joint Report. And it had to be concluded today – not next week – today because next week we will have the European Council and in order to allow our partners to prepare in the best way possible the meeting of the European Council we had to make the deal today. On the basis of that mandate, the Commission has just formally decided to recommend to the European Council that sufficient progress has now been made on the strict terms of the divorce.

Es wurden genügend Fortschritte erzielt, damit wir jetzt in die zweite Phase der Verhandlungen eintreten können.

– Sufficient progress has been made so that we can now enter the second phase of the negotiations.

Nous avons pu faire les progrès suffisants pour que désormais nous puissions entrer en deuxième phase de la négociation entre le Royaume-Uni et l’Union européenne à 27.

– We have been able to make sufficient progress so that we can now enter the second phase of the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union at 27.

The decision on sufficient progress will be in the hands of the 27 Heads of State or Government. I am hopeful, sure, confident – sure – that they will share our appraisal and allow us to move on to the next phase of the negotiations.

Last Monday I also met with the European Parliament representatives. From the start of this process, cooperation between the European Parliament and the Commission has been close and our positions closely aligned. These negotiations can only be successful if we take an inclusive approach; that is exactly what we did.

Without going into all of the detail, allow me to touch on what today’s agreements mean in practice. Later on today, at 09:30, my friend Michel Barnier will be available to explain all the details of the agreement we reached today.

A few remarks on citizens’ rights first. In this negotiation, citizens have always come first. It has been of great importance for the Commission to make sure that EU citizens in the UK will be protected after the UK leaves the European Union. EU citizens have made important life choices on the assumption that the United Kingdom was a member of the European Union. Brexit created great uncertainty for those citizens and for their families. Today, we bring back the certainty. The Commission’s negotiators have made sure that the choices made by EU citizens living in the UK will be protected. We have made sure that their rights will remain the same after the UK has left the European Union. This is in particular the case for: EU citizens’ right to live, work and study; EU citizens’ right to family reunification; the protection of the rights of EU citizens’ children; and the right to healthcare, pensions and other social security benefits. We have made sure that the administrative procedures will be cheap and will be simple. This is an issue to which the Commission will pay particular attention when drafting the withdrawal agreement.

The same goes for UK citizens living in the EU27.

On the settling of accounts, the Prime Minister said in her remarkable Florence speech that the United Kingdom would honour its commitments, including beyond 2020. This was a detailed, line-by-line process but she has been as good as her word. She was negotiating in a gentlemanly manner, and I am very grateful, Prime Minister, for that.

On Ireland, the EU has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement. The European Union has made it a priority to protect the peace process on the island. I have been in regular contact with the Taoiseach over the last days, including last night and including the last negotiations we had in the course of yesterday with our Irish friends. The UK has made significant commitments on the avoidance of a hard border after its withdrawal from the European Union. All of the EU27 stand firmly behind Ireland and behind the peace process.

Let me be clear: we still have a lot of work to do.

The Joint Report is not the withdrawal agreement. That agreement still needs to be drafted by the negotiators on the basis we have agreed yesterday and today, and then approved by the Council and ratified by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament.

534 days ago, the British people voted to leave the European Union. 249 days ago the United Kingdom notified its intention to leave the European Union. And in 477 days the United Kingdom will do just that.

I will always be sad about this development. But now we must start looking to the future. A future in which the United Kingdom will be and will remain a close friend and ally. The Prime Minister and I discussed the need for a transitional period. And we dedicated much of our meeting to our joint vision of a deep and close partnership. It is crucial for us all that we continue working closely together on issues such as trade, research, security and others.

We will take things one step at a time – starting with next week’s European Council. But today, I am hopeful that we are now all moving towards the second phase of these challenging negotiations. And we can do this jointly on the basis of trust, renewed trust, determination and with the perspective of a renewed friendship.

Thank you.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-5181_en.htm

Comments

Today’s result is of course a compromise.

I’m not sure of exactly what the EU negotiating team has compromised on. The majority of the compromises seem to have been made by the UK’s negotiating team with there being little evidence of any compromises made by the EU negotiating team.

Theresa May – Commitments to Northern Ireland

Following the publication of the joint report between the Government of the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the EU on the progress of negotiations in Phase 1, Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement on the Commitments to Northern Ireland.

COMMITMENTS TO NORTHERN IRELAND

Today I agreed a joint report between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union on the progress of our negotiations.

This covered the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens in the EU; our financial settlement with the EU; and ruling out a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

This progress now enables the UK Government to move to the next phase of negotiations. This next phase will focus on securing the deep and special partnership between the United Kingdom and European Union that we all want to see.

As a Prime Minister who hugely values Northern Ireland’s position within our United Kingdom – and believes passionately that the United Kingdom is stronger and better together – I want to set out six key commitments to Northern Ireland, principles that have guided me in the negotiations with the EU.

These commitments are consistent with our steadfast support for the Belfast Agreement and its successors; the principles that underpin them; the institutions they establish; and, the rights and opportunities they guarantee for everyone. This Government will continue to govern in the interests of the whole community in Northern Ireland and uphold the Agreements that have underpinned the huge progress that has been made over the past two decades.

First, we will always uphold and support Northern Ireland’s status as an integral part of the United Kingdom, consistent with the principle of consent. The Government I lead will never be neutral when it comes to expressing our support for the Union.

Second, we will fully protect and maintain Northern Ireland’s position within the single market of the United Kingdom. This is by far the most important market for Northern Ireland’s goods and services and you will continue to have full and unfettered access to it.

Third, there will be no new borders within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In addition to no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, we will maintain the Common Travel Area throughout these islands.

Fourth, the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, will leave the EU customs union and the EU single market. Nothing in the agreement I have reached alters that fundamental fact.

Fifth, we will uphold the commitments and safeguards set out in the Belfast Agreement regarding North-South Co-operation. This will continue to require cross-community support.

Sixth, the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, will no longer be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

These negotiations are crucial for the future of Northern Ireland and the whole United Kingdom. Whether you voted Leave or Remain, I am determined to deliver an outcome that works in the best interests of everyone across the United Kingdom.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-commitments-to-northern-ireland

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/665870/prime-ministers-commitments-to-northern-ireland.pdf (pdf)

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