Press statement by Michel Barnier 29 January 2018

Press statement by Michel Barnier following the General Affairs Council (Article 50) on the adoption of negotiating directives on transitional arrangements.

(Frenglish provided courtesy of Google Translate)

Merci, chère Ekaterina Zaharieva, pour le très bon début de la Présidence bulgare. Je me permettrais aussi de dire un mot de remerciement pour toute l’équipe de la Présidence estonienne qui vient de se terminer.

Thank you, dear Ekaterina Zaharieva, for the very good start of the Bulgarian Presidency. I would also like to say a word of thanks to all the team of the Estonian Presidency that has just ended.

Je suis heureux de vous retrouver après cette réunion du Conseil, qui doit nous permettre de débuter la deuxième phase de cette négociation complexe et extraordinaire.

I am pleased to meet you after this Council meeting, which will allow us to begin the second phase of this complex and extraordinary negotiation.

Le 15 décembre dernier, sur la base du rapport conjoint, que le Président Juncker, la Première ministre Theresa May, David Davis et moi-même avons acté, le Conseil européen avait jugé le niveau de progrès suffisant dans la négociation. Et il avait invité la Commission à présenter une recommandation pour une période de transition limitée dans le temps et couvrant tout l’acquis.

On 15 December, on the basis of the joint report, which President Juncker, Prime Minister Theresa May, David Davis and I have taken, the European Council found the level of progress sufficient in the negotiations. And he had invited the Commission to make a recommendation for a transitional period of time and covering the whole acquis.

Un mois après cette recommandation, le Conseil a adopté très rapidement aujourd’hui des directives claires de négociation. J’y vois un nouveau signe de cette unité forte, sincère des 27 dans cette négociation. Et cette unité vaut pour les trois institutions, le Conseil, le Parlement européen et la Commission.

One month after this recommendation, the Council has adopted very clear negotiating directives very quickly today. I see a new sign of this strong, sincere unity of the 27 in this negotiation. And this unity applies to the three institutions, the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission.

Et je voudrais remercier Ekaterina Zaharieva et la Présidence bulgare d’avoir apporté leur première pierre à cette unité au début de cette année 2018.

And I would like to thank Ekaterina Zaharieva and the Bulgarian Presidency for bringing their first stone to this unit early this year 2018.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to say a few words on these new negotiation directives:

The EU position is very clear: the transition will last for 21 months, until 31 December 2020.

During this limited period of time, the whole EU acquis will continue to apply to the UK. As well as the full EU supervision and enforcement framework, under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

This will include new EU rules entering into force during this period. For one simple reason: during transition, the UK will continue to take part in the Single Market, the Customs Union and all Union policies. It will continue to have all the economic benefits. Therefore it must also apply all the EU rules. The Single Market cannot be “à la carte”.

This will ensure stability for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU. Their rights will remain unchanged until 31 December 2020. And we are determined to ensure that those who arrived before this date will benefit from the protection agreed in our Joint Report.

This will also ensure a level playing field and stability for businesses. They will not have to adapt twice. That said, it is high time to start preparing for those who have not done so yet.

However, the UK will no longer be an EU member on 29 March 2019. This will have consequences in terms of institutions and governance. After this date, the UK will no longer participate in the EU decision-making process.

Finally, one word on existing agreements with third countries during the transition:

As part of the transition, the UK will remain bound by the obligations stemming from all existing EU international agreements, for instance on trade and aviation. This is crucial for the good functioning of the Single Market and the Customs Union. And we can agree on this in the Article 50 Agreement between the EU and the UK.

But we cannot ensure in the Article 50 Agreement that the UK keeps the benefits from these international agreements. Our partners around the world may have their own views on this, for instance the 70 countries covered by trade deals.

Mesdames et Messieurs,

A côté de la transition, je voudrais faire deux points sur les autres volets de cette deuxième phase des négociations.

In addition to the transition, I would like to make two points on the other aspects of this second phase of the negotiations.

D’abord, les discussions sur le cadre de nos relations futures.

First, the discussions on the framework of our future relations.

Nos discussions préparatoires internes avec les 27 progressent. Elles serviront de base au Conseil européen qui adoptera de nouvelles orientations en mars.

Our internal preparatory discussions with the 27 are progressing. They will serve as a basis for the European Council, which will adopt new guidelines in March.

Nous travaillons aussi étroitement avec le Parlement européen.

We also work closely with the European Parliament.

D’ici-là, comme l’ont souhaité les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement des 27, il est essentiel que le Royaume-Uni exprime clairement sa position sur cette relation future.

In the meantime, as the Heads of State and Government of the 27 have wished, it is essential that the United Kingdom clearly express its position on this future relationship.

Deuxièmement, n’oublions pas que les négociations sur le retrait du Royaume-Uni ne sont pas terminées. “Sufficient progress” does not mean “full progress”!

Secondly, let us not forget that the negotiations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom are not over. “Sufficient progress” does not mean “full progress”!

Dans cette deuxième phase, nous avons à traduire nos engagements du rapport conjoint en un texte juridiquement contraignant. C’est une condition pour progresser.

In this second phase, we have to translate our commitments in the joint report into a legally binding text. It is a condition for progress.

Nous devons aussi traiter tous les autres sujets de la séparation qui n’ont pas encore fait l’objet de véritables négociations ou sur lesquels il reste du travail, comme les procédures de marchés publics en cours, la protection des données personnelles, les questions liées à la propriété intellectuelle et évidemment à la gouvernance de l’accord de retrait.

We also have to deal with all the other issues of separation that have not yet been the subject of real negotiations or where there is still work to be done, such as ongoing procurement procedures, the protection of personal data, related issues intellectual property and of course the governance of the withdrawal agreement.

Ces sujets feront partie de l’accord de retrait, au même titre que la transition. C’est un tout. Autrement dit, je veux le rappeler : sans accord sur l’ensemble des sujets du retrait, il n’y a pas de transition.

These topics will be part of the exit agreement, just like the transition. It is a whole. In other words, I want to remind you that without agreement on all the subjects of the withdrawal, there is no transition.

Cette transition, au-delà de l’aspect juridique, est un des éléments, et l’une des preuves, du retrait ordonné auquel nous travaillons.

This transition, beyond the legal aspect, is one of the elements, and one of the proofs, of the orderly withdrawal we are working on.

Merci pour votre attention.