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Brexit: What did you agree with the UK today?

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What has been agreed between the UK and the EU (“the latest deal”) from an EU Perspective, Questions and Answers and other EU links. (17 October 2019)

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_19_6122

What have you agreed on?

In light of the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, the European Commission has today reached an agreement at negotiator level with the UK on a revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and a revised Political Declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship.

The revised Protocol provides a legally operative solution that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its dimensions, and safeguards the integrity of the EU Single Market.

Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of Single Market rules to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Today’s Protocol will also avoid any customs border on the island of Ireland, while ensuring that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK’s customs territory. The Northern Ireland Assembly will have a decisive voice on the long-term application of relevant EU law in Northern Ireland.

The main change in the Political Declaration relates to the future EU-UK economic relationship where the current UK government has opted for a model based on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The Political Declaration confirms the ambition to conclude an FTA with zero tariffs and quotas between the EU and the UK, and states that robust commitments on a level playing field should ensure open and fair competition.

The full report is available at

Brexit: What did you agree with the UK today

Other Links

Letter from President Jean-Claude Juncker to President Donald Tusk

Revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland

Revised Political Declaration

European Commission Recommendation

and copies at

Letter from President Jean-Claude Juncker to President Donald Tusk (pdf)

Revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland (pdf)

Revised Political Declaration (pdf)

European Commission Recommendation (pdf)

Remarks by Donald Tusk after the EU Council meeting on 21 June 2019

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Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the EU Council meeting on 21 June 2019

Extract from remarks by President Donald Tusk after the Euro summit meeting on 21 June 2019

….

At the end of our meeting, the EU27 briefly came back to the issue of Brexit. We have agreed on the following, united approach of the EU27:

– we look forward to working together with the next UK Prime Minister;

– we want to avoid a disorderly Brexit and establish a future relationship that is as close as possible with the UK;

– we are open for talks when it comes to the Declaration on the future UK-EU relations if the position of the United Kingdom were to evolve, but the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation; and

– we have been informed on the state of play of planning for a no-deal scenario.

Remarks by Donald Tusk at the EU Council: 10 April 2019

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Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the special meeting of the European Council (Art. 50) on 10 April 2019.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/04/10/remarks-by-president-donald-tusk-after-the-special-meeting-of-the-european-council-art-50-on-10-april-2019/

Tonight the European Council decided to grant the United Kingdom a flexible extension of the Article 50 period until the 31st of October. This means an additional 6 months for the UK.

During this time, the course of action will be entirely in the UK’s hands. It can still ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, in which case the extension will be terminated.

It can also reconsider the whole Brexit strategy. That might lead to changes in the Political Declaration, but not in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Until the end of this period, the UK will also have the possibility to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit altogether.

The UK will continue its sincere cooperation as a full member state with all its rights, and as a close friend and trusted ally in the future.

Let me finish with a message to our British friends: this extension is as flexible as I expected, and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it’s still enough to find the best possible solution.

Please do not waste this time.

Letter from Donald Tusk to the members of the EU Council (Art. 50) – 9 April 2019

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Invitation letter from President Donald Tusk to the members of the EU Council (Art. 50) ahead of their special meeting on 10 April 2019 which was called to discuss another request for an extension to the Article 50 period.

The President is suggesting a “flexible” extension for no longer than a year that, can be cancelled as soon as both sides have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement.

Invitation Letter for EU Council Meeting – 09 April 2019

Last week I received a letter from Prime Minister May requesting a further extension of the Article 50 period, until 30 June 2019. In her letter the Prime Minister states that the UK government’s policy remains to leave the EU in an orderly way, and that it is therefore now seeking a consensus across the House of Commons on the right way forward. She also adds that, if the UK were an EU member on 23 May 2019, it would be under a legal obligation to hold elections to the European Parliament.

Given the risks posed by a no-deal Brexit for people and businesses on both sides of the English Channel, I trust that we will continue to do our utmost to avoid this scenario. Therefore I propose that we consider Prime Minister May’s request for an extension at our meeting tomorrow.

However, our experience so far, as well as the deep divisions within the House of Commons, give us little reason to believe that the ratification process can be completed by the end of June. In reality, granting such an extension would increase the risk of a rolling series of short extensions and emergency summits, creating new cliff-edge dates. This, in turn, would almost certainly overshadow the business of the EU27 in the months ahead. The continued uncertainty would also be bad for our businesses and citizens. Finally, if we failed to agree on any next extension, there would be a risk of an accidental no-deal Brexit.

This is why I believe we should also discuss an alternative, longer extension. One possibility would be a flexible extension, which would last only as long as necessary and no longer than one year, as beyond that date we will need to decide unanimously on some key European projects. The flexibility would allow to terminate the extension automatically, as soon as both sides have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK would be free to leave whenever it is ready. And the EU27 would avoid repeated Brexit summits. Importantly, a long extension would provide more certainty and predictability by removing the threat of constantly shifting cliff-edge dates. Furthermore, in the event of a continued stalemate, such a longer extension would allow the UK to rethink its Brexit strategy.

Some of you have raised concerns that the UK’s continued presence as a departing EU country would pose risks for the functioning of the EU27 at a time of key decisions on its future. To address them we would need to agree on a number of conditions: no re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement; no start of the negotiations on the future, except for the Political Declaration; the UK would have to maintain its sincere cooperation also during this crucial period, in a manner that reflects its situation as a departing member state. We should remember, however, that the United Kingdom will remain a member state with full rights and obligations. And, in any event, the UK can revoke Article 50 at any time, as stated by the European Court of Justice.

Whatever course of action is taken, it must not be influenced by negative emotions. We should treat the UK with the highest respect, as we want to remain friends and close partners, and as we will still need to agree on our future relations. Neither side should be allowed to feel humiliated at any stage in this difficult process.

As you know, with Brexit there are no easy solutions. Both aforementioned options have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, let us discuss them in an open, creative, and constructive way.

We will meet at 18.00 for an exchange with European Parliament President Tajani. We will then hear Prime Minister May, before meeting for dinner at 27 in order to agree a response to the United Kingdom’s request.

Donald Tusk after the EU Council meeting (Art. 50) 21 March 2019

Donald Tusk statement following the EU Council meeting (Art. 50) on 21 March 2019.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/03/21/remarks-by-president-donald-tusk-after-the-european-council-meeting-art-50/

As you know, we devoted today’s European Council meeting to Brexit. Prime Minister May repeated her requests, to extend the Article 50 period until the 30th of June, and to approve the so-called Strasbourg agreement.

During the discussion among the EU27, the leaders approached these requests in a positive spirit. The European Council decided to approve the Strasbourg agreement. As regards the extension, our decisions envisage two scenarios:

In the first scenario, that is, if the Withdrawal Agreement is passed by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 22nd of May.

In the second scenario, that is, if the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until the 12th of April, while expecting the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward. What this means in practice is that, until that date, all options will remain open, and the cliff-edge date will be delayed.

The UK Government will still have a choice of a deal, no-deal, a long extension or revoking Article 50. The 12th of April is a key date in terms of the UK deciding whether to hold European Parliament elections. If it has not decided to do so by then, the option of a long extension will automatically become impossible.

As you know, in accordance with the Treaties, any extension must be decided unanimously by the EU27, in agreement with the Member State concerned. This is why I met Prime Minister May several times tonight – to make sure that the UK accepts the extension scenarios – and I am pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement on this.

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