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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)

PM statement on EU Council Meeting

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Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement to the House of Commons on the EU Council meeting, held on 20-21 June 2019

Mr Speaker, before I turn to the European Council, I am sure the whole House will join me in sending our very best wishes to the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. All our thoughts are with him and his family at this time – and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Mr Speaker, last week’s European Council focused on climate change, disinformation and hybrid threats, external relations and what are known as the EU’s “Top Jobs”. The UK has always been clear that we will participate fully and constructively in all EU discussions for as long as we are a Member State – and that we will seek to continue our co-operation on issues of mutual interest through our future relationship after we have left. And that was the spirit in which I approached this Council.

Mr Speaker, earlier this month the UK became the first major economy in the world to commit to ending its contribution to global warming by 2050. And I am pleased that the regulations to amend the 2008 Climate Change Act – which are being debated in this Chamber later today – have received widespread support from across this House. But ultimately we will only protect our planet if we are able to forge the widest possible global agreements. That means other countries need to follow our lead and increase their ambitions as well.

At this Council the UK helped to lead the way in advocating for our European partners to follow suit in committing to a net zero target by 2050. While a full EU-wide consensus was not reached, “a large majority” of Member States did agree that “climate neutrality must be achieved by 2050”. And I hope we can build on this in the months ahead.

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.

PM statement at the EU Council: 10-11 April 2019

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Prime Minister Theresa May’s press statement at the EU Council meeting held on 10-11 April 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-at-the-european-council-11-april-2019

I have just met with Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, where I agreed an extension to the Brexit process to the end of October at the latest.

I continue to believe we need to leave the EU, with a deal, as soon as possible.

And vitally, the EU have agreed that the extension can be terminated when the Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified — which was my key request of my fellow leaders.

For example, this means that, if we are able to pass a deal in the first three weeks of May, we will not have to take part in European Elections and will officially leave the EU on Saturday, 1st June.

During the course of the extension, the European Council is clear that the UK will continue to hold full membership rights, as well as its obligations.

As I said in the room tonight, there is only a single tier of EU membership, with no conditionality attached beyond existing treaty obligations.

Let me conclude by saying this.

I know that there is huge frustration from many people that I had to request this extension.

The UK should have left the EU by now and I sincerely regret the fact that I have not yet been able to persuade Parliament to approve a deal which would allow the UK to leave in a smooth and orderly way.

But the choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear.

So we must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach a consensus on a deal that is in the national interest.

Tomorrow I will be making a statement to the House of Commons.

Further talks will also take place between the Government and the Opposition to seek a way forward.

I do not pretend the next few weeks will be easy or that there is a simple way to break the deadlock in Parliament.

But we have a duty as politicians to find a way to fulfil the democratic decision of the Referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward.

Nothing is more pressing or more vital.

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