UK-EU Trade Agreement

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: protecting European interests

A document released by the European Union Commission following an agreement (in principle) about the Trade Agreement between the UK and the European Union.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: protecting European interests, ensuring fair competition, and continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest

After intensive negotiations, the European Commission has reached today an agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of its future cooperation with the European Union.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said: “It was worth fighting for this deal because we now have a fair and balanced agreement with the UK, which will protect our European interests, ensure fair competition, and provide much needed predictability for our fishing communities. Finally, we can leave Brexit behind us and look to the future. Europe is now moving on.”

The European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, said: “We have now come to the end of a very intensive four-year period, particularly over the past nine months, during which we negotiated the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU and a brand new partnership, which we have finally agreed today. The protection of our interests has been front and centre throughout these negotiations and I am pleased that we have managed to do so. It is now for the European Parliament and the Council to have their say on this agreement.”

The draft Trade and Cooperation Agreement consists of three main pillars:

A Free Trade Agreement: a new economic and social partnership with the United Kingdom

o The agreement covers not just trade in goods and services, but also a broad range of other areas in the EU’s interest, such as investment, competition, State aid, tax transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, data protection, and social security coordination.

o It provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.

o Both parties have committed to ensuring a robust level playing field by maintaining high levels of protection in areas such as environmental protection, the fight against climate change and carbon pricing, social and labour rights, tax transparency and State aid, with effective, domestic enforcement, a binding dispute settlement mechanism and the possibility for both parties to take remedial measures.

o The EU and the UK agreed on a new framework for the joint management of fish stocks in EU and UK waters. The UK will be able to further develop British fishing activities, while the activities and livelihoods of European fishing communities will be safeguarded, and natural resources preserved.

o On transport, the agreement provides for continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity, though market access falls below what the Single Market offers. It includes provisions to ensure that competition between EU and UK operators takes place on a level playing field, so that passenger rights, workers’ rights and transport safety are not undermined.

o On energy, the agreement provides a new model for trading and interconnectivity, with guarantees for open and fair competition, including on safety standards for offshore, and production of renewable energy.

o On social security coordination, the agreement aims at ensuring a number of rights of EU citizens and UK nationals. This concerns EU citizens working in, travelling or moving to the UK and to UK nationals working in, travelling or moving to the EU after 1st January 2021.

o Finally, the agreement enables the UK’s continued participation in a number of flagship EU programmes for the period 2021-2027 (subject to a financial contribution by the UK to the EU budget), such as Horizon Europe.

A new partnership for our citizens’ security

o The Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishes a new framework for law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal and civil law matters. It recognises the need for strong cooperation between national police and judicial authorities, in particular for fighting and prosecuting cross-border crime and terrorism. It builds new operational capabilities, taking account of the fact that the UK, as a non-EU member outside of the Schengen area, will not have the same facilities as before. The security cooperation can be suspended in case of violations by the UK of its commitment for continued adherence to the European Convention of Human Rights and its domestic enforcement.

A horizontal agreement on Governance: A framework that stands the test of time

o To give maximum legal certainty to businesses, consumers and citizens, a dedicated chapter on governance provides clarity on how the agreement will be operated and controlled. It also establishes a Joint Partnership Council, who will make sure the Agreement is properly applied and interpreted, and in which all arising issues will be discussed.

o Binding enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms will ensure that rights of businesses, consumers and individuals are respected. This means that businesses in the EU and the UK compete on a level playing field and will avoid either party using its regulatory autonomy to grant unfair subsidies or distort competition.

o Both parties can engage in cross-sector retaliation in case of violations of the agreement. This cross-sector retaliation applies to all areas of the economic partnership.

Foreign policy, external security and defence cooperation is not covered by the Agreement as the UK did not want to negotiate this matter. As of 1 January 2021, there will therefore be no framework in place between the UK and the EU to develop and coordinate joint responses to foreign policy challenges, for instance the imposition of sanctions on third country nationals or economies.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement covers a number of areas that are in the EU’s interest. It goes well beyond traditional free trade agreements and provides a solid basis for preserving our longstanding friendship and cooperation. It safeguards the integrity of the Single Market and the indivisibility of the Four Freedoms (people, goods, services and capital). It reflects the fact that the UK is leaving the EU’s ecosystem of common rules, supervision and enforcement mechanisms, and can therefore no longer enjoy the benefits of EU membership or the Single Market. Nevertheless, the Agreement will by no means match the significant advantages that the UK enjoyed as a Member State of the EU.

Big changes coming: getting ready 1 January 2021

Even with the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in place, there will be big changes on 1 January 2021.

On that date, the UK will leave the EU Single Market and Customs Union, as well as all EU policies and international agreements. The free movement of persons, goods, services and capital between the UK and the EU will end.

The EU and the UK will form two separate markets; two distinct regulatory and legal spaces. This will create barriers to trade in goods and services and to cross-border mobility and exchanges that do not exist today – in both directions.

The Withdrawal Agreement

The Withdrawal Agreement remains in place, protecting amongst other things the rights of EU citizens and UK nationals, the EU’s financial interests, and crucially, peace and stability on the island of Ireland. The full and timely implementation of this agreement has been a key priority for the European Union.

Thanks to intensive discussions between the EU and the UK in the Joint Committee and the various Specialised Committees, the Withdrawal Agreement – and the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, in particular – will be implemented on 1 January.

On 17 December, the EU-UK Joint Committee met to endorse all formal decisions and other practical solutions related to the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. As part of these mutually agreed solutions, the UK has agreed to withdraw the contentious clauses of the UK Internal Market Bill, and will not introduce any similar provisions in the Taxation Bill.

Next steps

The entry into application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a matter of special urgency.

o The United Kingdom, as a former Member State, has extensive links with the Union in a wide range of economic and other areas. If there is no applicable framework regulating the relations between the Union and the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020, those relations will be significantly disrupted, to the detriment of individuals, businesses and other stakeholders.

o The negotiations could only be finalised at a very late stage before the expiry of the transition period. Such late timing should not jeopardise the European Parliament’s right of democratic scrutiny, in accordance with the Treaties.

o In light of these exceptional circumstances, the Commission proposes to apply the Agreement on a provisional basis, for a limited period of time until 28 February 2021.
The Commission will swiftly propose Council decisions on the signature and provisional application, and on the conclusion of the Agreement.

The Council, acting by the unanimity of all 27 Member States, will then need to adopt a decision authorising the signature of the Agreement and its provisional application as of 1 January 2021. Once this process is concluded, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK can be formally signed.

The European Parliament will then be asked to give its consent to the Agreement.

As a last step on the EU side, the Council must adopt the decision on the conclusion of the Agreement.

More information

o Full “Agreement in Principle” (available shortly)

o Q&A

o EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: A new relationship, with big changes – Brochure

o EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: A new relationship, with big changes – Overview of consequences and benefits

o EU-UK Relations: From the UK referendum to a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement – Infographic

o EU-UK Relations: From the UK referendum to a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement – Timeline

Brexit Negotiations

Statement by Michel Barnier – 19 November 2018

Press statement by Michel Barnier following the General Affairs Council (Article 50) meeting on 19 November 2018.

Statement by Michel Barnier, Chief Negotiator for Article 50 negotiations at the press conference with Gernot Blümel, Austrian Federal Minister for the EU, Arts, Culture and Media after the General Affairs Council

Brussels, 19 November 2018

Opening statement by Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

Good morning everyone. I hope you are all well after a very busy few days and also busy nights.

Thank you very much, Gernot, for your appreciation. Thank you also to the team of the Austrian Presidency. If I may, at a very key moment where we are in this negotiation, I want to thank the Council, the team of the Council, the Parliament also, and obviously Jean-Claude Juncker and all the services of the Commission for their trust and their cooperation.

I have just debriefed the Ministers of the EU27 on the agreement that we reached last week at negotiators’ level on the draft Withdrawal Agreement, as well as on the outline of the political declaration on the future relationship.

We are in fact at a decisive moment in this process. No one should lose sight of the progress that has been achieved in Brussels and in London.

I am pleased that Ministers today supported the overall package. In particular, Member States support the draft Withdrawal Agreement. On the EU side, we still need to determine the internal procedure of the Union for agreeing to extend the transition. But globally speaking, this deal is fair and balanced.

It takes into account the UK positions. In particular, we have found a compromise to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Both sides, both parties want to avoid using the backstop.

Finally, this deal allows for the orderly withdrawal which is in our common interest. An orderly withdrawal is the condition to lay the ground for an ambitious partnership.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have also informed Ministers of the state of play of the discussions on the framework for the future relationship. Discussions on that declaration are ongoing – now, today – with the UK negotiators. This is now our focus. The declaration will open the door to negotiations on an ambitious, economic and strategic partnership in the future once the UK will have left.

In any case, for the future relationship, both the EU and the UK will have full control of their own legislation and rule-making. This is essential, on our side, for the integrity of the single market. It is essential for the UK in terms of taking back control.

Now, more than ever, we must all remain calm – and I will remain calm – and keep our focus on the need for the UK to leave the EU in an orderly fashion.

Thank you very much.

Brexit Negotiations Withdrawal Agreement

Statement by Michel Barnier 14 Nov 2018

Following the acceptance of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement by the UK cabinet on 14 November 2018, Michel Barnier gave the following statement.

(In English and French, with translation by Google Translate )

Déclaration par Michel Barnier, Brussels, 14 November 2018

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Ce soir, nous venons de publier avec le gouvernement britannique, le projet d’accord complet sur le retrait ordonné du Royaume Uni tel qu’il a été agréé par les négociateurs, des deux côtés.

Tonight we have just published with the British Government the draft comprehensive agreement on the Orderly Withdrawal of the United Kingdom as approved by the negotiators on both sides.

Nous publions également ensemble un plan commenté de la déclaration politique conjointe sur le cadre de notre future relation.

We also publish together a commented plan of the joint political declaration on the framework of our future relationship.

C’est le résultat de négociations intensives, commencées il y a 17 mois, et je veux remercier nos deux équipes pour leur engagement. Vous me permettrez d’ailleurs de dire personnellement l’honneur et la chance que j’ai d’animer une équipe exceptionnelle ici.

This is the result of intensive negotiations, started 17 months ago, and I want to thank both teams for their commitment. You will allow me personally to say the honor and the luck that I have of animating an exceptional team here.

Cet accord représente une étape déterminante pour conclure ces négociations.

This agreement represents a decisive step in concluding these negotiations.

Il est aussi l’aboutissement d’une méthode, celle d’une négociation menée dans la transparence depuis le début, et dans le respect de nos mandats respectifs.

It is also the culmination of a method, that of a negotiation conducted transparently from the beginning, and in accordance with our respective mandates.

Ce projet d’accord de retrait comprend 185 articles, 3 protocoles et plusieurs annexes.
This draft withdrawal agreement includes 185 articles, 3 protocols and several annexes.

Brexit Negotiations Speech Withdrawal Agreement

Michel Barnier Speech 10 October 2018

A speech by Michel Barnier at the closing session of Eurochambre’s European Parliament of Enterprises 2018 given on 10 Oct 2018. Given in French and English

Read the speech, as presented, at

Brexit Negotiations

Press Statement 18 September 2018 – Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier issued a Press Statement following a meeting of the General Affairs Council (Article 50) on 18 September 2018 regarding the current state of the Brexit negotiations.

The statement was part in French and part in English. The original version is at

In the version supplied here, the parts in French have been translated using Google Translate.

The first part was given in French and Google Translated as:

Thank you to Gernot and the Austrian Presidency for your confidence and for having thus expressed the confidence of the 27 governments represented today around the table.

The Ministers confirmed the unity we work with on a daily basis, through transparency, availability and attention to the concerns that are not always the same in each of the Member States. Together with my team, we take all these sensitivities together, as we do with the European Parliament.

We are in the final stretch of this negotiation.

Since the last meeting of the General Affairs Council on 20 July, we have made progress on some issues of separation, orderly withdrawal, such as Euratom, ongoing judicial cooperation procedures and the protection of personal data exchanged before the end of the transition.

But we still have to agree on two important chapters:

The governance of the withdrawal agreement, which must be credible for the agreement itself to be solid.
The 3000 geographical indications currently protected in the 28 countries of the Union, from Scotch whiskey to Polish vodka or Greek feta cheese. Brexit can not and should not lead to a loss of the intellectual property rights attached to these geographical indications.
We must also move decisively forward now on the Irish question.

The next part was in English

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our proposal for the backstop on Ireland and Northern Ireland has been on the table since February.

It is an insurance policy to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, whatever the future relationship will bring.

It reflects our agreement with the UK in December 2017, confirmed by Prime Minister Theresa May in her letter to President Tusk in March.

We are ready to improve this proposal.

Work on the EU side is ongoing:

We are clarifying which goods arriving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK would need to be checked and where, when and by whom these checks could be performed.
We can also clarify that most checks can take place away from the border, at the company premises or in the market.
We need to de-dramatise the checks that are needed and that are caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, its Single Market and customs union.
What we need in the Withdrawal Agreement is a legally operational backstop, which fully respects the territorial integrity of the UK.

This backstop will only apply unless and until a better solution is found, in the context of our future relationship.

The final part was given in French and Google Translated as:

Ladies and gentlemen,

As Gernot has said, the European Council will meet in Salzburg tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, and I will, at the invitation of President Tusk and President Juncker, give the state of play of the negotiations to the Heads of State and government of the 27.

In this perspective, I would like to thank the ministers who spoke today, once again expressing their unwavering solidarity with Ireland, in particular. This solidarity is also shared by all the European institutions, and in particular the European Parliament.

As I have always said, the October European Council will be the moment of truth. This is the moment when we will see if an agreement is within our reach, as I hope and as we are working on it.

Thank you for your attention.