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Brexit EU Press Release

Press statement about UK attendance at EU meetings

A Press Statement released by the Department for Exiting the European Union on 20 August 2019 stated that UK officials will stop attending most EU meetings from 1 September 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-officials-will-stop-attending-most-eu-meetings-from-1-september

UK officials will stop attending most EU meetings from 1 September so that they can focus on our future relationship with the EU and other partners around the world.

The Government has decided this week that from 1 September, UK officials and Ministers will now only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of discussions, such as on security.

This decision reflects the fact that the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 October is now very close and many of the discussions in EU meetings will be about the future of the Union after the UK has left.

As the PM has promised in the House of Commons in July, as a departing Member State it makes sense to “unshackle” officials from these EU meetings to enable them to better focus their talents on our immediate national priorities. This includes, as the top priority, work on preparations for Brexit on 31 October and on our future relationship with the EU, but also on pioneering new trade deals and promoting a truly Global Britain.

This decision is not intended in any way to frustrate the functioning of the EU. The UK’s vote will be delegated in a way that does not obstruct the ongoing business of the remaining 27 EU members.

Where matters of ongoing national interest are being discussed, the UK will continue to be present until 31 October.

Further details:

  • As a Member State the UK is allowed to send a representative to a variety of EU meetings. These representatives can be Government Ministers or officials.
  • The UK has decided that we do not need representation at all of these meetings, especially where the subject is the future of the EU after we have left.
  • The UK will continue to attend if and when it is in our interests, with particular regard to meetings on UK exit, sovereignty, international relations, security, or finance and the Prime Minister will attend European Council.
  • Decisions will be made on a case by case basis depending on the agendas of the meetings. This provides the right amount of flexibility to ensure UK interests remain protected.

Secretary of State Steve Barclay said:

An incredible amount of time and effort goes into EU meetings with attendance just the tip of the iceberg. Our diligent, world-class officials also spend many hours preparing for them whether in reading the necessary papers or working on briefings.

From now on we will only go to the meetings that really matter, reducing attendance by over half and saving hundreds of hours. This will free up time for Ministers and their officials to get on with preparing for our departure on October 31 and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.

Categories
Brexit Brexit Negotiations Withdrawal Agreement

Brexit: EU publishes draft Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement

The European Commission has today published a draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-1243_en.htm

Press Release:

The draft Withdrawal Agreement translates into legal terms the Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on the progress achieved during phase 1 of the negotiations, published on 8 December 2017, and proposes text for those outstanding withdrawal issues which are mentioned in, but not set out in detail, in the Joint Report. It also integrates the text on the transition period, based on the supplementary negotiating directives adopted by the Council (Article 50) on 29 January 2018.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement consists of six parts – including introductory provisions, citizens’ rights, other separation issues such as goods placed on the market before the withdrawal date, the financial settlement, transitional arrangements, and institutional provisions – and a protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland. This protocol operationalises the third option outlined in the Joint Report, in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. This is the fall-back solution of the Joint Report, which applies in the absence of other agreed solutions. This draft protocol does not prejudge discussions on the other two options.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement is published online in accordance with the Commission’s transparency policy. The Commission has presented the draft Withdrawal Agreement now to first allow for time for consultation with the Member States and the European Parliament and, subsequently, for negotiation with the United Kingdom. Given that the Withdrawal Agreement needs to be agreed and ratified before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is important to leave sufficient time for negotiation.

Next steps

The draft Withdrawal Agreement will now be sent to the Council (Article 50) and the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group for discussion, before being transmitted to the United Kingdom for negotiation.

The European Council (Article 50) has called on the United Kingdom to provide further clarity on its position on the framework for the future relationship, with a view to its meeting on 22 and 23 March, where it is expected to adopt additional guidelines.

The overall Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement will need to be concluded by the Council (Article 50), the European Parliament, and the United Kingdom according to its own constitutional requirements.

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union on 30 March 2019.

Background

On 15 December 2017, the European Council (Article 50) welcomed the progress achieved during the first phase of negotiations as reflected in the Commission’s Communication and the Joint Report of 8 December 2017.

It called on the Commission as Union negotiator and the United Kingdom to complete the work on all withdrawal issues, including those not yet addressed in the first phase, to consolidate the results obtained, and to start drafting the relevant parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. It stressed that negotiations in the second phase can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully into legal terms as quickly as possible.

The European Council (Article 50) guidelines of 29 April 2017 as well as the general principles and the procedural arrangements for the conduct of the negotiations established in the Council negotiating directives of 22 May 2017 continue to apply in their entirety to this phase of the negotiations.

References

Draft Withdrawal Agreement

Joint Report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government

Negotiating Directives adopted by the EU Council

The European Council (Article 50) guidelines of 29 April 2017

European Council (Art. 50) Guidelines for Brexit negotiations, 15 December 2017

Questions & Answers: Publication of the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom

EU negotiating documents and position papers

Categories
Brexit Negotiations

Statement by Michel Barnier 5 Feb 2018

Statement by Michel Barnier following his working lunch in London with David Davis on February 5 2018.

Good afternoon to all of you. First of all, I want to thank you, David, for your hospitality. I was very pleased to also meet today the Prime Minister, Theresa May. In a very short time, from now until October, we must advance on three fronts.

First, translating our Joint Report into legal text.

Second, the transition period, which you just mentioned, David. Let me recall that the UK government has decided the date of the UK withdrawal: 29th March 2019. This was the UK’s sovereign decision. Mrs May has asked to benefit from the Single Market and the Customs Union for a short period after this. The European Council has indicated its readiness to consider this request. The conditions are clear: everyone has to play by the same rules during this transition. Let me add one point about this transition: the certainty about the transition will only come with the ratification of the withdrawal agreement.

Number three: our future partnership between the UK and the EU. On that point we need also clarity about the UK’s proposals for the future partnership. The only thing I can say now is that without a customs union- and being outside the Single Market – barriers to trade and goods and services are unavoidable. The time has come to make a choice. Thank you.