Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement

Another position paper issued by the EU on Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement to the EU27. This paper translates into legal terms the principles laid down in the European Council Guidelines of 29 April and 15 December 2017 and in the supplementary negotiating directives annexed the Council Decision of 29 January 2018.

This has been created for approval by the EU27 before it’s presented to the UK. It remans unclear whether this document is to be used as the basis for discussion with the UK or whether, as shown on past experience, it will be presented as a fait accompli

On this basis, this paper outlines in legal terms how such arrangements should be given effect in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Position paper “Transitional Arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement”

The topics mentioned include:

  • There shall be a transition period, which shall start on the date of entry into force of this Agreement and end on 31 December 2020.
  • Unless otherwise provided in this Part, Union law shall be binding upon and applicable in the United Kingdom during the transition period
  • The United Kingdom shall not participate in any enhanced cooperation
  • During the transition period, the United Kingdom may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the areas of exclusive competence of the Union, unless authorised to do so by the Union
  • During the transition period, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the powers conferred upon them by Union law also in relation to the United Kingdom and natural and legal persons residing or established in the United Kingdom. In particular, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction as provided for in the Treaties.
  • etc.

Full details are available in the full document at

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/transition.pdf (pdf)

It is not clear whether the UK can accept not being allowed to sign any International Trade Agreements during this period.

Also, it is worth noting a footnote to the paragraph relating to the role of the European Court of Justice which states:

In addition, the Governance and Dispute Settlement Part of the Withdrawal Agreement should provide for a mechanism allowing the Union to suspend certain benefits deriving for the United Kingdom from participation in the internal market where it considers that referring the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union would not bring in appropriate time the necessary remedies.

which effectively allows the EU to become Judge, Jury and executioner to matters which they themselves decide break terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.