Friday, 17 January 2020

The UK's Future Relationship with the EU - The Commission sets out its Negotiating Position

Michel Barnier
Author Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle
 Licence CC BY-SA 3.0
Source Wikimedia Commons

Jane Lambert

I have updated my pages on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill which will ratify the draft agreement of 19 Oct 2019 on the terms of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and the negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU in accordance with the political declaration.  The bill completed its committee stage in the Lords and I have linked to the reports of the debates in Hansard.  In the future relationship page, I have inserted links to the Commission's and the British government's press releases on Mr Johnson's meeting with President von der Leyen in London on 8 Jan 2020, transcripts of the President's press conference with the Irish Taoiseach or prime minister and Monsieur Michel Barnier's speech at the European Commission's representation in Stockholm on 9 Jan 2020.

In his speech, Monsieur Barnier described the withdrawal agreement as a kind of divorce:
"We have now organised an orderly divorce. But now, the UK will automatically, mechanically, legally, leave 600 international agreements.
And we will have, together – EU and UK, and the UK for its part, alone – to rebuild everything. That is what is at stake for the next stage of the negotiations.
So we have a huge amount of work ahead of us if we are to secure an ambitious new partnership between the EU and the UK."
He warned:
"If we fail, the transition period will end on 1 January 2021 without any arrangements for a new future relationship in place.
  • This would not affect the issues covered in the Withdrawal Agreement: the financial settlement, and, thankfully, the deal we have reached on the island of Ireland and on citizens would still stand.
  • But it would mean the return of tariffs and quotas: a total anachronism for interconnected economies like ours."
So, the European Commission is already preparing for the negotiations and has prepared documents on its position on
I shall be discussing some of those documents - in particular, those relating to intellectual property and data protection - in more detail in this and related publications over the next few months.

In his Stockholm speech, Monsieur Barnier said:
"Yes, the UK represents 9% of all EU27 trade.
But more significantly, the EU27 accounts for 43% of all UK exports and 50% of its imports.
So, it is clear that if we fail to reach a deal, it will be more harmful for the UK than for the EU27.
All the more so because EU Member States can rely on each other or on the many other partners that the EU has free trade agreements with."
It is important to note that the EU did not cave in to British demands over Northern Ireland.  It was, as the DUP have said many times, the other way round.

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or brexit generally should call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during normal business hours or send me a message through my contact page.

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