Brexit negotiations: deciding new EU-UK relations
Since announcing its intention to leave, the UK has been in talks with the EU to determine the terms of their new relationship.
The European Parliament will play a key role in determining the outcome of this negotiation.
A majority of voters in the UK voted in favour of taking their country out of the EU on 23 June 2016. The government triggered the official process on 29 March 2017 by invoking article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets out the negotiations for a withdrawal agreement to define the country’s future relationship with the EU.
The UK is currently set to leave the EU at the end of October 2019. Any extension would have to be requested by the UK government and agreed by the remaining 27 EU countries.
The EU underlines the need for agreement on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement before negotiations on the future relationship begin as well as several other separation issues.
After two years of negotiations, UK and EU partners agreed on two documents to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK. The first step is a withdrawal agreement setting out the arrangements for how the UK will leave the EU, while “taking account of the framework of the future relationship with the Union”.
The arrangements setting out the framework for future relations are part of a separate document, a political declaration, preparing the grounds for the future framework of the EU-UK relationship.
Negotiators agreed the text of a draft withdrawal agreement and a political declaration in November 2018, but it has not yet been ratified,
What the withdrawal agreement covers
The withdrawal agreement covers issues including:
- The rights of EU citizens in the UK
- The rights of UK citizens living in other parts of the EU
- The UK’s financial commitments undertaken as a member state
- Border issues (especially the one between the UK and the Republic of Ireland)
- International commitments undertaken by UK as member state (for example the Paris agreement)
- Other separation issues
The political declaration on the future framework of EU-UK relationship describes the conditions for cooperation on a variety of issues, ranging from defence and the fight against terrorism to the environment, research, education and so on.
One of the key sections lays the conditions and principles for future trade, including the questions of possible tariffs, product standards level-playing field and how to resolve disputes.
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