/Brexit withdrawal textual content: What it says and what it means

Brexit withdrawal textual content: What it says and what it means

The European Fee issued a one-sided draft of a formal withdrawal agreement with the UK Wednesday, saying it hoped to speed up the tempo of negotiations.

The 118-page document contains 168 articles. Textual content highlighted in grey displays factors that the EU says it has already agreed with the U.Okay. throughout Section 1 of the talks, whereas the plain textual content displays the EU’s most popular outcomes. None of it ought to come as any shock to London, the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, mentioned.

However the truth is, the highlighted textual content displays the EU’s unilateral interpretation of what it believes it agreed with the U.Okay. — a actuality evidenced by U.Okay. Prime Minister Theresa Could’s swift dismissal of it as unacceptable. Whereas Could was referring particularly to provisions on Eire, the truth is there may be deep disagreement on many factors. If Barnier’s objective was to spark some new power on the U.Okay. facet, towards clinching a joint treaty by October, the end result was extra alongside the strains of a shot with a 50,000-volt Taser gun.

Listed below are a number of the key provisions within the EU textual content, interpreted and defined by POLITICO’s Brexit crew:

Protocol on Eire/Northern Eire — Chapter III, Article 3, Web page 100

What it says: “A standard regulatory space comprising the Union and the UK in respect of Northern Eire is hereby established. The frequent regulatory space shall represent an space with out inside borders by which the free motion of products is ensured and North-South cooperation protected in accordance with this Chapter.”

What it means: Relating to the foundations that govern the only market, Northern Eire will nonetheless be, successfully, in, whereas the remainder of the U.Okay. is out. This avoids the necessity for any type of border between Eire and Northern Eire and permits for seamless commerce in quite a few areas together with meals, power and numerous manufactured items. The relatively vital drawback is that, until the remainder of the UK follows swimsuit, it might break the regulatory unity of the U.Okay., which is anathema to Brexiteers and specifically the Democratic Unionist Celebration on whose votes Theresa Could relies upon in parliament. Could has already mentioned “no U.Okay. prime minister” might settle for the phrases of the protocol as an entire.

Protocol on Eire/Northern Eire — Chapter III, Article 4, Web page 100

What it says: “The territory of Northern Eire, excluding the territorial waters of the UK (the “territory of Northern Eire”), shall be thought-about to be a part of the customs territory of the Union.”

What it means: Successfully the EU’s customs union will prolong to Northern Eire, one other measure geared toward stopping a tough border. However use of the phrase “territory” might rile Northern Irish unionists in part of the world the place land and sovereignty are exceptionally delicate.

Protocol on Eire/Northern Eire — Chapter IV, Article 10, Web page 102

What it says: “The Specialised Committee on points associated to the island of Eire established by Article 158 of the Withdrawal Settlement (“Specialised Committee”) shall be composed of representatives from the Union and the UK. The Specialised Committee shall (a) facilitate the implementation and software of this Protocol; (b) study proposals from the North-South Ministerial Council, and North-South Implementation our bodies arrange below the 1998 Settlement regarding the implementation and software of this Protocol; (c) talk about any level of relevance to this Protocol giving rise to a problem and raised by the Union or the UK; (d) make suggestions to the Joint Committee as regards the functioning of this Protocol.”

What it means: In addition to a wider joint committee co-chaired by the EU and the U.Okay. to supervise the withdrawal settlement, there will probably be 5 “specialised committees” together with one on Eire. Its job, if the protocol is ever really enforced, will probably be to implement it and “talk about any level of relevance … giving rise to a problem.” May very well be busy.

A billboard in west Belfast by Sinn Fein calling for a particular standing for Northern Eire | Paul Religion/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Protocol on Eire/Northern Eire — Chapter V, Article 15, Web page 105

What it says: “Ought to a subsequent settlement between the Union and the UK which permits addressing the distinctive circumstances on the island of Eire, avoiding a tough border and defending the 1998 Settlement in all its dimensions, grow to be relevant after the entry into power of the Withdrawal Settlement, this Protocol shall not apply or shall stop to use, because the case could also be, in entire or partly, from the date of entry into power of such subsequent settlement and in accordance with that settlement.”

What it means: This complete excruciatingly detailed protocol, which is completely unacceptable to the U.Okay. authorities, can vanish into skinny air if the U.Okay. can provide you with something higher that has the specified impact of avoiding a border and permitting seamless commerce to proceed on the island of Eire because it does now. Solutions on a postcard.

Supervision and enforcement  — Article 126, Web page 71

What it says: “Throughout the transition interval, the establishments, our bodies, places of work and companies of the Union shall have the powers conferred upon them by Union legislation in relation to the UK and pure and authorized individuals residing or established in the UK. Specifically, the Courtroom of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction as supplied for within the Treaties. The primary paragraph shall additionally apply as regards the interpretation and software of this Settlement.”

What it means: As anticipated, the European Courtroom of Justice will proceed to have full jurisdiction over the UK all through the transition interval, and can function the final word authority in relation to decoding and making use of the withdrawal settlement. Brexiteers hate the thought of a overseas court docket having a say in U.Okay. affairs past the Brexit date, however the point was conceded by Theresa May in October last year.

Suspension of advantages in the course of the transition interval — Article 165, Web page 96

What it says: “If in the course of the transition interval the Union considers that the UK has not fulfilled, in the course of the transition interval, an obligation below Union legislation as present in a judgment rendered pursuant to Article 126 of this Settlement in accordance with Article 258 TFEU [Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union], or that the UK doesn’t respect an order rendered pursuant to Article 126 of this Settlement in accordance with Article 279 TFEU, and the place the functioning of the interior market, of the customs union, or the monetary stability of the Union or its Member States can be jeopardised in consequence, the Union might droop sure advantages deriving for the UK from participation within the inside market.”

What it means:  In brief, the U.Okay. higher observe the foundations and do what it’s instructed throughout transition. This and subsequent clauses clarify the EU may have the higher hand in any disputes in the course of the transition interval over alleged non-compliance by the U.Okay. with EU legal guidelines, guidelines and rules. And if the U.Okay. refuses to implement a treatment of an alleged violation as ordered by the EU authorities, the EU may have a fast-track mechanism for imposing punishment — a “proportionate” suspension of sure advantages the U.Okay. receives from taking part within the EU’s single market. This level first emerged in a footnote to a previous version of the legal text but it surely has been spelled out extra explicitly and watered down barely — though not a lot.

The European Courtroom of Justice in Luxembourg | John Thys/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Settlement of disputes — Article 162, Web page 95 and Article 163, Web page 95

What it says: “If the dispute has not been settled inside three months after it was introduced earlier than the Joint Committee and has not been submitted to the Courtroom of Justice of the European Union by the Joint Committee pursuant to paragraph 3, the dispute could also be submitted to the Courtroom of Justice of the European Union for a ruling on the request of both the Union or the UK. The Courtroom of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction over such instances and its rulings shall be binding on the Union and the UK.

“If the Courtroom of Justice of the European Union finds … that the Union or the UK, because the case could also be, has not complied with its judgement, it might impose a lump sum or penalty cost on it.”

What it means: A joint EU-U.Okay. committee will probably be established to supervise and implement the withdrawal settlement, and may have broad authority, however in the end the European Courtroom of Justice remains to be the final word decider on issues regarding the withdrawal treaty. The U.Okay. is against continued jurisdiction of the EU’s high court docket past the top of transition, so this will probably be a degree of dispute in negotiating the ultimate treaty.

Border management examine level in Portsmouth, England | Matt Cardy/Getty Pictures

Residents’ rights closing date — Article 15, Web page 11

What it says: “Union residents, United Kingdom nationals, and their respective relations, who earlier than the top of the transition interval resided legally within the host State … for a interval of lower than 5 years, shall have the proper to accumulate the proper of everlasting residence set out in Article 14 of this Settlement as soon as they’ve accomplished the required durations of residence.”

What it means: The important thing phrase right here is “earlier than the top of the transition interval.” The U.Okay. had insisted that EU residents arriving after March 29, 2019 however earlier than the top of transition wouldn’t be entitled to so-called settled standing. “I’m clear there’s a distinction between these individuals who got here previous to us leaving and people who will come once they know the U.Okay. is not a member of the EU,” said May in January. Amid the Brexit information blizzard Wednesday, the U.Okay. conceded the purpose.

Making use of for residence — Article 17b, Web page 11

What it says: “The deadline for submitting the residence doc software shall not be lower than two years from the top of the transition interval.”

What it means: The cutoff date for making use of will probably be December 2022 on the earliest.

Making use of for residence — Article 17f, Web page 12

What it says: “Utility kinds shall be quick, easy, person pleasant and adjusted to the context of this Settlement; purposes made by households on the similar time shall be thought-about collectively.”

What it means: The EU needs the appliance course of for settled standing for its residents within the U.Okay. to be so simple as attainable. Avoiding administrative burdens was one of many European Parliament’s important considerations.

A lady makes her approach into the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France | Christopher Furlong/Getty Pictures

Spousal rights — footnote, Web page 8

What it says: “This displays the Fee’s view … [that] the household reunification proper supplied for within the Joint Report shall additionally cowl future companions or spouses of Union residents and United Kingdom nationals, who usually are not but companions or spouses.”

What it means: The textual content makes clear for the primary time that household reunification rights, which appeared within the December joint report, additionally cowl future companions. That’s one thing that MEPs had particularly pushed to make express within the textual content, however it’s more likely to meet resistance within the U.Okay. as a result of it might confer to EU27 nationals with settled standing after Brexit superior rights to British nationals.

Scope of rights — Article 32, Web page 23

What it says: “In respect of United Kingdom nationals and their relations, the rights supplied for by this Half shall not embrace additional free motion to the territory of one other Member State, the proper of firm within the territory of one other Member State, or the proper to offer companies on the territory of one other Member State or to individuals established in different Member States.”

What it means: The EU has not budged on its insistence that British residents given proper to stay in an EU nation don’t have the identical proper to maneuver and settle in one other EU nation — an instance, typically cited by British negotiators, of the EU taking a harder line on residents’ rights than they do.

Union liabilities on the finish of 2020 — Article 135, Web page 77

What it says: “The UK shall be liable to the Union for its share of the financing of the Union’s liabilities incurred till 31 December 2020 … Specifically, the UK shall contribute to its share of the Union legal responsibility for the pension and different worker advantages because it stands on 31 December 2020. Funds associated to this legal responsibility shall be made when the quantities fall due.”

What it means: The U.Okay. is on the hook for a Brexit invoice far bigger than its common annual contributions to the EU finances in the course of the 21-month transition interval — an as but undetermined sum of cash and one which the U.Okay. authorities has prevented describing in any particular phrases to the British public. Even a letter to MPs by Brexit Secretary David Davis on Wednesday referred solely cryptically to the funds for these liabilities, totaling billions of euros. “The U.Okay. will meet our obligations that we signed as much as below the present EU finances plan which runs till the top of 2020,” he wrote. “The U.Okay. can pay its justifiable share of liabilities, however may even obtain its justifiable share of property.” What Davis burdened as an alternative was an implicit risk to not pay if there isn’t a Brexit deal, noting “nothing is agreed till every little thing is agreed.”

Obligation {of professional} secrecy — Article 115, Web page 65

What it says: “Provisions of Union legislation imposing an obligation {of professional} secrecy on sure people and establishments, companies, places of work and our bodies of the Union shall apply in the UK in respect of any info of the type coated by the duty {of professional} secrecy obtained both earlier than the top of the transition interval, or thereafter in reference to actions of the Union pursuant to this Settlement. The UK shall respect these obligations of people and establishments, companies, places of work and our bodies and be sure that they’re complied with in its territory.”

What it means: Secrecy is a key difficulty for the reason that U.Okay. has had entry to EU insider info for many years. The EU27 needs to ensure that London is not going to share these secrets and techniques with others. December’s joint report (the political precursor to this doc) had extra balanced language, stressing the necessity for either side “to make sure compliance with obligations {of professional} secrecy.”

The Joint European Torus, resides within the U.Okay. and is seen as an essential stepping stone for ITER’s future

Euratom associated points: Safeguards — Article 77, Web page 50

What it says: “The UK shall implement a safeguards regime making use of a system providing equal effectiveness and protection as that supplied by the Group within the territory of the UK till the top of the transition interval.”

What it means: Euratom oversees all nuclear supplies and nuclear safeguard inspections within the EU, and holds nuclear cooperation agreements with nations exterior the bloc. The proposals within the Fee’s draft withdrawal deal observe the strains it laid out final yr — pushing accountability for the U.Okay.’s departure, together with agreeing new offers with the Worldwide Atomic Power Company and different nations, entirely over to London.

Ongoing judicial cooperation proceedings in felony issues — Article 58, Web page 35

What it says: “The competent authorities of the UK might proceed to take part within the joint investigation groups arrange earlier than the top of the transition interval in accordance with Article 13 of the Conference established by the Council in accordance with Article 34 of the Treaty on European Union, on Mutual Help in Felony Issues between the Member States … by which it was taking part earlier than the top of the transition interval.”

What it means: If there’s one other terror assault on EU soil, no person needs to be blamed for lack of cooperation. Entry to database and information-sharing will probably be sophisticated, however a minimum of joint investigations can go forward.

Members of the European Parliament participate in a voting session | Frederick Florin/AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Immunity of members of the European Parliament — Article 101, Web page 59

What it says: “[Existing rights to immunity from prosecution] shall apply in the UK in respect of opinions expressed or votes solid by members of the European Parliament, no matter their nationality, together with former members, within the efficiency of their duties earlier than the top of the transition interval.”

What it means: This and subsequent clauses grandfather current guidelines within the EU treaties that grant EU officers, judges and politicians immunity from prosecution and taxpaying obligations till the top of the transition interval. So a minimum of till 2021, Nigel Farage can relaxation straightforward.

Mental property — Article 50, Web page 30

What it says: “The place a geographical indication, designation of origin or conventional speciality assured throughout the that means of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, a geographical indication, designation of origin or conventional time period for wine throughout the that means of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, a geographical indication throughout the that means of Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council or throughout the that means of Regulation (EU) No 251/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, is protected within the Union on the final day of the transition interval, these entitled to make use of the geographical indication, the designation of origin, the standard speciality assured or the standard time period involved shall, as from the top of the transition interval, be entitled to make use of a proper in the UK granted below the legislation of the UK which offers for a minimum of the identical stage of safety, with respect to the geographical indication, the designation of origin, the standard speciality assured or the standard time period involved, because the safety supplied for by the next provisions of Union legislation.”

What it means: Brexit higher not have an effect on the flexibility of French winemakers to model their wines within the U.Okay. as additional particular ones that solely they may make. No sir.

David Herszenhorn, Jacopo Barigazzi, Charlie Cooper, Harry Cooper, Sara Stefanini, Maïa de La Baume and James Randerson contributed reporting.