Brexit: ‘Sufficient progress’ to move to Phase 2, December 2017

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details No.8183 (19.12.17)
Publication Date 19/12/2017
Content Type

This paper looks at the path towards 'sufficient progress' in the first phase of Brexit negotiations and the Joint Report agreed by the UK Government and the EU in December 2017. It focused on the three priority areas:

+ protecting the rights of Union citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the Union
+ the framework for addressing the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland with its border with Ireland
+ the financial settlement

The paper also looks at other developments and parliamentary consideration of Brexit in December 2017.

Further information

On 15 December 2017 the European Council endorsed the European Commission’s assessment that 'sufficient progress' had been made in the Brexit negotiations for the EU and the UK to move on to phase two of the Brexit negotiations. This came after a series of stops and starts, as the two sides grappled with the three priority issues in phase one: citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border question.

The November 2017 negotiations had not produced much movement on any of the three areas. The EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, issued an ultimatum, giving the UK two weeks to come up with proposals which would satisfy the EU – and in the case of the Irish border issue, the Government of Ireland in particular.

On 8 December 2017, after intensive discussions, the EU and UK announced that a joint report had been agreed which satisfied the 'sufficient progress' criterion, and that therefore the negotiations could move on to phase two in January 2018.

But phase two would not include the detail of future trade relations. The joint report calls for 'an agreement as early as possible in 2018 on transitional arrangements'. There would be another separate mandate for negotiations on a future trade framework in late March 2018.

For the transitional period, the European Parliament and the European Council made clear that all existing European Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures must apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union, but with no UK participation in decision-making, since it would no longer be a member of the EU.

Exploratory discussions on the framework for the future relationship would begin only after the adoption by the European Council of additional guidelines in March 2018. The UK had still to clarify its position on the type of trade deal it sought with the EU.

Source Link
Related Links
United Kingdom: House of Commons: Library: Briefing Paper No.7958 (18.09.18 and periodically updated): Brexit reading list: general coverage
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
Blog: Institute for Government, 21.12.17: Negotiating Brexit in 2018
Blog: Institute for Government, 21.12.17: Implementing Brexit in 2018
Blog: Institute for Government, 21.12.17: Legislating Brexit in 2018
European Council: European Council (Art.50), Brussels, 15 December 2017
EP: EPRS: Briefing, December 2017: The Brexit process: Moving to the second phase of negotiations

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