Brexit blog


European Council agrees on further extension

Date: 11 April 2019

European leaders agreed to delay the deadline for Britain’s exit from the EU until 31 October 2019 at the latest, with a review planned at the end of June. Provided the UK does not manage to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement soon, this means it will have to hold EU elections.


EU Commission provides guidance on “no deal” Brexit preparedness

Date: 10 April 2019

Ahead of the European Council (Article 50), the Commission has taken stock of the European Union's preparations for a Brexit without Withdrawal Agreement and has issued a practical guidance concerning five areas. These areas include citizens' residence and social security entitlements, data protection, medicine and medical devices, police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and fisheries. There is, among others, reference to an amendment to Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 (yet to be adopted) providing UK nationals will – under certain circumstances – not need a visa when travelling to the EU for short stays of 90 days.


UK asks for further extension of the withdrawal period

Date: 5 April 2019

The UK has submitted a request for a further extension of the period provided for in Article 50(3) TEU, as extended by the European Council, until 30 June 2019.


EU Commission is preparing for no deal scenario

Date: 25 March 2019

The European Commission has released a series of factsheets summarising the EU’s preparations for the event that the UK should leave the bloc without ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement in April (as for the date cf. our entry dating 21 March 2019).


European Council agrees on a short extension to the Art. 50 deadline

Date: 21 March 2019

The European Council has agreed on a short extension to the Art. 50 TEU deadline in its conclusions: The extension applies until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week. If it is not approved by the House, the extensions applies only until 12 April 2019 and the European Council expects the UK “to indicate a way forward” before this date.


Prime Minister May seeks extension to the Art. 50 period

Date: 20 March 2019

In a letter to President Tusk, Prime Minister May has asked for an extension to the Art. 50 TEU deadline until 30 June 2019 in order to gain approval of the Withdrawal Agreement in Parliament. To be able to bring the Agreement before the House of Commons again, she is also seeking an approval of the European Coucil to the supplementary documents agreed to on 11 March 2019 (see below).


UK publishes details of tariff regime for no deal

Date: 13 March 2019

The UK Government has published details of the UK’s temporary tariff regime for no deal. British businesses would not pay customs duties on the majority of goods when importing into the UK should the UK leave the European Union without an agreement. The regime is designed to be temporary and will be monitored closely. It would apply for up to 12 months.


EU and UK agree on statements concerning the Withdrawal Agreement

Date: 11 March 2019

In a last minute agreement, the EU Commission and the UK have agreed on a “joint instrument” setting out their interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement and reassuring the UK that the Irish backstop will not become indefinite. The parties also released a new “joint statement” on the future trading arrangement and a “unilateral declaration” by the UK Government, asserting Britain’s right to apply to an arbitration panel to exit the backstop should a future trade deal not be concluded.


EU introduces Regulation on distribution of WTO tariff rate quotas

Date: 31 January 2019

European Parliament and Council have introduced the Regulation (EU) 2019/216 on the apportionment of tariff rate quotas included in the WTO schedule of the EU following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union. Such distribution will become necessary once the UK is no longer a Member State of the EU, unless there is an adaptation of the WTO schedule of the EU itself. It is uncertain whether negotiations on such an adaptation will lead to an agreement in due time. Therefore, the new Regulation delegates the power to adjust the tariff rate quotas according to the withdrawal of the UK to the Commission.


Letter from the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission to Prime Minister May

Date: 14 January 2019

In a joined letter, Tusk and Juncker have reacted to the Prime Minister May’s proposal to seek further commitments of the EU 27 regarding the Withdrawal agreement, particularly its take on the so‑​called “backstop” concerning the Irish/​Northern Irish border.


EU Commission implements “no‑​deal” Contingency Action Plan

Date: 19 December 2018

Due to uncertainty in the UK surrounding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the European Commission has started implementing its “no deal” Contingency Action Plan. The package includes 14 measures in a limited number of areas where a “no‑​deal” scenario would create major disruption for citizens and businesses in the EU27, including financial services, air transport, customs, and climate policy, amongst others.


ECJ rules on UK’s freedom to free to revoke intention to withdraw

Date: 10 December 2018

According to the ECJ’s judgment in „Wightman et al.”, the UK is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU. That possibility exists for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two‑​year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, and any possible extension, has not expired.


Final version of Withdrawal Agreement released

Date: 5 December 2018

The final version of the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK has been released. The agreement covers Citizen’s rights and separation issues as well as a transition period and a legally operational backstop to ensure that there will be no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Political declaration on framework for the future relationship

Date: 22 November 2018

Negotiators of the EU 27 and the UK have released a political declaration on the framework for the relationship of both sides after Brexit.


Draft Withdrawal Agreement released

Date: 14 November 2018

The European Commission and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the draft of the Withdrawal Agreement, as provided for under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.


Joint statement from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government published

Date: 19 June 2018

In their joint statement on the progress of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the European Union, the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government detail the articles of the draft Agreement where agreement has been reached at negotiators’ level, as well as those areas where further progress has been made.


European Commission agrees to its preliminary draft withdrawal treaty

Date: 28 February 2018

The European Commission agreed to its preliminary draft withdrawal treaty, which puts forward the following: According to this preliminary draft withdrawal treaty Northern Ireland will stay part of the customs union. Additionally, the European Court of Justice will retain legal authority. Lastly, the transitition period will end on 31.12.2020 and during the transistion period citizens of the UK will lose all voting rights.


UK releases Position Paper on EU citizens arriving in the UK during the implementation period

Date: 28 February 2018

In today’s position paper, the UK outlines to what terms and conditions the EU citizens will be able to move and stay in Great Britain. According to the Paper the terms will not change compared to the ones in place today.


UK presents formal position with regards to the EU’s Brexit transition proposal

Date: 21 February 2018

In their official response to the EU’s Brexit transition proposal, the UK puts forward their ideas for the transition period. The UK intends to put in place certain mechanisms that guarantee that there is no harm being done to the UK, due to new rules and legislations in the EU, during the transition period.


David Davis gives speech on the future economic partnership

Date: 20 February 2018

In his speech, Davis explained how important it was for the UK to continue to collaborate with the EU. He pointed out that by voting to leave the European Union, the British people did not vote against the ideals and values of the EU, but merely for more control for their own country.


Commission publishes draft legal text for transition agreement

Date: 7 February 2018

The Commission has prepared a draft legal text for a transition agreement with the UK. The underpinning principles for the arrangements for the transition period are laid down in the European Council guidelines of 29.04.2017 and 15.12.2017 and they were further developed in the Council negotiating directives of 29.01.2018 (see below for all three). On this basis, this paper outlines in legal terms how such arrangements should be given effect in the Withdrawal Agreement.


Internal EU27 preparatory discussions on the framework for future relationship published

Date: 31 January 2018

In a set of internal slides, the Commission has presented first ideas on the framework for a future relationship, stressing that a level playing field must be ensured, notably in terms of competition and state aid, tax, labour and environment policies. In this regard, the future framework would have to go beyond existing free trade agreements in terms of substantive rules, dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms.


Council adopts supplementary directives for the further negotiations with the UK

Date: 29 January 2018

The Council has allowed negotiations to begin on possible transitional arrangements and adopted supplementary directives setting out details on possible transitional arrangements, inter alia the need for a clearly defined transition period ending by the end of 2020 at the latest. The European Council guidelines of 29.04.2017 and the general principles established in the Council negotiating directives of 22.05.2017 (see below for both) continue to apply.


European Council adopts guidelines for second phase of negotiations

Date: 15 December 2017

Sitting in a EU27‑format, the European Council has reassessed the state of progress in the Brexit negotiations and confirmed sufficient progress had been achieved on citizens' rights, Ireland and financial obligations. Leaders adopted guidelines to move to the second phase of Brexit negotiations.


European Parliament adopts resolution on the state of play of negotiations

Date: 13 December 2017

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom. While the EP supports entering into the second phase, it points out that there are still outstanding issues which must be resolved before the Withdrawal Agreement can be finished.


EU and UK publish a joint report about the first phase of negotiations

Date: 8 December 2017

In a report, published today, both parties state that they have reached an agreement on the topics of citizen’s rights, Ireland/​Northern Ireland and financial settlements. However, not all the details have been worked out yet.


House of Commons releases report about the progress of the negotiations

Date: 1 December 2017

Next to citizen’s rights and financial settlements, the report also discusses the subject of Ireland/​Northern Ireland. The U.K.’s intention to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit is inconsistent with its plan to withdraw from the EU’s single market and customs union, lawmakers on the U.K.’s Brexit committee said in a report released today.


Davis gives speech about future of Europe in Berlin

Date: 16 November 2017

In his speech, Davis states that, despite their “divorce”, the EU and the UK will have shared interests in the future. Therefore, he says, a continued security cooperation is called for. Moreover, both parties should make efforts to facilitate the movement of goods and services, according to Davis.


Chief negotiator Barnier gives speech following the sixth round of negotiations

Date: 10 November 2017

In his speech, Barnier says that coming to a reasonable deal in a timely manner is the top priority of his team. Moreover, he elaborates on the different topics that have not yet been sufficiently discussed – family reunification, the right to export social sercurity benefits and the role of the European Court of justice in guaranteeing consistent application of case law in the UK and in the EU.


European Council issues a conclusion about the 5th round of negotiations

Date: 20 October 2017

According to its conclusion, the EU Council sees progress with respect to citizen’s rights and the Irish border question after the 5th round of negotiations. However, it hopes for a concrete commitment regarding the financial settlement.


EU Commission and UK government issue a press releases after the 5th round of Article 50 negotiations

Date: 12 October 2017

According to press releases of both the Commission and the UK government, the negotiations so far have been constructive, yet have not yielded as many results as expected. Both parties will continue the negotiations with special focus on citizen’s rights, Ireland and financial settlements.


Prime Minister May gives “Florence Speech”

Date: 22 September 2017

In a speech, Prime Minister May has stated that she believed the negotiations between the EU and the UK to be of crucial importance for the future of both partners. Moreover, she has pointed out that a future collaboration in economic and security matters was essential.


EU Commission publishes further position papers and guidelines on a variety of topics

Date: 21 September 2017

Today, the EU Commission has released four more position papers  on intellectual property rights, public procurement, customs, and the use and protection of information, starting before Brexit and afterwards. Moreover, the EU Commission has issued guidelines on the Irish border question.


UK Government publishes position paper on future security cooperation with the EU

Date: 12 September 2017

­The UK Government wants a “deep security partnership” with the EU after Brexit. In a position paper published today, the Government has said that it is aiming for a security cooperation with the Union that is closer than with any country outside the bloc.


UK Government publishes position paper on research and innovation programs the UK wants to remain part of after Brexit

Date: 6 September 2017

­The British Government has published a new policy paper on “collaboration on science and innovation”. The paper outlines the UK’s objectives for a possible future science and innovation agreement with the EU, though the EU maintains its position on tackling “divorce” issues first.


UK Government publishes position papers on several issues, including dispute settlement with the EU post Brexit

Date: 24 August 2017

­The UK Government has published a further set of position papers outlining its negotiating approach. The papers address goods on the market and confidentiality and access to official documents, the future judicial cooperation in civil matters, issues of data protection and the UK’s position on enforcement and dispute resolution post Brexit. The proposal on dispute settlement has been awaited early and might pave the way for a solution for the dispute between the EU and the UK on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). While reiterating the UK’s intention to leave the “direct jurisdiction” of the ECJ, the paper leaves room for an indirect arrangement. It indicates that the UK might be willing to accept an arbitration body with a competence to refer cases to the ECJ, or would be willing to join the EFTA Court via a customised agreement (cf. a proposal by the President of the EFTA Court in the blog entry of 21 August 2017 below).


President of the EFTA Court backs proposals to establish jurisdiction of the Court for post Brexit dispute resolution

Date: 21 August 2017

­According to British newspaper The Times, Carl Baudenbacher, President of the Court of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA Court), has backed a proposal made earlier this month to establish jurisdiction of the EFTA Court for dispute resolution after Brexit (cf. here). Baudenbacher has suggested that an arrangement could be made with regard to a future partnership agreement between the UK and the EU.


UK Government publishes position papers on Irish border question

Date: 16 August 2017

­The UK Government has published a policy paper which outlines its position on addressing the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and the land border with Ireland. The paper puts forward proposals on avoiding a “hard” border on the movement of goods and plans to preserve the wide range of institutional cooperation between Northern Ireland, Ireland and Great Britain including for the energy market, despite the UK leaving the customs union.


UK Government proposes temporary customs union in a position paper

Date: 15 August 2017

­The British Government has published the first in a series of new papers outlining the UK’s negotiating position for Brexit. In the paper, the Government proposes to stay in a temporary customs union with the EU during an “interim period” after Brexit. The EU has rejected the proposal, reiterating its position that withdrawal terms must be addressed first.


President of the European Court of Justice proposes to use EFTA Court for dispute resolution post Brexit

Date: 9 August 2017

­Speaking to the British newspaper the Times, Koen Lenaerts, the President of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), has proposed using the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Court for dispute resolution after Brexit (cf. here). The EFTA Court oversees access and membership to the single market for non‑​EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway within the framework of EU law. The proposal might offer a solution for the opposing positions of the UK and the EU27 on the jurisdiction of the ECJ post Brexit.


Irish parliamentary committee publishes report on Irish priorities for Brexit

Date: 2 August 2017

­An Irish parliamentary committee looking at the impact of Brexit on Ireland has set out a proposal outlining recommendations on what the Republic of Ireland should seek in the EU‑​UK agreement, including special status for Northern Ireland, the need final to protect structural funds and no new passport controls. Also, the recommendations aim at finding a way toward peaceful reunification with Northern Ireland, following which the latter – just like Eastern Germany after Reunification – would (re‑) join the EU.


European Banking Authority publishes draft standards

Date: 14 July 2017

­The European Banking Authority (EBA) has released draft standards for information that banks relocating from the UK must submit to apply for authorization to operate in the EU. The agency said the European Commission should adopt them as soon as possible to benefit firms moving as a result of Brexit.


UK Government publishes proposal for Withdrawal Bill

Date: 13 July 2017

­The UK Government has introduced its proposal for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The proposal aims at ending the supremacy of EU law in the UK and replacing EU secondary rules – the so‑​called acquis – by transferring them onto the UK statute book, which can then be amended by Parliament.


UK Government publishes new set of position papers

Date: 13 July 2017

­The British Government has published three position papers post leaving the EURATOM‑​Treaty, privileges and immunities and the treatment of judicial and administrative proceedings between the UK and the EU at the time of withdrawal.


European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority issues opinion on supervisory convergence

Date: 11 July 2017

­The European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority (EIOPA) has issued an opinion on supervisory convergence in light of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union. In its opinion, the EU agency states that insurers and reinsurers looking to relocate from the UK to the remaining EU Member States should face close scrutiny from national authorities to make sure their corporate business models do not display characteristics of an empty shell.


EU Commission publishes further set of policy papers for negotiations

Date: 28 June 2017

­The EU Commission has published a further set of policy papers in preparation for the withdrawal negotiations with the UK. The six papers deal with Goods placed on the Market under Union law before the withdrawal date, Judicial Cooperation in Civil and Commercial Matters, Ongoing Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal matters, Ongoing Union Judicial and Administrative Procedures, the Functioning of the Union Institutions, Agencies and Bodies, and Governance.


UK Government publishes policy paper on position of EU citizens in the UK post Brexit

Date: 26 June 2017

­The British Government has published a policy paper outlining the prospective rights of EU citizens in the UK after Brexit. In its details, the proposal does not meet the expectations of the EU partners, most notably because of a refusal to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for dispute resolution.


Commission publishes position paper on nuclear materials and safeguard equipment (Euratom)

Date: 22 June 2017

­The so‑​called “Task Force 50” of the European Commission dealing with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has published a position paper on nuclear materials and safeguard equipment (Euratom) in preparation of the upcoming rounds of Brexit negotiations with the UK Government. Tackling these issues has become necessary as the UK wants to leave the European Atomic Energy Community along with leaving the European Union.


ECJ published decision on free movement of services between the UK and Gibraltar

Date: 13 June 2017

­With regard to certain gaming services provided by Gibraltar‑​based gambling operators, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has decided that the freedom to provide services in other EU Member States (art. 56 TFEU) does not apply between Gibraltar and the UK. Meanwhile, the ECJ has emphasised that the decision does not undermine the separate and distinct status of Gibraltar. The latter might play a role during the Brexit negotiations.


European Medicines Agency issues guidelines concerning Brexit

Date: 31 May 2017

European Medicines Agency (EMA), also an agency of the EU, has issued a Q&A for the pharma sector on what to do after Brexit with regard to medicinal products for human and veterinary use within the framework of the Centralised Procedure.


European Securities and Markets Authority issues guidelines concerning Brexit

Date: 31 May 2017

­The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), an official EU agency, has issued a set of guidelines to instruct the EU countries on how to deal with firms that are relocating after Brexit, with the aim of ensuring consistent supervision across the bloc.


EU Commission publishes position papers on citizens’ rights and financial settlement

Date: 24 May 2017

­The EU Commission has published the first two position papers ahead of the Brexit negotiations with the UK. The papers on “Essential Principles on Citizens' Rights” and “Essential Principles on Financial Settlement” contain the main principles of the EU position in this regard, to be presented to the UK in the context of negotiations under Art. 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU).


Council authorises beginning of talks with the UK

Date: 22 May 2017

­The Council, meeting in an EU27 format, adopted a decision authorising the beginning of talks with the UK following the notification of its intention to leave the EU. The Commission – with Michel Barnier leading the team – was nominated as the EU negotiator. Ministers adopted a first set of negotiating directives that sets the EU position for the first phase of the negotiations. The text prioritises issues that have been identified as necessary for an orderly withdrawal, including citizens' rights, the financial settlement and the situation of Ireland.


ECJ publishes opinion on free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore

Date: 16 May 2017

­In an opinion concerning a prospective free trade agreement with Singapore, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has determined that most aspects of the agreement – except regulation on portfolio investments – can be concluded by the EU alone without the consent of the Member States. In this regard, the opinion might be relevant for the conclusion of a future free trade agreement between the EU and the UK. The Court also indicated that the only institution competent for the settlement of disputes arising from such a free trade agreement would be the ECJ itself. However, abolishing the jurisdiction of the ECJ for UK cases is amongst the core aims of the UK for Brexit (see, e. g. the Lancaster House Speech here).


European Council agrees on guidelines for Brexit negotiations

Date: 29 April 2017

­The Special European Council (Article 50), sitting in an EU 27 format, has adopted guidelines for the Brexit negotiations. The guidelines will define the framework for negotiations and set out the overall EU positions and principles during the talks. The European Council will update the guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary.


European Parliament publishes resolution concerning Brexit negotiations with the UK

Date: 5 April 2017

­The European Parliament has published a resolution on negotiations with the UK following its notification of withdrawal. The European Parliament stresses in particular that an exit agreement should see to the protection of the rights of EU citizens residing in the UK and of UK citizens living in the remaining 27 EU Member States. According to the EU‑​Treaties, the consent of the European Parliament is necessary for an exit agreement to enter into force.


UK Government publishes White Paper on the replacement of EU legislation in the UK

Date: 30 March 2017

­In a White Paper, the Department for Exiting the EU of the UK Government has laid out its plans on how to replace EU law currently in place in the UK – the so‑​called „acquis“. The paper titled „Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union“ can be accessed here.


UK delivers exit letter to the EU

Date: 29 March 2017

­The UK’s representative to the EU, Tim Barrow, has delivered the so‑​called “Brexit letter” announcing the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. The letter sets off the notice period of two years laid down in article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU). Upon expiry of the deadline by the end of 29 March 2019, the UK will leave the EU by default.


UK Government publishes White Paper on Brexit

Date: 2 February 2017

­The UK Government has published a White Paper on the goals and aims for an exit settlement and an agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the remaining EU Member States. The paper on „The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union“ can be found here.


Prime Minister May presents her cornerstone ideas for Brexit

Date: 17 January 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May has presented 12 goals and key points for the upcoming Brexit negotiations with the remaining 27 EU Member States. For the full text of her „Lancaster House Speech“, see here.