Date: 21 September 2020
The UK has introduced the Internal Market Bill. Should it be adopted, the act would override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement signed with the EU, namely controls on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland provided for in the Protocol for Northern Ireland/Ireland (so‑called backstop mechanism), which is binding according to international law.
Date: 9 September 2020
The UK has issued a statement announcing that the UK will follow WTO subsidy rules after the end of the transition period. This marks a sharp contrast to the so‑called Political Declaration, in which the UK and the EU agreed to create a level‑playing field for fair competition – including state aid control – as part of any future partnership between the two parties.
Date: 17 April 2020
Current information on past and present negotiation rounds for the future partnership between the EU and the UK and their outcomes can be found here.
Date: 5 March 2020
The UK competition law team of our strategic partner law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, headed by partner Andrij Jurkiw, has outlined the implications of Brexit on merger control. We are happy to share the analysis with you in the newsletter section of our website. For general insights on Brexit from our partner’s British perspective, please see their Brexit hub.
Date: 27 February 2020
Two days after the EU’s official negotiation directives had been adopted (see below), the UK Government has published its own approach to the negotiations of a future relationship deal. There is a striking difference on the two parties’ positions regarding three key issues in particular — state aid, dispute resolution and fishing. In these areas, the UK aims at maximum sovereign divergence from Brussels respectively Luxemburg.
Date: 25 February 2020
The Council has adopted negotiating directives for talks on a new partnership with the UK which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations commencing in March. The mandate stresses that the future partnership should be underpinned by robust commitments to ensure a “level playing field” for open and fair competition and some kind of parallel evolution of rules, given the EU and the UK's proximity and interdependence. The EU intends to establish a free trade agreement with the UK comprising zero tariffs and quotas for the trade in goods, providing for cooperation on customs and regulatory aspects, and including dispute settlement and enforcement arrangements. The mandate also contains provisions for future cooperation in areas such as digital trade, intellectual property, public procurement, mobility, transport, energy, and fisheries. The EU will seek to establish a comprehensive security partnership with the UK.
Date: 30 January 2020
The Council has adopted, by written procedure, the decision on the conclusion of the Withdrawal Agreement on behalf of the EU. This follows the European Parliament's consent on 29 January 2020 and the signature of the Agreement by both parties on 24 January 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement enters into force upon the UK's exit from the EU, on 31 January 2020 at midnight CET. From that time on, the UK is no longer an EU member state but a third country.
Date: 23 January 2020
In the UK, the Government's Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will take the UK out of the EU on 31 January, has passed all its stages in Parliament and been given Royal Assent.
Date: 13 January 2020
The EU Commission has shared an internal EU 27 preparatory discussion on the future relationship, which was first presented to EU27 Member States and later made public. One aspect stressed was the hint that the Commission has a “limited margin” to offer the UK better market access for goods and services than it has done for other countries such as Canada. So‑called most‑favored‑nation clauses included in recent EU trade deals mean that for certain goods and services, more generous offers made to the UK would automatically also apply to existing deals.
Date: 29 October 2019
The European Council has adopted a decision to extend the period under Article 50 para. 3 TEU, in the context of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU. The extension will last until 31 January 2020 to allow more time for the ratification of the withdrawal agreement. The withdrawal can take place earlier on 1 December 2019 or 1 January 2020, if the withdrawal agreement is ratified by both parties.
Date: 19 October 2019
In a letter to Council President Tusk, the British Prime Minister has asked for another extension of the withdrawal period until 31 January 2020, hence following the requirements of the so‑called “Benn Act”. In another letter of the same day, the Prime Minister has announced that Government is still confident to complete the process of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement by 31 October 2019.
Date: 17 October 2019
The EU and the UK have negotiated amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration accompanying it. The main feature of the amendment to the Agreement is a replacement of the so‑called “backstop” for Northern Ireland by an intricate set of rules providing that Northern Ireland will officially be part of the UK’s customs territory, while at the same time the EU‑UK customs border is placed in the Irish Sea. The Political Declaration now contains an even stronger commitment to ensure a level playing field in any future trade agreement (e. g. in matters such as state aid, competition, social and environmental standards).
Date: 8 October 2019
The UK Government has published a report outlining its preparations for a no deal scenario. The paper deals – amongst others – with border, citizens and data protection issues, energy and environment, services and industry and the question of Northern Ireland.
The document has been updated on 14 October 2019.
Date: 25 September 2019
Negotiators on both sides – Michel Barnier for the EU27 and Stephen Barclay for the UK – have exchanged letters here and here exploring the options to enter into a structured engagement concerning both sides’ preparations for a no‑deal scenario, particularly with regard to Citizens’ rights, movement of goods and exchange of data. The EU position, however, firmly remains that such an engagement can only be reached as part of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Date: 12 June 2019
The EU Commission has taken stock of its Brexit preparedness and contingency measures in a communication. In its annex I it lists 19 (mainly adopted) legislative measures preparing for a no deal, while annex II contains a list of 93 preparedness notices of the separate services of the Commission. The Commission has concluded that the measures remain fit for purpose and no further measures need be planned. The Communication provides details on the extensive preparations in areas such as citizens' residence and social security entitlements, customs and taxation, transport, fishing, financial services as well as medicinal products, medical devices and chemical substances.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.