EU adopts position on Brexit transitional period

European and foreign ministers from the EU27 today adopted a new set of Brexit negotiating directives at a meeting of the General Affairs Council (Art. 50). They set out that the UK will continue to follow current and future EU policies adopted during the transitions, without having a formal vote on the laws.. They also require the UK to respect the role of the Court of Justice of the EU, as well as continuing to pay into the EU budget until the transition period ends on December 31st 2020.

“Membership without representation”

The negotiating directives require that “any transitional arrangements require the United Kingdom’s continued participation in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) during the transition.”

The guidelines also forbid the UK from entering into its own trade agreements during the transition, unless the EU explicitly allows it to do so. It will still remain bound by all the obligations of the trade agreements the EU has entered into.

The UK would no longer elect any members of EU institutions, nor take part in the decision-making of new laws that will apply to the UK during the transition period. The transition “should not last beyond December 31 2020”.

European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstaft stated beforehand the transition period was essentially “membership without representation”.

UK to be a “vassal” of the EU during transitional period? 

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a prominent Eurosceptic and chair of the European Research Group, said that the transition period would lead to the UK remaining a “vassal state” of the EU, going on to say that people in the UK don’t want such a situation.

David Davis set out his position on the transitional period last week, stating that the UK would be seeking a way of “resolving concerns” if laws went contrary to the UK’s interests.

In March, EU leaders will adopt guidelines on the future relationship to be negotiated between the UK and the EU, though it will not be concluded until the UK has formally left the European Union.

Image source, Council of the EU

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