Greg Lance – Watkins
Donald Tusk’s statement in full:
First of all I would like to thank Prime Minister Muscat for his hospitality and the extraordinary job already done by the Maltese presidency.A steady, solid and superb rotating Presidency of the Council is even more important in times like these. So thank you again for your work, Joseph.The main point on our agenda was obviously Brexit.Today my task is to propose the draft negotiating guidelines on Brexit to the 27 EU leaders. To the 27, because from Wednesday, after triggering Article 50, the United Kingdom is now on the other side of the negotiating table.We have worked very fast, because, as you know, the Treaty gives us only two years to reach an agreement.Allow me to outline the main elements and principles of my proposal.We treat them as fundamental and will firmly stand by them.Our duty is to minimise the uncertainty and disruption caused by the UK decision to withdraw from the EU for our citizens, businesses and Member States.As I have already said, in essence it is about damage control.We need to think of people first.Citizens from all over the EU live, work and study in the UK. And as long as the UK remains a member, their rights are fully protected. But we need to settle their status and situations after the withdrawal with reciprocal, enforceable and non-discriminatory guarantees.Second, we must prevent a legal vacuum for our companies that stems from the fact that after Brexit the EU laws will no longer apply to the UK.Third, we will also need to make sure that the UK honours all financial commitments and liabilities it has taken as a Member State. It is only fair towards all those people, communities, scientists, farmers and so on to whom we, all the 28, promised and owe this money.I can guarantee that the EU, on our part, will honour all our commitments.Fourth, we will seek flexible and creative solutions aiming at avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. It is of crucial importance to support the peace process in Northern Ireland.These four issues are all part of the first phase of our negotiations.Once, and only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal, can we discuss the framework for our future relationship.Starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time, as suggested by some in the UK, will not happen. And when talking about our future relationship, we obviously share the UK’s desire to establish a close partnership between us.Strong ties, reaching beyond the economy and including security cooperation, remain in our common interest.Let me conclude by saying that the talks which are about to start will be difficult, complex and sometimes even confrontational.There is no way around it.The EU27 does not and will not pursue a punitive approach.Brexit in itself is already punitive enough.After more than forty years of being united, we owe it to each other to do everything we can to make this divorce as smooth as possible. This is also why Prime Minister May and I have agreed to stay in close and regular contact throughout this process.I intend to visit Theresa May in London before the April European Council.
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Council of the
Brussels, 31 March 2017(OR. en)
From: General Secretariat of the Council
Subject: European Council (Art. 50) (29 April 2017)
-Draft guidelines following the United Kingdom’s notification under Article
Delegations will find attached the draft European Council (Art. 50) guidelines following the United
Kingdom’s notification under Article 50 TEU, prepared by the President of the European Council.
On 29 March 2017, the European Council has received the notification by the United Kingdom of its intention to withdraw from the European Union and Euratom. This allows for the opening of negotiations as foreseen by the Treaty.
European integration has brought peace and prosperity to Europe and allowed for an unprecedented level and scope of cooperation on matters of common interest in a rapidly changing world.
Therefore, the Union’s overall objective in these negotiations will be to preserve its interests, those of its Member States, its citizens and its businesses.
The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the Union creates significant uncertainties that have the potential to cause disruption, in particular in the UK but also in other Member States. Citizens who have built their lives on the basis of rights flowing from the British membership of the EU face the prospect of losing those rights. Businesses and other stakeholders will lose the predictability and certainty that come with EU law. With this in mind, we must proceed according to a phased approach giving priority to an orderly withdrawal.
In these negotiations the Union will act as one. It will be constructive throughout and will strive to find an agreement. This is in the best interest of both sides. The Union will work hard to achieve that outcome, but it will prepare itself to be able to handle the situation also if the negotiations were to fail.
These guidelines define the framework for negotiations under Article 50 TEU and set out the overall positions and principles that the Union will pursue throughout the negotiation. The European Council will remain permanently seized of the matter, and will update these guidelines in the course of the negotiations as necessary.
The European Council will continue to base itself on the principles set out in the statement of Heads of State or Government and of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission on 29 June 2016.
It reiterates its wish to have the United Kingdom as a close partner in the future. It further reiterates that any agreement with the United Kingdom will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and ensure a level-playing field.
Preserving the integrity of the Single Market excludes participation based on a sector-bysector approach. A non-member of the Union, that does not live up to the same obligations as a member, cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits as a member.
In this context, the European Council welcomes the recognition by the British Government that the four freedoms of the Single Market are indivisible and that there can be no “cherry picking”.
Negotiations under Article 50 TEU will be conducted as a single package. In accordance with the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot be settled separately.
The Union will approach the negotiations with unified positions, and will engage with the United Kingdom exclusively through the channels set out in these guidelines
and in the negotiating directives.
So as not to undercut the position of the Union, there will be no separate negotiations between individual Member States and the United Kingdom on matters pertaining to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union.
A PHASED APPROACH TO NEGOTIATIONS
On the date of withdrawal, the Treaties will cease to apply to the United Kingdom, to those of its overseas countries and territories currently associated to the Union, and to territories for whose external relations the United Kingdom is responsible.
The main purpose of the negotiations will be to ensure the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal so as to reduce uncertainty and, to the extent possible, minimise disruption caused by this abrupt change.
To that effect, the first phase of negotiations will aim to:
– settle the disentanglement of the United Kingdom from the Union and from all the
rights and obligations the United Kingdom derives from commitments undertaken as
– provide as much clarity and legal certainty as possible to citizens, businesses,
stakeholders and international partners on the immediate effects of the United
Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union.
The European Council will monitor progress closely and determine when sufficient progress has been achieved to allow negotiations to proceed to the next phase.
While an agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country, Article 50 TEU requires to take account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union in the arrangements for withdrawal.
To this end, an overall understanding on the framework for the future relationship could be identified during a second phase of the negotiations under Article 50.
The Union and its Member States stand ready to engage in preliminary and preparatory discussions to this end in the context of negotiations under Article 50 TEU, as soon as sufficient progress has been made in the first phase towards reaching a satisfactory agreement on the arrangements for an orderly withdrawal.
To the extent necessary and legally possible, the negotiations may also seek to determine transitional arrangements which are in the interest of the Union and, as appropriate, to provide for bridges towards the foreseeable framework for the future relationship.
Any such transitional arrangements must be clearly defined, limited in time, and subject to effective enforcement mechanisms.
Should a time-limited prolongation of Union acquis be considered, this would require existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory and enforcement instruments and structures to apply.
The core principles set out above should apply equally to the negotiations on an orderly withdrawal, to any preliminary and preparatory discussions on the framework for a future relationship, and to any form of transitional arrangements.
The two year timeframe set out in Article 50 TEU ends on 29 March 2019.
AGREEMENT ON ARRANGEMENTS FOR AN ORDERLY WITHDRAWAL
The right for every EU citizen, and of his or her family members, to live, to work or to study in any EU Member State is a fundamental aspect of the European Union.
Along with other rights provided under EU law, it has shaped the lives and choices of millions of people.
Agreeing reciprocal guarantees to settle the status and situations at the date of withdrawal of EU and UK citizens, and their families, affected by the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union will be a matter of priority for the negotiations.
Such guarantees must be enforceable and non-discriminatory.
Also, the United Kingdom leaving the Union will impact EU businesses trading with and
operating in the United Kingdom and UK businesses trading with and operating in the Union.
Similarly, it may affect those who have entered into contracts and business arrangements or take part in EU-funded programmes based on the assumption of continued British EU membership.
Negotiations should seek to prevent a legal vacuum once the Treaties cease to
apply to the United Kingdom and, to the extent possible, address uncertainties.
A single financial settlement should ensure that the Union and the United Kingdom both respect the obligations undertaken before the date of withdrawal.
The settlement should cover all legal and budgetary commitments as well as liabilities, including contingent liabilities.
The Union has consistently supported the goal of peace and reconciliation enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement, and continuing to support and protect the achievements, benefits and commitments of the Peace Process will remain of paramount importance.
In view of the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, flexible and imaginative solutions will be required, including with the aim of avoiding a hard border, while respecting the integrity of the Union legal order.
In this context, the Union should also recognise existing bilateral agreements and arrangements between the United Kingdom and Ireland which are compatible with EU law.
The Union should agree with the United Kingdom on arrangements as regards the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom in Cyprus and recognise in that respect bilateral agreements and arrangements between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom which are compatible with EU law, in particular as regards the situation of those EU citizens resident or working in the Sovereign Base Areas.
Following the withdrawal, the Union with 27 Member States will continue to have the rights and obligations of the Union with 28 Member States in relation to international agreements.
The United Kingdom will no longer be covered by agreements concluded by the Union or by Member States acting on its behalf or by both acting jointly.
The European Council expects the United Kingdom to honour its share of international commitments contracted in the context of its EU membership.
In such instances, a constructive dialogue with the United Kingdom on a possible common approach towards third country partners and international organisations concerned should be engaged.
While the future location of the seats of EU agencies and facilities located in the United
Kingdom is a matter for the 27 Member States, arrangements should be found to facilitate their transfer.
Arrangements ensuring legal certainty and equal treatment should be found for all court procedures pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union upon the date of withdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the United Kingdom.
The Court of Justice of the European Union should remain competent to adjudicate
in these procedures.
Similarly, arrangements should be found for administrative procedures pending before the European Commission and Union agencies upon the date of the withdrawal that involve the United Kingdom or natural or legal persons in the United Kingdom.
In addition, arrangements should be foreseen for the possibility of administrative or
court proceedings to be initiated post-exit for facts that have occurred before the withdrawal date.
The withdrawal agreement should include appropriate dispute settlement mechanisms
regarding the application and interpretation of the withdrawal agreement, as well as duly circumscribed institutional arrangements allowing for the adoption of measures necessary to deal with situations not foreseen in the withdrawal agreement.
This should be done bearing in mind the Union’s interest to effectively protect its autonomy and its legal order, including the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
PRELIMINARY AND PREPARATORY DISCUSSIONS ON A FRAMEWORK FOR
THE UNION – UNITED KINGDOM FUTURE RELATIONSHIP
The European Council welcomes and shares the United Kingdom’s desire to establish a close partnership between the Union and the United Kingdom after its departure.
While a relationship between the Union and a non Member State cannot offer the same benefits as Union membership, strong and constructive ties will remain in both sides’ interest and should encompass more than just trade.
The British government has indicated that it will not seek to remain in the single market, but would like to pursue an ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union.
Based on the Union’s interests, the European Council stands ready to initiate work towards such an agreement, to be finalised and concluded once the United Kingdom is no longer a Member State.
Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging.
however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would
undermine its integrity and proper functioning.
It must ensure a level playing field in terms of competition and state aid, and must encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, fiscal, social and environmental dumping.
Beyond trade, the EU stands ready to consider establishing a partnership in other areas, in particular the fight against terrorism and international crime as well as security and defence.
The future partnership must include appropriate enforcement and dispute settlement
mechanisms that do not affect the Union’s autonomy, in particular its decision-making
After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.
PRINCIPLE OF SINCERE COOPERATION
Until it leaves the Union, the United Kingdom remains a full Member of the European Union, subject to all rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under EU law, including the principle of sincere cooperation.
The European Council recognises the need, in the international context, to take into account the specificities of the United Kingdom as a withdrawing Member State, provided it remains loyal to the Union’s interests while still a Member.
Similarly the Union expects the United Kingdom to recognise the need of the 27 Member States to meet and discuss matters related to the situation after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom.
While the United Kingdom is still a member, all ongoing EU business must continue to
proceed as smoothly as possible at 28.
The European Council remains committed to drive forward with ambition the priorities the Union has set itself.
Negotiations with the United Kingdom will be kept separate from ongoing Union business, and shall not interfere with its progress.
PROCEDURAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR NEGOTIATIONS UNDER ARTICLE 50
The European Council endorses the arrangements set out in the statement of 27 Heads of State or Government on 15 December 2016.
You can also read this as a .pdf file if you Click: BREXIT ARTICLE 50 EU RESPONSE 31-Mar-2017
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