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Brexit: Make or break? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-10-2019

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has presented a draft text to replace the 'Irish backstop', with the aim of reaching agreement with the other 27 EU leaders on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the EU in the coming weeks. While the UK withdrawal is currently scheduled for 31 October, the UK Parliament has adopted legislation obliging Johnson to seek a delay in that date, if no deal is reached by 19 October. But with British politics in turmoil, it remains unclear if the Prime ...

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has presented a draft text to replace the 'Irish backstop', with the aim of reaching agreement with the other 27 EU leaders on the United Kingdom's orderly withdrawal from the EU in the coming weeks. While the UK withdrawal is currently scheduled for 31 October, the UK Parliament has adopted legislation obliging Johnson to seek a delay in that date, if no deal is reached by 19 October. But with British politics in turmoil, it remains unclear if the Prime Minister will comply, or, if he does, whether the EU will agree. Economists warn that the UK's disorderly departure from the EU is likely to have damaging consequences for supply chains in trade and production, transport, the supply of medicines and many other areas. This note offers links to a series of most recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on Brexit.

Ratifying the EU-UK withdrawal deal: State of play and possible scenarios

08-04-2019

On 14 November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) negotiators announced their approval of the legal agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. At a special European Council meeting on 25 November 2018, EU leaders endorsed the draft withdrawal agreement, as well as the text of a non-binding political declaration setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship. While the process of approving the withdrawal deal (the agreement and the political declaration) began ...

On 14 November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) negotiators announced their approval of the legal agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. At a special European Council meeting on 25 November 2018, EU leaders endorsed the draft withdrawal agreement, as well as the text of a non-binding political declaration setting out the framework for the future EU-UK relationship. While the process of approving the withdrawal deal (the agreement and the political declaration) began rapidly in both the UK and the EU, it immediately met with significant difficulties in the UK. In particular, the House of Commons' rejection of the withdrawal deal in the 'meaningful vote' of 15 January 2019, led to renewed UK attempts at renegotiation. Although the EU and the UK eventually agreed additional guarantees with respect to the Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop, the withdrawal deal was again voted down on 12 March 2019. Faced with the prospect of a 'no deal exit' on 29 March 2019, the initial Brexit date, the UK government, as instructed by the House of Commons, eventually requested an extension to the Article 50 negotiating period. On 22 March, the European Council extended the UK's EU Membership until 22 May 2019, on the condition that the UK parliament approved the withdrawal agreement by 29 March. As the House of Commons rejected the withdrawal agreement for a third time, the new Brexit date was instead set, under that European Council decision, at 12 April 2019. With a 'no deal' Brexit becoming a highly likely scenario, both sides stepped up their contingency planning. However, other outcomes remain possible, in particular a further Article 50 extension, given the UK Prime Minister's request of 5 April. The EU-27 are set to decide on this within the European Council on 10 April 2019, most likely on the basis of conditions set for the UK. While a parallel process for establishing a majority for an alternative solution to the negotiated deal is under way in Westminster, its outcome remains uncertain. Finally, although rejected by the government, the UK still has the option to unilaterally revoke its notification to withdraw from the EU, or to organise another referendum on the issue (the latter dependent on an extension). Please see also the parallel Briefing, Brexit: Understanding the withdrawal agreement and political declaration, of March 2019 (PE 635.595). And visit the European Parliament homepage on Brexit negotiations.

Brexit: Understanding the withdrawal agreement and political declaration

20-03-2019

In November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) endorsed, at leaders’ level, an agreement that would ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, as well as a political declaration setting out the main parameters of the future EU-UK relationship. The withdrawal agreement is an extensive legal document aiming, among other things, to preserve the essential rights of UK nationals living in the EU-27 and EU citizens living in the UK; to ensure that all financial ...

In November 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) endorsed, at leaders’ level, an agreement that would ensure an orderly UK withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, as well as a political declaration setting out the main parameters of the future EU-UK relationship. The withdrawal agreement is an extensive legal document aiming, among other things, to preserve the essential rights of UK nationals living in the EU-27 and EU citizens living in the UK; to ensure that all financial commitments vis-à-vis the EU undertaken while the UK was a Member State are respected; and to conclude in an orderly manner ongoing processes in various areas (e.g. circulation of goods already on the market and ongoing judicial procedures). Importantly, the agreement establishes a 21-month transition period, extendable once, to help businesses and citizens to adapt to the new circumstances, and the EU and UK to negotiate their future partnership agreements. During this time, the UK will be treated as a Member State, but without any EU decision-making and representation rights. Furthermore, one of the agreement’s three protocols, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland contains a legally operational ‘backstop’, aiming to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland in the future. It has long been the most contested aspect of the withdrawal deal. The political declaration, by contrast, is a non-binding text, providing the basis for future EU-UK economic and security cooperation, taking into account both sides’ red lines and principles. With just days to go to the Brexit deadline, the procedures to approve the withdrawal deal have still not been finalised, due to continuing opposition within the UK Parliament. While extending the Article 50 negotiating period now appears highly likely, all scenarios are still possible, including the UK leaving the EU without a deal at the end of March 2019.

Outlook for the special European Council (Article 50), 25 November 2018

22-11-2018

On 25 November 2018, EU Heads of State or Government are scheduled to meet for a special European Council to endorse the Brexit withdrawal agreement and approve a political declaration on future EU-UK relations accompanying the withdrawal agreement. This briefing outlines the main elements of the withdrawal agreement, notably the solution to the Irish border issue. It also provides an overview of the European Council’s deliberations and guidance regarding the Article 50 negotiations to date, as well ...

On 25 November 2018, EU Heads of State or Government are scheduled to meet for a special European Council to endorse the Brexit withdrawal agreement and approve a political declaration on future EU-UK relations accompanying the withdrawal agreement. This briefing outlines the main elements of the withdrawal agreement, notably the solution to the Irish border issue. It also provides an overview of the European Council’s deliberations and guidance regarding the Article 50 negotiations to date, as well an outlook of the next steps towards ratifying the agreement.

The EU-UK withdrawal agreement: Progress to date and remaining difficulties

12-07-2018

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union in less than one year's time, negotiations to finalise a withdrawal agreement, as provided for under Article 50 TEU, are coming up against an increasingly tight deadline. Recent progress in agreeing a number of key 'exit' issues prompted the decision to begin discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. However, significant challenges still remain before the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement, on which the transition period requested by the ...

With the United Kingdom set to leave the European Union in less than one year's time, negotiations to finalise a withdrawal agreement, as provided for under Article 50 TEU, are coming up against an increasingly tight deadline. Recent progress in agreeing a number of key 'exit' issues prompted the decision to begin discussions on the future EU-UK relationship. However, significant challenges still remain before the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement, on which the transition period requested by the UK also depends. This EPRS In-depth Analysis considers the draft withdrawal agreement published by the European Commission on 19 March 2018, as well as the (few) additional points settled in negotiations in the period up to June 2018. It seeks to provide an overview of the main areas already settled by the negotiators, as well as of those areas of persisting difficulty or disagreement.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - July 2018

02-07-2018

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Research for REGI Committee - The economic, social and territorial situation of Northern Ireland

15-05-2018

This briefing was prepared to provide information for the visit to Northern Ireland from 21 to 23 March 2018 of a delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI).

This briefing was prepared to provide information for the visit to Northern Ireland from 21 to 23 March 2018 of a delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI).

Smart Border 2.0 Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland for customs control and the free movement of persons

26-02-2018

One of the most politically-sensitive aspects of the current ‘Brexit’ negotiations is the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. In many respects, the Irish border is unique, with some 200 possible crossing points along the 500km border. Managing such a porous border in the event that the UK, following Brexit, does not participate in a customs union with the EU, thus becoming an external EU border, presents significant challenges for the EU and UK alike. In order to ...

One of the most politically-sensitive aspects of the current ‘Brexit’ negotiations is the issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. In many respects, the Irish border is unique, with some 200 possible crossing points along the 500km border. Managing such a porous border in the event that the UK, following Brexit, does not participate in a customs union with the EU, thus becoming an external EU border, presents significant challenges for the EU and UK alike. In order to analyse the various options, on 26 November 2017, the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs organised a workshop for the AFCO Committee to examine this question. As part of this, Lars Karlsson, a former director at the World Customs Organisation, proposed a solution in his paper ‘Smart Border 2.0’. This at a glance provides a short summary of the paper.

The Brexit process: Moving to the second phase of negotiations

20-12-2017

The first phase of Brexit talks between the EU and UK negotiating teams needed six rounds of discussion over seven months. Finally, on Friday 8 December, an agreement in principle on the three priority issues – citizens’ rights, a financial settlement and Northern Ireland – was reached. The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, endorsed a joint report setting out a common understanding on the future withdrawal agreement. Whilst a number of specific ...

The first phase of Brexit talks between the EU and UK negotiating teams needed six rounds of discussion over seven months. Finally, on Friday 8 December, an agreement in principle on the three priority issues – citizens’ rights, a financial settlement and Northern Ireland – was reached. The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, endorsed a joint report setting out a common understanding on the future withdrawal agreement. Whilst a number of specific aspects are still under discussion, the European Council decided on 15 December that 'sufficient progress' had been achieved on the first-phase priority issues, and that negotiations could move on to the second phase – on transitional arrangements and the future EU-UK relationship – provided the commitments from the joint report are fully translated into the draft withdrawal agreement. For the transitional period, the European Parliament and the European Council have made clear that all existing 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 will begin only after the adoption by the European Council of additional guidelines in March 2018. The UK has still to clarify its position on the type of trade deal it seeks with the EU.

Sufficient progress in first-phase Brexit talks

08-12-2017

After seven months of talks, the EU and the UK reached agreement in principle on the key withdrawal issues, on 8 December 2017. The European Council (EU-27) of 15 December will decide whether sufficient progress has been achieved in order to proceed to the second phase of negotiations.

After seven months of talks, the EU and the UK reached agreement in principle on the key withdrawal issues, on 8 December 2017. The European Council (EU-27) of 15 December will decide whether sufficient progress has been achieved in order to proceed to the second phase of negotiations.

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