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EU Exit: July Negotiating Round

Volume 627: debated on Thursday 13 July 2017

Next week the UK’s negotiating team will travel to Brussels for the second round of talks, continuing our journey towards a new, deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU.

Today, in advance of those discussions, I am publishing three position papers that the UK negotiating team will discuss with our EU counterparts next week.

Ongoing Union judicial and administrative proceedings

The UK’s departure from the EU will end the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the UK. However, there will be cases before the CJEU that involve the UK as a party on the day of the UK’s withdrawal, which by definition relate to the period when the UK was a member of the EU. These will need to be resolved satisfactorily as part of a smooth and orderly exit. A similar issue arises for EU administrative procedures involving the UK.

Nuclear safeguards and materials

The UK will withdraw from EURATOM when it leaves the EU. However, the UK and the EU have a strong mutual interest in continuing to co-operate on civil nuclear matters, harnessing shared expertise and maximising shared interests, for instance in nuclear research and development. As part of our orderly withdrawal and to provide certainty to industry, it is therefore important the negotiating teams work through issues relating to nuclear materials and non-proliferation (safeguards).

Privileges and immunities

The UK recognises the need for certain privileges and immunities to apply for a limited period after exit, in order to allow the EU a reasonable time in which to wind up its current operations in the UK. Looking ahead to the deep and special partnership, the UK wants to put in place a legally acceptable framework of privileges and immunities that allows for the smooth conduct of relations between the UK and the EU.

In addition to discussing these and other technical withdrawal issues next week, the two negotiating teams will also focus on citizens’ rights, the question of a financial settlement, and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

On citizens’ rights, the Government’s priority remains providing certainty as soon as possible to EU citizens living in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU. To that end, we will use next week’s round to review the technical elements of the EU and UK proposals, identifying areas of alignment and those where further work is required by both parties.

On the financial settlement, as set out in the Prime Minister’s letter to President Tusk, the Government have been clear that we will work with the EU to determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of our continuing partnership. The Government recognise that the UK has obligations to the EU, and the EU obligations to the UK, that will survive the UK’s withdrawal—and that these need to be resolved.

Finally, in June, I agreed with Michel Barnier to establish a dialogue on Northern Ireland and Ireland, which in recognition of its importance is led by the UK and EU co-ordinators. Both parties are committed to the Belfast agreement, avoiding a return to a hard border, ensuring that nothing is done that jeopardises the peace process, and preserving the common travel area and associated arrangements. Our focus next week will be on discussing how to ensure the preservation of the common travel area, and to restate our shared commitment to the Belfast agreement.

The position papers published today are available on the Government website, and I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The Government will publish further position papers on other issues in due course, providing more information to business and individuals, and informing our negotiations with the EU. In addition, the Government will publish technical notes shared with the EU, and may agree joint publications with the EU as part of the ongoing negotiations.