Skip to main content

Association Agreement

Volume 645: debated on Thursday 19 July 2018

19. What assessment he has made of the potential merits of negotiating an association agreement as part of the future partnership between the UK and the EU. (906553)

As we set out in the White Paper, the future UK-EU relationship is likely to consist of several separate agreements covering different elements of economic, security and cross-cutting co-operation, and those arrangements could take the form of an association agreement.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. According to the European External Action Service, an association agreement must offer “a privileged relationship” between the European Union and its partner and must create enforcement bodies that are

“competent to take decisions that bind the contracting parties”.

Will the Secretary of State confirm that that is now the Government’s aim?

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. An association agreement is a flexible legal form. It is a term of art in general international law, but it does require binding treaty arrangements. In relation to recourse for dispute settlement, we have set out detailed proposals in the White Paper for arbitration, and that obviously has the advantage, whether it is a three or five-person arbitration panel, of being balanced. The UK and the EU will be able to appoint arbitrators to the panel, so disputes can be resolved with good faith, trust and confidence on both sides.