Brexit: The Draft Withdrawal Agreement

The Commission published a draft legal text of the withdrawal agreement in February 2018 and an updated draft on 15 March. On 19 March a third text was published which showed where there is full agreement between the EU and the UK, where there is agreement in principle and where there is no agreement.

Part 1 of the draft outlines the terminology used. For more information please see:

Part 2 of the draft contains the Commission’s attempt to turn the December Joint Report’s statements on citizens’ rights into binding legal text.

  • The provisions set out as of the end of any transitional period. EU free movement law, should continue to apply during the transition period. The EU's position is that all EU citizens arriving in the host State during any transitional period will have the same rights as those who arrived before. Those who arrive in A Member State before the end of the transition period, should be covered by the mandate given to the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • An independent authority will be created in the UK to monitor the applications of citizens’ rights part of the agreement. This will include the investigation of complaints, alleged breaches and will inform the European Commission of any subsequent legal action.
  • A professional working in either a Member State or the United Kingdom will continue to rely on the recognition of their qualifications, for the purpose of carrying out professional activities.

Part 3 contains the first text covering withdrawal matters that the Joint Report flagged up but did not discuss in great detail. Containing provisions on market access for goods, ongoing customs, VAT and excise matters, intellectual property, ongoing police and judicial cooperation in both criminal and civil/commercial matters, the protection of data obtained before the end of transition, ongoing public procurement procedures, Euratom issues, ongoing EU judicial/administrative processes, privileges and immunities, and a few provisions relating to the functioning of the EU institutions.

  • Objectives outlined to protect The Good Friday Agreement are set out.

Part 4 provides details of the financial settlement deadline set out by the commission, this date is agreed and set out for the end of the transitional arrangement.

Part 5 lays out plans of the transitional arrangement.

  • The UK has requested to continue benefitting from the Single Market and Customs Union for a period of "around two years." Ending on 31 December 2020.
  • Details of the possibility of continued relationship related to security and defence are listed.

There will be no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom in regards to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between Spain and the UK.

Part 6 contains institutional provisions as envisaged by the Commission that will look over and govern aspects of the withdrawal agreement. Such as trade and citizens’ rights as previously details in the summery of part 2.

This is a short summery of the draft of the Withdrawal Agreement text, and negotiations will continue in the coming months, with a view to agreeing a final draft in October 2019.