The Future Relationship with the EU- The UK’s Approach to Negotiations



Government of the United Kingdom

1.On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom left the European Union and the Withdrawal Agreement concluded with the EU entered into force.

2.On 31 December 2020, at the end of the transition period provided for in that agreement, the UK willfully recover its economic and political independence. The UK will no longer be a part of the EU Single Market or the EU Customs Union.

3.Against that background, this paper sets out the UK’s approach to the negotiations with the EU that will begin shortly.It does not deal with issues relating to the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

4.The vision for the UK’s future relationship with the EU has already been set out, successively, in the manifesto on the basis of which the Government won the 12December 2019 General Election, and, subsequently,in the Prime Minister’s speech in Greenwich on 3 February and his written Ministerial statement on the same day.

5.It is a vision of a relationship based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, with both parties respecting one another’s legal autonomy and right to manage their own resources as they see fit.Whatever happens, the Government will not negotiate any arrangement in which the UK does not have control of its own laws and political life.That means that we will not agree to any obligations for our laws to be aligned with the EU’s, or for the EU’s institutions, including the Court of Justice, to have any jurisdiction in the UK.

6.The parameters for that future relationship are set out in the UK / EU Political Declaration of 17 October.As that Declaration makes clear, a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) should be at its core. This Agreement should be on the lines of the FTAs already agreed by the EU in recent years with Canada and with other friendly countries, and this paper sets out the structure and the policy content of such a CFTA in some detail. The CFTA should be supplemented by a range of other international agreements covering, principally, fisheries, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, transport, and energy, and once again this paper sets out the content of such agreements in detail. All these agreements should have their own appropriate and precedented governance arrangements, with no role for the Court of Justice.

7.The Government will work hard to agree arrangements on these lines.However, if it is not possible to negotiate a satisfactory outcome, then the trading relationship with the EU will rest on the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement and will look similar to Australia’s.

8.The Government agrees that all the areas of policy set out in the Political Declaration will be relevant to the UK’s future cooperation with the EU.But the Government does not agree that that requires every area to be incorporated into a negotiated Treaty or similar arrangement.Many policy areas –for example foreign policy or immigration policy –are for the UK Government to determine, within a framework of broader friendly dialogue and cooperation between the UK and the EU: they do not require an institutionalised relationship.That approach is reflected in the arrangements set out in this paper.


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